Women fill half of public boardroom posts for first time

By BBC

BoardroomImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionPublic body boardrooms in Scotland have 50% female members for the first time

For the first time, more than half of all board members appointed to oversee public bodies in Scotland are women.

A 50% target for female representation among non-executive board members by 2022 has been met early.

The goal was set by legislation in March 2018 through the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act.

Of 680 regulated ministerial appointments made to public boards, 341 were women – up from 45% in 2016.

The achievement applies to health boards, enterprise agencies, the Scottish Police Authority, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, colleges and universities.

This encompasses 89 boards and women now make up half or more of the membership on 57 of them.

‘Motivation to change’

Equalities minister Christina McKelvie said more action would be taken to work towards all public boards having 50% women appointed.

She told the BBC: “It’s a great day – not only have we put big cracks in the glass ceiling but we want to shatter it and continue this work.

“Just a year in, we have reached a really positive point, half of all the public appointment positions on public boards in Scotland are now filled by women.

“We were already on the road a bit with voluntary measures. But the legislation just gave it that additional driver for other public boards to take that step forward and push a bit further.”

She added: “It’s a wonderful way to motivate other boards to change.

Christina McKelvie MSP
Image captionEqualities minister Christina McKelvie said it was a great achievement but more can be done

“It sends a message out to women in Scotland to say you are welcome on these boards, we want you on these boards, there’s an opportunity for you to come on these boards and many women have stepped up and taken this opportunity. ”

But she admitted there was even more work to do, in particular to get women to the head of boards.

Ms McKelvie said: “There is further to go to make sure each board has equal representation and that more of our boards are chaired by women, but achieving 50% across all appointments is a significant first step.”

The Scottish Greens welcomed the milestone, but Alison Johnstone MSP said: “This is an important step forward, however we must continue to work to ensure that the gender pay gap is no longer a thing. It’s not acceptable that women continue to earn less than men for similar work.”

The Scottish government has launched a consultation on the regulations and guidance for the Act and Ms McKelvie encouraged people and organisations to respond by the 4 August deadline.

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