12 January 2018
First Minister addresses business leaders.
Businesses must ‘inject new momentum’ into improving women’s representation, according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, or the progress already made could stall.
The First Minister addressed senior business leaders at a Hampton-Alexander Review event, hosted by the Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh last night.
The Hampton-Alexander Review sets out recommendations for FTSE companies to increase the number of woman on their boards. Their recent report found the proportion of women on FTSE-100 boards had doubled, from one in eight in 2011 to more than one in four in 2017, but progress was much slower last year.
FM @NicolaSturgeon speaks to Scottish business community on importance of continued progress on woman representation in the boardroom and elsewhere, at @HA_Review session in Edinburgh this evening, hosted by @lloydsbankinggp and @kpmguk pic.twitter.com/OCFDGocb5B
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) January 11, 2018
The First Minister said:
The Hampton-Alexander Review highlights some clear improvements made in boardroom gender equality in recent years. While welcome, these changes are not nearly enough. Indeed, there are signs progress slowed or even stalled in 2017.
“This year, which marks the centenary of woman’s suffrage in the UK, is an opportunity to inject new momentum into improving female representation – not simply at board level, but across the economy as a whole.
“As a result of the wide-ranging debate on inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment against women, there is rightly more scrutiny on equality in the workplace than ever before. There is also increased transparency about board appointments and pay.
“Public tolerance of gender inequality has never been lower. And the reputational damage to organisations that are too slow to make change – be they businesses, political parties or others – has never been higher.
“Many companies now realise that more equal representation in the boardroom, and in senior positions, improves businesses and benefits the bottom line. Crucially, it is an important step in achieving gender equality across society, as we work together to create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”
Read in full the First Minister’s speech.
The 2017 report by the Hampton-Alexander Review found 27.7% of FTSE-100 board members were woman. Rates of progress have slowed with businesses now behind schedule to meet the target of 33% female representation by 2020.
The Scottish Government has committed to new legislation to further improve the representation of woman on public boards in Scotland. As of December 2017 the percentage of female board members on regulated public boards reached 45.9%.