EAST Dunbartonshire’s MSPs have spoken out about the contribution women make to Scotland but insisted there is still work to be done in achieving gender equality.
It comes as the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, March 8, with the theme Women Changing the World of Work: Planet 50-50.
MSPs Gil Paterson and Rona Mackay told how they are proud of the SNP government, which created the first 50-50 political cabinet the United Kingdom has ever seen.
They have backed a motion by the Scottish Government outlining support for International Women’s Day.
Rona Mackay said: Scotland is a world leader in gender equality, with one of the few nations in the world led by a 50-50 Cabinet.
“We have some great achievements, for example a decreasing gender pay gap, falling to 6.2 per cent compared to the UK’s 9.4 per cent.
“The SNP government is exclusive in expanding free child care to allow women to get back into the work place, and I’m overjoyed there are plans to nearly double free child care by 2020.
“Scotland is very unique in that the government has the most women ever, along with the parliament, whose benches have never had as many women in them. Our Westminster group is the most gender equal to exist in UK politics.
“While we understand Scotland is moving in the right direction, it is recognised there is still work to be done in achieving gender equality.
“Concerns such as domestic abuse and violence against women remains a priority with the government, and we are working on a new Bill to tackle this.
“Additionally, the Scottish Parliament’s economy committee is holding an inquiry into the gender pay gap and the economic effect it has on the country.
“I am delighted the Scottish Government has officially recognised the role women play in the world with what is an excellent government motion on International Women’s Day.”
Gil Paterson said: “Scotland is leading the way when it comes to gender equality – being one of the handful of nations guided by a 50:50 Cabinet.
“In terms of the United Kingdom, we are well ahead in closing the gender pay gap, which is 6.2 per cent in Scotland and 9.4 per cent in the UK.
“The SNP government is giving women opportunities more than ever to get back into work, especially with free child care and its planned expansion to double by 2020.
“Scotland has many women in positions of political power, with all major Holyrood parties led by women. Not many chambers in the world see three women clashing once a week, heading all of the largest groups there – that is incredibly rare.
“We still have work to do though when it comes to gender equality – concerns like domestic abuse and violence against women are at the top of the SNP government’s priorities, with a new Bill coming soon to tackle it.
“The economy committee, which I am in, is running a consultation on the gender gap and the effect it has on Scotland’s economy. It is practical measures like this that will help understand and narrow it.
“I fully support International Women’s Day and commend the Scottish Government for throwing its weight behind it.”