International Women’s Day 2014
In September 2012 I was very pleased to join the First Minister and the STUC in hosting Scotland’s first Women’s Employment Summit. Since then, the Strategic Group on Women and Work has met regularly to consider what more can be done to enable women to fulfil their potential in the labour market.
There are more women in Scotland in work today than at any time since the current records began in 1992 with women represented in every sector and level in the labour market. In the run up to International Women’s day on March 8, the time is right to provide an update on the progress being made, while recognising more remains to be done.
Our people are our greatest asset and this Government is committed to supporting women across Scotland to unleash their economic potential in work and in growing their own businesses.
This week we published the ‘Women in Enterprise’ framework for action, which has taken into account views from the public, private and third sectors. Backed by £85,000, new enterprise ambassadors will be created and guidelines to tackle the gender gap in business are now in place.
Delivering flexible early learning and childcare of 600 hours per annum for three and four year olds and many of our most vulnerable two year olds from August 2014 will open up the labour market for thousands for women. This comes ahead of further transformational measures on childcare that would be achieved in the event of independence.
We have come far in the last eighteen months and will be outlining some of our progress on an e-flyer to stakeholders across Scotland. But we know we are not there yet. Today I will be meeting One Parent Families Scotland to talk with young parents and staff about the challenges still faced in entering the labour market.