SCOTLAND had the lowest rate of female unemployment of any country in Europe in the final three months of last year, according to new figures.
The rate of unemployed women north of the border between October and December 2014 stood at 4 per cent, the Eurostat figures showed.
This was just ahead of Germany (4.5 per cent), with the wider UK rate of 5.3 per cent ranked alongside Austria and Malta in third place.
Scotland also had the second highest female employment rate at 71.3 per cent, with only Sweden higher at 72.6 per cent.
Minister for youth and women’s employment Annabelle Ewing said: “We have recently seen record levels of female employment in Scotland and the gap between male and female employment is also near a record low.
“In addition, we are leading the way with our commitment to 50:50 boards, supporting flexible working patterns to accommodate working parents and carers and other innovative support programmes such as support for women in enterprise, promotion of careers for women in STEM subjects.
“Gender balance isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes smart business sense. We need however to remove the gender gap entirely, encourage more women in to senior positions and to set out in businesses of their own, as well as helping those actively seeking a job into employment.
“The rewards for this will be great. We would have industries that would better reflect our society and see an extra £7 billion added to our economy if the number of women-led businesses matched that of men.
“We need to champion female role models in every aspect of business, open every possible pathway into work and debunk the myth that there are jobs specifically for boys or girls.”
She added: “Re-entering the labour market has become a more attractive prospect for more people, especially women, but there is absolutely no room for complacency when it comes to continuing our drive to create high quality jobs across the country.”