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WINNET8 Scotland Launch and Dissemination Event



Gender Equality – A Catalyst for Economic Growth in Scotland?


Wendy Alexander (Member of Scottish Parliament) sponsored the first high profile WINNET8 event on Thursday 30th September at the Scottish Parliament. The event  asked Government, Business and their partners to consider the argument for gender equality as a means of growing Scotland’s economy. A line-up of cross-party politicians with Jim Mather (Scottish Minister for Enterprise, Energy & Tourism) as the Keynote Speaker, alongside some of Scotland’s enlightened, including Lesley Riddoch, focussed on the aims and objectives of the WINNET8 partnership.


The event launched the work being led by Sweden across 8 EU member states  addressing issues of occupational segregation in the Scottish and UK labour market and women’s under-representation in entrepreneurship. It was attended by strategists, activist, politicians, practitioners and policy makers in the field of equality and gender equality.


Scotland and UK are still host to a comparatively poor track record on gender equality and fall behind many EU member states. This is particularly the case in terms of the gender pay gap and in relation to ‘sticky floors’ and ‘glass ceilings’ which women experience in their career progression; especially in male dominated sectors.


Some of our Nordic partners in the EU have long since made sustained commitments to gender equality and recognise the vital contribution of women’s full participation to economic prosperity. The UK Government’s Women and Work Commission estimate that the underuse of women’s education, skills and experience is costing the UK economy £23 Billion each year and cite occupational segregation and lack of female enterprise as significant contributing factors.


The lead UK partner of this European initiative is The Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and their role will include providing support and direction through business and enterprise development to ensure wider and better opportunities for women across their activities. The comparative findings from other EU states will act as guidance and support to Government.


During a time of economic challenge, gender equality could be in danger of being seen as a luxury. However, never has there been a better time to focus on the issue with threats to public services including childcare looming and further set-backs on the path to equality which in turn will negatively impact on the economy. 


A Strategy Group including government representatives, Non-Departmental Public Bodies and third sector experts and strategists involved in employability, enterprise and equality are working together to harness the learning from our European counterparts and capitalise on opportunities. We hope their work, combined with the by-in of our elected members will improve and increase actions on gender in Scotland and the UK and in turn grow the economy and whilst progressing towards a more fair and equal society. We are striving to maximise the potential of WINNET8 in Scotland and UK.


For more information please contact: hazel.smith@edinburghchamber.co.uk /Tel:+441312217510/+447732014893



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