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Engender Calls for a Gender Equality in Business Scheme to promote women’s equality in the workplace

Engender is calling for political parties to commit to introducing an accrediting gender equality in business scheme to incentivise employment practices which ensure women’s equality. This is of of the two asks relating to 'employment and the labour market' in our 20 for 2016 Manifesto.

While public sector bodies have a legal requirement to take steps to tackle women’s workplace inequality, there is no similar obligation for businesses. This scheme would accredit Scottish businesses which take action on issues of women’s equality such as flexible working, occupational segregation, equal pay, challenging sexist culture, and breaking the ‘glass ceiling’. It would also bring businesses together to share learning, and help businesses to win public sector contracts by demonstrating their commitment to engaging, retaining and meeting the needs of Scotland’s female workforce.

Engender’s Executive Director Emma Ritch said:

“There is evidence to show that business which take positive action to advance women’s equality in the workplace are not only more profitable, but also more creative, less liable to high turnover rates, and better protected from risks of discrimination. Despite this, far too few businesses are taking action for women’s equality.

We hope political parties will commit to introducing this scheme which will support and challenge Scottish businesses to demonstrate their commitment to women’s workplace equality.”

The scheme will largely be based around a self-assessment tool developed by Close the Gap, Scotland’s organisation working to close the gender pay gap, to enable businesses to identify tailored actions they need to take to deliver equality in the workplace.

Anna Ritchie-Allan, Director of Close the Gap, said:

"Close the Gap welcomes Engender's call for an equality in business scheme. Delivering gender equality in the workplace makes good business sense. Businesses with diverse workforces are able to draw from a wider pool of skills and talent, and are more creative, and more innovative.

Close the Gap's Think Business, Think Equality tool for smaller employers has demonstrated a clear demand for tailored support for SMEs to help them identify how their business can benefit from gender equality.

Businesses using the tool have told us that they want to take action on gender equality, but they also want to be able to demonstrate their progress to their employees, and their competitors.

A equality in business scheme will enable them to showcase their good practice, while also creating a workplace culture which is a more positive experience for their female employees.”

Read the briefing about why a Gender Equality in Business Scheme is needed, and how it might work.

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