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Boards Gender Representation Bill goes out to views

26 June 2017

A Holyrood committee is seeking views on the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill as it begins its stage 1 scrutiny of the Scottish Government measure.

The Equalities & Human Rights Committee wants to hear submissions on whether the bill takes the right approach, whether it needs strengthening, and whether other protected characteristics should also be covered.

The bill sets a target that non-executive members of boards of public bodies should be 50% female by 2022, rounding the total down by one if a board has an odd number of members. Ministers believe that by setting a target only for the number of female board members, there will be no barrier to those of non-binary gender. (Click here for report.)

It allows recruiters to give preference to the candidate who would help a board achieve its gender representation objective in cases where male and female candidates are equally qualified.

Other questions posed by the committee cover the impact on recruitment to board positions, whether there should be penalties for non-compliance, and reporting requirements.

Committee convener Christina McKelvie MSP commented: “Improving female representation in the boardroom of public bodies, including organisations such as the Scottish Police Authority, our colleges and universities and over 100 other public bodies, is something we would broadly support.

“But we want to know if this bill could be improved or strengthened in any way or if changes are needed. Does the bill have sufficient teeth? Are quotas the right way to go?”

Click here to view the call for evidence. The deadline for responses is 31 August 2017.


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