New bill sets target for Scottish public boards to be half female by 2022

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New legislation to increase the number of women on public boards in Scotland has been published.

The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill sets an objective for public boards that 50 per cent of non-executive members are women by 2022.

It will apply to certain public bodies, colleges and Higher Education Institutions in Scotland, subject to the Bill receiving parliamentary approval.

The Bill will drive further improvements, building on the success of the Scottish Government’s ‘50/50 by 2020’ pledge – which has seen nearly 200 organisations across the public, private and third sectors sign up voluntarily to improve gender balance on board.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance, said: “Addressing the under-representation of women on boards is a key priority of this Government. A gender balanced board, that better reflects the employees of an organisation, is not only the right thing to do but also leads to better decision making.

“We have already seen good progress when organisations voluntarily commit to improving gender balance. This is welcome and shows there is an appetite in Scotland for tackling this issue. The Bill is the next step towards building on this progress.

“Let me be clear though that all candidates for public appointments will continue to be appointed on merit. But by introducing this legal requirement, we will drive change across the public sector, improving recruitment methods and making organisations work harder to find the most talented men and women to sit on our public boards.”

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