50/50 on public boards
Guest blog from Hala Ousta, a recent apppointment to the sportscotland board which has now achieved 50/50 gender representation:
For many, gender equality remains an aspiration and a progressive context to advancing equality in all aspects of our society. For us in Scotland, gender equality is not merely a necessity but rather a right and a clear manifestation of equality and human rights as for any civilised society in all its dimensions.
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s commitment to the 50/50 board balance by 2020 campaign marked a simulative and inspirational framework for enhancing and advancing gender equality in Scotland, showcasing our progressive and enlightened position.
For young women like me, this context of concrete and forward-thinking represented a new breath of hope and an inspiration where we can all work with full confidence and believe in achieving and advancing gender equality, our potential and in being equal, productive and active citizens.
It is not my view only but also those of my fellow colleagues and young women that the achievement of the 50/50 balance on sportscotland’s board is a very encouraging and admirable realisation. For such a national sport agency to lead by example is a triumph not only for women but also for our national sports and our society as a whole, and we hope that all governing bodies, sports, and other institutions are equally seeking to realising and attaining such a position.
I was speaking at a FIFA conference recently addressing equality and diversity with a focus on gender equality; I stood there feeling proud of what we have achieved in Scotland in relation to equality and the way sportscotland has realised the 50/50 balance on its board, which was complemented by various relevant stakeholders from across the world.
Again, I, as a young ethnic minority woman, do feel proud to be part of this transformation and to have the opportunity not only of being on such a crucial board but also to be proactive in advancing the equality agenda inspiring the diverse women to be positive, believe in their abilities and leadership roles within our Scotland.
However, we as women will have to be committed, responsible and proactive showcasing our equal skills and contributions to Scotland and sport and other domains at all levels: we should work relentlessly to sustain and advance the First Minister’s commitment to gender equality not only on boards but in all aspects of our society, and to inspiring other women to fulfil their potential in any area or field that they should be in.
As Diversity & Inclusion Manager for the Scottish Football Association, Hala Ousta is an established campaigner for equality, diversity and sports at several levels. With a Masters in Public Policy and Postgraduate Diploma in Equality & Discrimination, her experience covers a wide range of roles and responsibilities related to equality and sports development. She sits on the boards of Women in Football and ICON Awards, with advisory roles on the Scottish Committee of the British Council and UEFA’s Captains of Change programme. Hala is also founder and chair of Inspiring Women Scotland, an organisation promoting empowerment and leadership for multicultural young women. She has been chosen as one of the UK’s 30 under 30 Sports Industry Group Next Gen Leaders 2017.