Midlothian Council credited for gender equality work

Midlothian Council is one of only four Scottish councils to complete a programme on advancing gender equality at work, and preventing violence against women.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 6:00 am
Derek Oliver, Midlothian Council chief officer, with the accreditation.
Derek Oliver, Midlothian Council chief officer, with the accreditation.

The employer accreditation pilot, Equally Safe at Work, has been developed by the organisation Close the Gap – an advocacy organisation working in Scotland on women’s labour market equality. The programme is the first accreditation programme to focus on gender equality at work and prevention of Violence Against Women such as sexual harassment, domestic abuse, talking, rape and sexual assault, and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence.

During the pilot which ran from January 2019 to November 2020, the council undertook a wide range of activitie s to advance gender equality at work, and tackle Violence Against Women.

Midlothian Council organised an awareness-raising event to engage with elected members to increase understanding and awareness of Violence Against Women at work. The council also recognised that supporting women to participate in networks enables access to external expertise which helps tackle women’s under representation in senior roles.

Midlothian Council along with Aberdeen, North Lanarkshire and Shetland councils received their accreditation in a virtual award ceremony on March 9.

Dr Grace Vickers, chief executive of Midlothian Council, revealed her delight at the local authority’s accreditation.

She said: “We are delighted that Midlothian Council has been awarded bronze accreditation for the Equally Safe at Work pilot. We are committed to progressing gender equality and preventing violence against women and are proud to be one of the first Scottish councils to participate in this project.

"This highlights the level of ambition and aspiration within the council to address women’s inequality at work and prevent violence against women in the workplace and in wider society.”

Speaking about the importance of these awards to councils in Scotland, Anna Ritchie Allan, executive director of Close the Gap, said: “We’re delighted to award bronze accreditation to councils which are sector leaders on gender equality at work. Employers that take steps to advance gender equality and diversity at work are more innovative, more productive, better able to manage skills gaps, and are better protected from the costly risk of discrimination.”