MSPs reported missing

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has tabled a motion calling on the Scottish Parliament to address the issue of 21 missing women MSPs.

Cathy explained that “this year’s Equality and Human Rights Commission report looks at the underrepresentation of women amongst senior public sector posts.

“There are very few senior women police officers or judges. Less than one in seven Scottish MPs are women. The Scottish Parliament does slightly better, but even here, numbers fell at the last election. Labour has 50% women MSPs – but other parties remain male dominated, with the SNP and Tories both less than 30% and the Liberals only 12.5%. Add to that, two Green men and Margo Macdonald, and the total is 45 women, less than 35% of the 129 MSPs..

“The report looks at how many women are missing – that is, how many more would have positions if there were equality. So for example, there are 130 women missing from public appointments, and 85 missing women headteachers in secondary schools. In parliament, we are missing 10 SNP, 6 Liberal Democrats, 4 Conservatives, and a Green – 21 women MSPs.

“This year is the 90th anniversary of women getting the vote, and eighty years since full equality in voting was achieved, but we are still far from equal in the political process.

“I believe that politicians have a duty to address the underrepresentation of women, not least in their own parties. I hope MSPs – men and women – will sign this motion and that we can get a debate in parliament, but it must not end there. We need to be proactive in making sure women are fairly represented and given truly equal opportunities in their careers.”

S3M-02497# Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): Sex and Power –  That the Parliament welcomes the publication of Sex and Power 2008, the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s annual report looking at women in positions of power and influence across the public and private sector; notes the theme of the report, “missing women”, and its statement that “if women hope to shatter the glass ceiling and achieve equal representation, we would need to find the women who are missing from top positions of power in Scotland”; is concerned that despite higher academic attainment, with 57% of university students being women, women constitute only 7.4% of senior police officers, 11.8% of judges of the Court of Session and 13.6% of Scottish MPs and that, while Falkirk Council has women as leader of the administration and Chief Executive and in many senior posts, this is rare elsewhere, with women constituting only 12.5% of local authority chief executives and only 18.8% of local authority leaders; is further concerned that the report shows a declining percentage of women among public appointments, senior police officers, judges of the Court of Session, Scottish MPs and MSPs and highlights that ethnic minority women experience greater barriers in the workplace and are almost completely absent from positions of power; considers that Scotland is failing to get talented women into these positions and consequently is losing out on their contribution to Scotland’s social and political life and our economy, and believes that much more should be done to find the 130 women missing from public appointments, the 85 missing women headteachers in secondary schools, the 21 missing women MSPs and many others, as identified by the report.

Supported by: Bashir Ahmad, Robin Harper, Bill Kidd, Jackie Baillie, Patrick Harvie, Dr Elaine Murray, Malcolm Chisholm, Sarah Boyack, Sandra White, Bill Butler, Jamie Hepburn, Elaine Smith, John Park, Dr Richard Simpson, Hugh O’Donnell, Margaret Curran, Trish Godman, Shirley-Anne Somerville, Marlyn Glen, Cathie Craigie, Alison McInnes, Ken Macintosh

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