Sturgeon urges businesses to quicken pace of gender equality

The first minister has warned businesses to step up the pace of gender equality or the progress already made could stall.

Nicola Sturgeon said companies must “inject new momentum” into improving women’s representation.

She was speaking following publication of the Hampton- Alexander Review which calls for FTSE companies to increase the number of female board members.

She said: “Public tolerance of gender inequality has never been lower.”

The independent review was commissioned by the UK government to look at ways to increase the number of women in senior positions.

It found the proportion of women on FTSE-100 boards had doubled, from one in eight in 2011 to more than one in four in 2017.

But it said progress had been much slower last year and said a “step change is needed in pace”.

Sturgeon gives speech on Female role Models.

Addressing business leaders in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: “The Hampton-Alexander Review highlights some clear improvements made in boardroom gender equality in recent years.

“While welcome, these changes are not nearly enough. Indeed, there are signs progress slowed or even stalled in 2017.

“This year, which marks the centenary of woman’s suffrage in the UK, is an opportunity to inject new momentum into improving female representation – not simply at board level, but across the economy as a whole.”

Reputational damage

One of Ms Sturgeon’s first moves as first minister was to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet.

She has also previously said that equality for Women was ”at the heart of the Scottish Government.

The first minister told the Hampton-Alexander Review event in Edinburgh: “As a result of the wide-ranging debate on inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment against women, there is rightly more scrutiny on equality in the workplace than ever before. There is also increased transparency about board appointments and pay.

“Public tolerance of gender inequality has never been lower. And the reputational damage to organisations that are too slow to make change – be they businesses, political parties or others – has never been higher.

“Many companies now realise that more equal representation in the boardroom, and in senior positions, improves businesses and benefits the bottom line.

“Crucially, it is an important step in achieving gender equality across society, as we work together to create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”


Source: BBC News