50/50 by 2020

Equality and diversity are key to Scotland’s success. Historically, women have been under-represented in public and corporate leadership. As a nation that prides itself on fairness, we seek to create equal opportunities for all regardless of gender, disability, ethnic background, age, religion/belief or sexual orientation. However, there’s also compelling evidence that having greater diversity of thinking and talent in the management team, and in organisations overall, leads to better performance. Put simply, both large and small businesses do significantly better when they have more gender balance in the boardroom and more diversity in the workforce.

A fair and prosperous Scotland has no ceiling for ambition and talent and opportunities for all to flourish. It is perhaps not surprising that companies with a more modern, progressive, open-minded, meritocratic approach do better. They outperform their rivals by simply making the best use of all the talents at their disposal.

There is clear consensus that increasing diversity in the boardroom and in senior leadership encourages new and innovative thinking, maximises use of talent and leads to better business decisions and governance.  The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government encourages public, private and third sector organisations to sign up to the Partnership for Change and to set a voluntary commitment for gender balance on their boards of 50/50 by 2020.

We want you to commit to making progress on gender balance by putting in place progressive practices in your business today and by signing up to the ‘Partnership for Change’.  The Partnership for Change is a network of organisations and individuals who share a common ambition to improve diversity on boards and in senior leadership.  By joining this network, organisations and individuals can share learning and experience in improving gender balance and diversity in the boardroom and beyond and access development opportunities to help bring talent to the boardroom, today and tomorrow.  We want people to set themselves a voluntary commitment to work towards gender balance on their boards by 2020 – 50/50 by 2020 – to demonstrate a real commitment to change. 

Video of the 50/50 by 2020 Launch Event with the First Minister

You can join the Partnership for Change network by signing up here:


Sign up here

First Minister speaking at University of Glasgow, Successful Women at Glasgow event, 4 February 2015

“I firmly believe that you should succeed on your abilities and how hard you work and your gender, family or race should not hold you back from that. If you’re good enough you should be able to fulfil your dreams.”

The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government set out the ambition for improving diversity. Our Scottish Business Pledge encourages private companies to tackle not only gender diversity but a range of progressive business practices which will help make Scotland more prosperous.

To find out more about support available in developing talent and creating a more diverse team click here to access resources


A variety of organisations have already signed up as partners in the network.

By joining the Partnership for Change you are joining a growing number of organisations committed to working towards diversity in the boardroom and beyond.  Partners are joining a network of organisations on a journey.  Some sectors will have further to travel than others but by sharing learning and approaches and demonstrating through the Partnership for Change what is possible we can build momentum for change.