Scotland’s inequality gap ‘concerning’ - human rights study

The Equality and Human Rights Commission report showed 28 per cent of women held degrees. Picture: Contributed
The Equality and Human Rights Commission report showed 28 per cent of women held degrees. Picture: Contributed
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Women are more likely to hold a degree than men but are less likely to command a senior position in the workforce, according to a new report.

Is Scotland Fairer? flags up “concerning” divides across gender, age and ethnicity, and a leading human rights organisation warned Scotland still has much to do to prevent inequality.

The research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that ethnic minorities and disabled people were most likely to be living in relative poverty, while some ethnicities suffered from poorer general health.

The commission stressed that unless work continued to help make Scottish society fairer, there were groups “at risk of being left behind”.

Its report, released today, is the country’s largest ever study into equality and human rights.

The commission said that while it showed improvement for some sections of society, the “mixed results” also highlighted continuing problems, particularly in the area of education and employment. While just 10.4 per cent of men aged 25 to 64 have no qualifications, the proportion is higher (12 per cent) among women of the same age group.

Although women (28.1 per cent) are now more likely to have a degree than men (24.6 per cent), their educational achievements are not being translated into the workplace.

The study found that in 2013, men were still significantly more likely to be employed in a managerial, directorial or senior official role than their female counterparts, with 10.4 per cent of men in such positions compared to just 5.9 per cent of women.

The study also flags up the fact that unemployment among young people (20 per cent), disabled people (12 per cent) and ethnic minorities (13 per cent) is far more prevalent than the Scottish average of 7 per cent.

Alastair Pringle, Scotland director of the EHRC, said: “Equality and human rights are at the heart of Scottish life and Scots are rightly proud of our inclusive society.

“Today’s report indicates for many people, society is getting fairer. However, for some – women, young people and disabled Scots in particular – the report highlights several concerning factors which will need action at a Scotland or Great Britain level.”

Social justice secretary Alex Neil said: “We are pleased that the report demonstrates why we are right to focus our efforts on tackling inequality, and why we are right to oppose the abolition of the Human Rights Act.”