Scottish Government pushes for new equality powers

The Scottish Government is demanding new powers at Holyrood to ensure more women are in positions of power in Scotland’s boardrooms.

Ms Robisons letter to the UK Minister for Women and Equalities aims to accelerate the transfer of those powers. Picture: TSPL

Equalities secretary Shona Robison has written to the Department of Culture Media and Sports calling for the transfer of legal control which would allow the SNP administration to make “meaningful change” and deliver 40% female representation on boards.

The Scottish Government has recently consulted on how, if Scotland had the powers to introduce gender quotas, these would be implemented in practice.

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Ms Robison’s letter to the UK Minister for Women and Equalities aims to accelerate the transfer of those powers.

Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment Angela Constance will set out how independence can improve female career ambitions in a Holyrood debate today.

Ms Constance said: “We want to see women better represented at the highest levels of public authorities. That stronger female voice will help challenge persistent inequality.

“We have already said that in an independent Scotland we would take action, backed by legislation if necessary, to ensure at least 40 per cent of places on boards were occupied by women.”

The average level of female representation on Scotland’s boards currently stands at 38% and varies across sectors, with considerably fewer women chairs. There are widespread concerns it does not reflect the proportion of women in Scotland’s population nor the fact that women comprise the majority of graduates.

He said: “With full powers such legislation to address blatant inequalities would be at our hands.

“Where we can take action more quickly we will. That is why we have again written to the UK Government. We do not wish any further delay to our progress towards gender equality and with cooperation on this matter, we can make the earliest progress through a section 30 Order which would transfer the necessary legislative competence to the Scottish Parliament.”