Creative Scotland meets Sturgeon’s gender target

THE government agency in charge of promoting Scotland’s arts has become the first public body to meet Nicola Sturgeon’s flagship target for all such organisations to have 50 per cent female representation on their boards.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the SNP government was leading by example in pushing for gender equality. Picture: John Devlin

The First Minister said earlier this year that the SNP government was “leading by example” in pushing for gender equality and that she was spearheading a “major drive” to encourage better female representation on public and private sector boards.

The Scottish government will announce today that Creative Scotland has become the first official body to meet Ms Sturgeon’s call for the boards of all public bodies to have a 50:50 gender split by 2020.

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Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said the public arts body has achieved a gender balanced board with the appointment of four new members, Professor Maggie Kinloch, Erin Forster, Sheila Murray and David Brew – all senior figures in the creative sector.

The new appointees will sit for a four-year term on the 12-member board that seeks to support Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries.

The government said that 81 public bodies have now signed up to meet the First Minister’s commitment to equal female representation in the boardroom, with 18 private companies and 45 voluntary sector organisations also backing it.

Ms Hyslop said the Creative Scotland appointments had been made on merit, but stated that the government was “continuously reviewing” its recruitment process to promote equal opportunities.

She said: “These appointments mean Creative Scotland now has a gender balanced board, setting an example to the rest of the organisation and to all employers that we must work harder to achieve gender equality in the workplace and ensure everyone in Scotland is able to meet their full potential.”

“While all board appointments are of course made on merit, the Scottish Government is continually improving our processes to ensure vacancies are attractive and accessible to people from a wide range of backgrounds.”

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman Jenny Marra welcomed Creative Scotland reaching the target on equal gender representation, but said ministers had failed to match this in other areas such as the NHS.

Ms Marra said: “It’s very good news that Creative Scotland has hit this target on gender balance.

“However, the Scottish government has just set up 32 new public bodies for health and social care and there is no sign of gender balance on these boards.

“Having gender balance in these areas is absolutely critical due to the large number of women who work in care. It’s clear we still have a much bigger problem that needs to be addressed.”

Scottish Labour leadership contender Kezia Dugdale said the SNP target did not go far enough and called for a change in the law to ensure equal gender representation.

She said: “We have so few women on the boards of Scotland’s public bodies today, they don’t represent the communities they seek to serve.

“That needs to change. Any Scottish Labour Party I lead will lead the way by demanding a change in the law for 50/50 representation for women on Scotland’s public bodies and our parliament.”