GCU economist addresses first women’s employment summit

12 September 2012

GCU economist addresses first women’s employment summit

Professor Ailsa McKay

One of GCU’s most senior economists has addressed Scotland’s first Women’s Employment Summit held on Wednesday, September 12, in Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth.

Professor Ailsa McKay, co-founder of Women in Scotland’s Economy Research Centre, which is linked to the Gender and the Economy Group in the Institute for Society and Social Justice, shared the platform with First Minister Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in addressing the summit’s 150 delegates.

The event was jointly organised by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the Scottish Government, hosted by the First Minister Alex Salmond and Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance.

Professor McKay thanked the Government for devoting attention to the issue, but went on to detail the “worrying” issues which still exist in Scotland.

Professor McKay told the summit: “I would like to commend the Scottish Government for showing commitment, initiative and in providing the space for ensuring issues relating to women’s experience of work, both paid and unpaid, remain at the forefront of debate.

“I was proud to be in Montreal recently outlining key developments in Scotland, including the work of the Equality and Budgets Advisory Group and perhaps most significantly today’s summit and there was much discussion on how to replicate such ‘success’.

“But although I am heartened by the attention now focused on these issues in Scotland, the picture remains far from rosy.

“Pre-recession employment levels for women in Scotland stood at 69.5%. They are now 66.5% - the lowest they have been since early 2002. In the third quarter of 2011, 34,000 women lost their jobs - 370 jobs per day during the period - at a time when male jobs were on the increase.The level of women’s unemployment pre-recession in Scotland was 4% - its currently 8.3% - higher than UK level of 7.6%.”

Professor McKay ended by urging policy makers to “consider carefully what the economy would look like if it was truly reflective of the unique character, skills and value of all Scotland’s people.”

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