Gender and the economy research

September 2003 - September 2016

Live project


Glasgow Caledonian University is one of Scotland’s leading authorities on gender and public policy. With a history of more than 10 years of research, academics at the University have been widely consulted by policy makers at both national and international levels.

GCU research has significantly increased awareness of factors which contribute to the lack of female representation in the public sector. Notably it has shaped the policies and strategies of public sector agencies such the Scottish Government, Leadership Foundation in Higher Education, NHS and educational institutions such as universities and further education colleges. The research provided a platform for implementation of the Gender Equality Duty, the statutory duty on public bodies to promote gender equality, for the Scottish public sector.

Research on gender equality in the public sector has been on-going at GCU since 2003. The main impact of the research is the improved understanding of barriers and enablers to female career progression and the influence on the gender equality policy agenda and public debate. The Scottish Government drew upon the research to formulate gender equality policy for Scotland.

The late and greatly esteemed Professor Ailsa McKay, Women in Scotland’s Economy Research Centre (WiSE), Institute for Society and Social Justice Research said: “Here at GCU we have established the Centre which fills a real gap in the market for information on women’s position in the Scottish labour market.

“Although there has been some progress, we still have a gender pay gap of 11 per cent, a clustering of women within low paid, low skilled jobs and endemic  occupational segregation. So there’s a lot of work still to be done.”

GCU is at the forefront of promoting feminist economics as central to the economic debate in Scotland. Launched in October 2010, WiSE aims to promote and make visible women’s contribution to Scotland’s economy through high quality research, consultancy and knowledge transfer activities.


The group’s work is unique within Scotland as no other academic institution, civil or governmental organisation has a specific focus on women in the economy.

Team members are often consulted by the Scottish media, are regularly invited to speak at national and international conferences, have provided expert advice to a range of parliamentary committees and have published in a range of high quality academic journals.

Recent work includes new research on the link between women’s unemployment and child poverty for leading charity Save the Children and work on equal pay for campaign group Close the Gap. 

Staff Involved

“WiSE provided real expert advice on the links between rising women’s unemployment and child poverty which helped us speak to government and others about what needs to change.”

Douglas Hamilton, Head of Save the Children Scotland

“The Scottish Women’s Budget Group has contributed very significantly to a much more rounded approach to budget making in Scotland. It has consistently challenged me directly, and in advice to ministers. Scotland is very much the better for it.”

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth