Highlands & Islands MSP Maree Todd has praised a new Scottish Government programme aimed at tackling workplace inequality and reducing the gender pay gap.
The Scottish Government has announced a £500,000 investment into the Women’s Returners Programme – an initiative designed to address gender inequality in the workplace. This funding will enable access to valuable advice, peer support and access to training and work experience, opening up opportunities for women in sectors where they are under-represented.
A further £850,000 will be available through the Workplace Equality Fund to help organisations to develop more inclusive and diverse workplaces.
Commenting, Maree Todd MSP said:
“We know women are faced with many barriers when returning to work after an extended absence. I’m pleased to see the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to tackling workplace inequality and reducing the gender pay gap represented in the Women’s Returners Programme.
“As the ongoing public health crisis impacts our economy and workforce, it’s imperative that as we look to rebuild and recover, we aim towards a fairer society for all, where everyone, regardless of gender, race or disability, can prosper.”
Whilst gender inequality is prevalent nationally, a 2017 HIE study suggests that this trend is exaggerated in some areas across the Highlands & Islands. The study shows that between 2005 – 2015, the prevalence of men in manager, director and senior official positions has increased by eight percentage points in the Highlands & Islands – from 57% to 65%.
Whilst the study shows progress in the percentage of women in two of the highest-paid occupational groups, it highlights the ongoing challenge for women entering the most senior and well-paid positions.
Referring to the study, Maree Todd MSP said:
“This study shows that we still have a long way to go if we are to smash the glass ceiling in the Highlands & Islands. This is why government initiatives, such as the Women’s Returners Programme are vitally important if we are to address workplace inequality.
“I’m proud that this SNP Government is committed to ensuring a fair, diverse and equal society for all.”