ONLY a third of Scotland’s public bodies have boardroom equality, a Sunday Post probe can reveal.
Achieving a 50/50 gender balance in public sector boardrooms is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s legislative plans for the coming year.
But our investigation lays bare the amount of ground that needs to be
covered to achieve this goal.
Just 32 of 98 public organisations have an equal number of men and women in their boardrooms.
And only a fifth of these organisations, which include health boards and quangos, have a female chairperson.
Last night, campaigners called for an overhaul of boardrooms to address the gender imbalance.
Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour’s inequalities spokeswoman, said: “Far too many public boards remain male, pale and rather stale.
“What’s also disappointing is that leadership teams at recently-created organisations such as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Police Authority don’t have a gender balance.
“There has to be a shake-up of public boards because they can’t properly serve the interests of the public if they operate as closed networks.
“Equality in the boardroom is long overdue and the only remedy is legislative gender quotas.”
New legislation which would force public bodies to close the gender gap in their top positions will be considered by MSPs in the coming months. However, the Scotland Act only allows this to apply to non-executive appointments.
Last week, it was revealed only 185 public, private and voluntary sector companies had signed up to the Scottish Government’s gender balance pledge.
Of the country’s 361,345 private companies, fewer than 50 have backed the “Partnership for Change” campaign, which aims for a 50/50 gender balance in top jobs by 2020.
Last year, the businesswoman Lady Michelle Mone branded gender quotas “ludicrous” but Talat Yaqoob, chairwoman of the Women 5050 campaign, said: “The campaign has been fighting for fair representation for women on boards for two years.
“While we have gained lots of support, the true win will only be when we see at least 50% of the decision-makers in Scotland being women.
“These statistics reveal there is a lot of work public bodies need to do to prepare.
“Just over 20% of our public bodies have 50/50 membership.
“Clearly they need to be working to ensure their practices are inclusive for women.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We’re fully committed to improving the representation of women in leadership roles in public, private and third sector organisations, and are on track to achieve our ambition of gender balance on public boards by 2020.
“Last year we reached a historic milestone when ministers appointed more women than men for the first time. While this marks significant progress we are not complacent as there is still much to do, with increasing diversity in chair roles being a priority.”
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