Scottish Parliament report finds significant gender imbalance of witnesses to parliamentary committees

Written by Jenni Davidson on 28 February 2018 in News

The Scottish Parliament Conveners Group has put forward proposals to get more women to give evidence

There is a significant gender imbalance in witnesses giving evidence to Holyrood committees, a new report published by the Scottish Parliament has found.

The report shows that 63 per cent of the witnesses at formal committee meetings in 2015/16 were men, while women make up only 37 per cent of witnesses to parliamentary committees.

However, the report also found an improvement, with a 12.3 percentage point increase in the number of women giving evidence at committees since the parliament began in 1999, when only 25 per cent of witnesses were female.  

The percentage varies from committee to committee and the report acknowledges that other people will have been consulted in more informal sessions.

As a result of the report, the Scottish Parliament’s Conveners Group has made an action plan to ensure the balance of witnesses at Scottish Parliament committees are more reflective of wider society.

The Conveners Group agreed to a number of steps including improving data capture and reporting mechanisms to ensure greater transparency around the diversity of those giving evidence as well as expanding the data collected to include other aspects of committee work such as fact finding visits and informal meetings.

There will also be additional guidance and training for committees, as well as for external organisations and training for potential witnesses, to encourage more women to come forward to give evidence.

Chair of the Conveners Group and Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame said: “As a convener for many years myself, I know the significant effort committees put into ensuring they hear from a broad range of voices and opinions as they scrutinise legislation and government policy. 

“That effort has led to substantial progress since 1999, including in relation to improving gender diversity of witnesses.

“That is why the Conveners Group has agreed a series of measures which are designed to make further improvements during the course of this session.”


Related Articles

Theresa May prepares for Commons showdown with Tory rebels as Lords inflict yet another defeat on Brexit bill
19 June 2018

Peers have inflicted yet another defeat on the Government's flagship Brexit bill - and paved the way for a high-stakes Commons showdown between Theresa May and Tory rebels

Former Tory leader Lord Hague urges Theresa May to legalise cannabis
19 June 2018

The war on cannabis has been "comprehensively and irreversibly lost", former Conservative leader William Hague has told Theresa May, amid a growing Cabinet row over the drug

Households facing greatest risk of fuel poverty least likely to access support, finds Citizens Advice
19 June 2018

Report identified those in rented flats, both in the private and socially rented sector, households in rural areas and those relying on electric heating as particularly at risk

Life after #metoo
18 June 2018

In October last year, following publication of allegations of sexual abuse against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, there promised to be a revolution

Related Sponsored Articles

Associate feature: 5 ways IoT is transforming the public sector
5 February 2018

Vodafone explores some of the ways IoT is significantly improving public sector service delivery

Share this page