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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20083: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 21 November 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking with the retail sector to encourage the promotion of women to senior levels of retail.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 10 December 2018

The Scottish Government is committed to gender equality and to ensuring that women have equal opportunities and access to power and resources as men. Evidence shows that having more women at senior levels and in the boardroom is good for business and contributes to better decision making.

In June 2015, the Scottish Government launched the Partnership for Change 50/50 by 2020 campaign encouraging organisations from across Scotland’s public, voluntary and private sectors to sign up to a voluntary commitment to work towards gender balance on their boards by 2020. It is heartening that organisations, such as The Scottish Grocers' Federation, have signed up to this initiative.

Improving women’s representation at senior levels must also reflect the barriers that women experience in the labour market, including due to their disproportionate responsibility for providing childcare and other forms of care. The Scottish Government is taking a broad range of action including a commitment to: expand childcare provision; promote flexible working and a Scottish living wage, and address pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

We are currently working in partnership with the Scottish Retail Consortium to develop a national retail strategy and, as part of that process, will be considering a wide range of issues including any measures that might be taken to promote a better gender balance in senior levels of retail.