DEPUTY FIRST Minister John Swinney has hailed the rising number of women in work as a “real success story” over the last 12 months.
The latest official statistics showed that female employment in Scotland has increased by 46,000 over the year to reach a record level of 1,288,000.
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At the same time, the number of women claiming jobseeker’s allowance has fallen by 8,900 over the year, and at 27,900 is now at the lowest total since February 2009.
Figures for the period August to October 2014 showed 71.4% of women in Scotland were working, compared to 68.1% across the UK as a whole.
Mr Swinney also said the gender gap between male and female employment rates had narrowed much more in Scotland over the last two years than across the UK.
The male employment rate north of the border is 5.5 points higher than the female rate, the latest figures showed, compared to 9.1 points in the period August to October 2012.
But in the UK the gap has gone from 10.3 points two years ago to 9.7 points in August to October 2014.
Mr Swinney said: “2014 has seen Scotland consistently outperform the UK on employment, unemployment and inactivity rates, and Scotland’s economy continues to go from strength to strength.
“A real success story over the last year is increasing female participation and the narrowing gender gap in employment rates.
“Over the last two years, the gap between male and female employment rates has narrowed in Scotland, unlike the UK - with the gap closing by 3.6 percentage points in Scotland.”
He added: “As the Scottish economy grows our task is to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from that economic success.
“It is a top priority of this government to tackle the inequalities that blight our society and by strengthening and stabilising our economy with an active and engaged workforce we can go a long way to make that happen.
“With discussion on further powers for the Scottish Parliament now taking place it is essential that we have the full tools we need to support employment opportunities for everyone in Scotland.”
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