The below content sets out some of the actions currently underway on tackling gender bias and promoting gender equality in the context of race. This piece covers the following different areas:
1. Early Learning
2. Education and Further and Higher Education
3. Employment and fair work
4. Gypsy Travellers
In the Equality Act 2010 race includes:
- ethnic or national origins
The Scottish Government acknowledges that inequalities remain in many areas of life for minority racial and ethnic people in Scotland and is committed to addressing these inequalities. Within our minority ethnic communities many people continue to face poorer outcomes than the majority of Scots, including higher risk of poverty and in-work poverty, lower employment rates, and under-representation in political and public life as a whole. These rates can impact minority ethnic women in even greater ways.
The Race Equality Action Plan (REAP) was developed as part of the overall Race Equality Framework (REF), the Scottish Government’s overall strategy for promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality between 2016 and 2030.
The REAP outlines sets out the key actions for the Scottish Government to drive positive change for minority ethnic communities.
The REAP is only the first three years of the government’s 15 year framework. As we move into the third year of the REAP, we have reviewed and prioritised actions to make sure we are able to deliver maximum impact for minority ethnic communities. And, this third year is an opportunity to look ahead to what the next steps will be to take us towards a more equal 2030.
This is a perfect time for groups like the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls to feed into our future plans for improving race equality, keeping in mind principles of intersectionality – a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw.
The REAP Year 2 report will be published in March 2020.
1. Early Learning and Childcare
Scottish Government and local authorities have committed to making an unprecedented level of investment in early learning and childcare (ELC) by nearly doubling children’s funded entitlement from 600 to 1,140 hours per year from August this year. This is for three and four-year-olds, and eligible two-year-olds. This will be high quality, flexible ELC that is accessible and affordable for families.
The ELC expansion aims to deliver three main benefits for children and families:
- children’s development improves and the poverty-related attainment gap narrows;
- parents’ opportunities to take up work, training or study increase; and
- family wellbeing improves through enhanced nurture and support.
ELC Outreach Project
We want to ensure that all families are aware of their child’s entitlement to funded ELC, and are able to make an informed choice about where and how to access it. Our parental marketing campaign is running in Spring 2020. One element of this is a bespoke outreach project with seldom heard groups, including minority ethnic (ME) families. We are also producing a translated leaflet in six languages to increase awareness and encourage families to find out more about funded ELC. We will evaluate this work together and the impact of the campaign, to help us target further parental communications in 2020/21.
Increasing Diversity in the ELC Workforce
We aim to use the unprecedented expansion of the ELC workforce to increase its diversity, including greater representation of people from minority ethnic communities. We are working with race equality groups, such as the Council for Ethnic Minority Voluntary Organisations (CEMVO), and employers to establish how best to attract more people from minority ethnic backgrounds into the profession. We estimate that the expansion of ELC will require up to 8,244 additional full-time equivalent (FTE) staff across a range of roles.
This approach is recognised in research published by Skills Development Scotland as an effective way to ensure greater diversity through recruitment (https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/media/46248/achieving-diversity-in-the-elc-workplace_final.pdf). We will continue to support CEMVO in 2020, and we are sharing best practice widely across the ELC sector.
The Gender Equality Taskforce in Education & Learning has been set up to take forward one of the Year 1 recommendations from the NACWG, namely:
‘Establish a Commission on Gender Equality in Education and Learning, covering Early Years, Primary and Secondary Education and Learning tasked with providing bold and far-reaching recommendations on how gender equality can be embedded in all aspects of learning (from teacher training, to school behaviours/cultures, to the curriculum and CLD practice).
The Commission should be independent of key bodies such as Education Scotland. The intended outcome is for a radical, evidence based and gender competent national strategy, providing much needed coherence and a pathway to safe and gender-neutral education and learning in all settings.’
The Taskforce will provide high level, strategic leadership, considering existing gender equality work streams and identifying how best to address areas where gender inequality continues to exist in education and learning settings.
It has representation from a broad range of equality organisations (e.g. Intercultural Youth Scotland and Enable Scotland) so that consideration of other equality characteristics such as race and disability, and how they impact on girls and young women’s experiences of gender inequality, happens from the outset. The Taskforce takes an intersectional approach to its work and will ensure that its outcomes benefit all girls and young women.
The Gender Equality Taskforce will not operate in isolation from other workstreams which will achieve equality aims and objectives in education and learning such as the Race Equality Action Plan.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – Support for Education Practioners
As part of their safeguarding responsibilities, Education Scotland has developed an online resource on the national Improvement Hub, to provide guidance and support for education practitioners, around safeguarding girls from FGM, as part of the overall strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls – this includes policy and guidance as well as practical resources to support delivery in secondary schools https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/female-genital-mutilation-fgm
Further support and resources are planned by the Mentors in Violence Prevention programme in session 2020, that will focus on forms of violence that are particularly directed at women and girls in some ME communities.
Further and Higher Education
The Best Student Experience
Tackling Racial Harassment and Persistent Inequalities
- Racial harassment has no place in Scotland, including our colleges and universities. Tackling and eradicating racial harassment is essential, to ensure our students, researchers and staff – from Scotland and around the world – achieve their full potential.
- Collaboration and a shared understanding between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has underpinned the approach to addressing the Equality and Human Right’s Commission’s (EHRC) recommendations, following their inquiry into racial harassment at British universities, published last October. A suite of resources are in development which will support institutions to raise awareness of the impact of racism and support individuals to access support networks and complaints procedures.
- Advance HE, on behalf of the SFC, are leading the development of a practical toolkit to support staff and students to have confident conversations about race, racism and whiteness. The toolkit and awareness-raising resources will be available in autumn 2020 with an associated evaluation taking place in summer 2021.
- Independent of the EHRC Inquiry, the SFC is seeking to enter into a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EHRC. The aim of the MoU is to reduce the burden of equalities reporting for institutions so that institutions can focus on the actions required to tackle persistent inequalities. A Data Expert Group has been established to identify persistent inequalities across the sector. Membership will include the SFC, SG, EHRC and sector representatives.
- The Scottish Government, along with NUS Scotland is represented on the Review of Student Misconduct Guidelines Group led by Universities Scotland. The Guidelines will address all forms of student misconduct including gender based violence and racial harassment.
- In taking forward the Programme for Government commitments around student mental health, the Scottish Government will also engage with the University and College Scottish Race Equality Network to develop an integrated approach to student wellbeing and ensure that mental health support reflects the impact of racial harassment on people’s mental health and wellbeing, and the needs of people with different protected characteristics.
3. Employment and Fair Work
- Evidence shows that the employment rate (16-64) of the minority ethnic population in Scotland is consistently lower than the white population. The latest minority ethnic employment gap is 15 percentage points. This is in spite of high levels of educational attainment.
- The minority ethnic employment gap is significantly higher for women (20.3 p.p.) than men (8.9 p.p.) and this is driven by a much lower employment rate for minority ethnic women than white women (52.5% vs 72.8%).
- Through Scottish Government’s Race Equality Framework and the Race Equality Action Plan, there is strong commitment to addressing the under-representation in the labour market and the barriers that prevent people from minority ethnic communities from realising their true potential and accessing employment.
- It is recognised that people from minority ethnic communities can face multiple barriers to employment and as a group, are taken into account in the Action Plans for Fair Work, Gender Pay Gap and Employment for Disabled People.
- Other barriers can include low self-confidence, a lack of ethnic minority role models in leadership positions and a lack of organisational understanding of ethnic minority communities.
- Refugees face additional barriers to employment that may include dealing with trauma, health conditions, language and lack of recognition for skills and qualifications they have acquired in other countries.
Ethnicity, Employment and Poverty
- There is a pay gap between people from minority ethnic groups and the white population in Scotland. Minority ethnic employees earned on average 10.2% less than white employees in 2018.
- Research (by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) has looked at the link between poverty, ethnicity and the labour market where the impact of racism and discrimination has led to limited opportunities to access jobs, finding jobs appropriate to skills and progression or promotion in jobs leading to better pay.
Race Equality Employment and Enterprise event (March 2019).
- The Scottish Government held a Race Equality Employment and Enterprise event in March last year. This event ran three workshops focussing on institutional racism, the employment gap for minority ethnic women and business/enterprise support.
Workplace Equality Fund
- The Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund 2019/20 is currently providing £800,000 of funding across 23 projects that tackle workplace barriers for certain priority groups.
- 11 of the 23 projects funded under the Workplace Equality Fund 2019/20 will target minority ethnic people. Activities in the projects funded in year 2 include building capability of employers through diversity training to develop a more inclusive and diverse workforce, working with individuals to support their progression in the workplace and sector focused work (construction, communication and housing).
Race Equality Action Plan – Year 3 focus
- The third year of the Race Equality Action Plan will focus on employment. A number of actions will be taken forward including improved engagement with stakeholders, peer support approach for clients accessing employment support services and increasing workforce diversity in terms of ethnicity across a number of sectors including education and early learning and childcare. There will also be a focus on recruitment and retention within the health sector.
- Scottish Government is developing a toolkit that will enable all employers, starting initially with the public sector, to identify good practice and other practical support and advice to help address the minority ethnic employment gap through their recruitment practices. This will be implemented in tandem with the establishment of a community of practice.
- Fair Work First is the Scottish Government’s flagship policy. It aims to drive fairer working practices across the labour market by attaching Fair Work criteria to grants, other funding streams and contracts awarded by and across the public sector
- In implementing Fair Work First, we will be working across the Scottish Government and with key stakeholders to develop a robust approach for monitoring the adoption of Fair Work First by employers and its impact on minority ethnic workers and the wider workforce.
- In doing so we will use a suite of indicators to illustrate what employers can do along with good practice exemplars. This will help employers understand how effectively they meet the dimensions of Fair Work, and what action they can take to improve their practice, removing race related barriers within their workplace.
A Fairer Scotland for Women: Gender Pay Gap Action Plan
- The aim of the Action Plan is to deliver a cross-government approach, tackling the causes of the inequality women face in the labour market. The plan will address labour market inequalities faced by women, particularly disabled women, minority ethnic women, older women, women from poorer socio economic backgrounds and women with caring responsibilities.
4. Gypsy Travellers
Improving outcomes for women and girls in the Gypsy/Traveller community
Gypsy/Travellers are a distinct minority ethnic group and are protected in Scotland by the Equality Act 2010.
The report of the independent race equality adviser (2017) confirmed that ‘on every indicator of what is required to live a happy, productive and fulfilled life, Gypsy/Travellers are worse off than any other community in Scotland’.
In the Race Equality Action Plan, the Scottish Government acknowledged “much more needs to be done if we are to succeed to improving outcomes for these marginalised communities.’
This was the context for the creation of the Ministerial Working Group – working with COSLA – which was set up in early 2018 to ‘determine priorities for action and drive forward the changes required to start making improvements for Gypsy/Travellers across a range of issues.’
The Scottish Government and COSLA published a joint action plan (October 2017) setting out 33 actions we will take in the current parliamentary term. The plan aims to improve the lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers by delivering more and better accommodation, better access to public services (including education and health), increasing representation, challenging racism and discrimination and improving incomes in and out of work.
Some of the actions relate specifically to women and girls within the community. For example, actions to:
- Improving Gypsy/Traveller access to maternal and child health services, including offering dedicated income maximisation services to Gypsy/Traveller mums (action 11).
- Working with Gypsy/Traveller women and local authorities to ensure access to free sanitary products, whether in fixed locations on sites or in mobile units (action 24).
Beyond this, there are a range of other actions which have real potential to improve outcomes for Gypsy/Traveller women and girls and this will be a significant driver in the way the actions are delivered. These include actions to:
- Recruit and support a team of Community Health Workers from within Gypsy/Traveller communities (action 10)
- Understanding and addressing barriers to learning to increase uptake, including early learning and childcare (actions 14 and 15) and to increase digital access, skills and confidence to participate in learning (actions 16 and 26).
- There will also be specific work to target the Parental Employability Support Fund (PESF) will offer key worker support for Gypsy/Traveller parents, as part of our wider strategy to address child poverty which is likely to have a greater impact on women in the community (action 23).
Our work to develop – and now to deliver – the Gypsy/Traveller action plan was built on the involvement of community members – particularly women. Going forward, we will continue to fund the Gypsy/Traveller Women’s Voices Project, which enables and supports women and girls in the community to become more involved in issues that affect their lives (action 33).