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Publication - Consultation Paper

Equally Safe draft delivery plan consultation 2017-2021: response analysis

Published: 1 Nov 2017

Analysis of consultation responses on the draft delivery plan for Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls.

111 page PDF

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111 page PDF

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Contents
Equally Safe draft delivery plan consultation 2017-2021: response analysis
Priority 2: Women and girls thrive as equal citizens: socially, culturally, economically and politically

111 page PDF

1.0MB

Priority 2: Women and girls thrive as equal citizens: socially, culturally, economically and politically

Priority 2: Women and girls thrive as equal citizens: socially, culturally, economically and politically

Objectives

  • Women and girls are safe, respected and equal in our communities
  • Women and men have equal access to power and resources

Contributing workstreams: Primary Prevention

Priority 2 listed 18 actions, under the 4 headings of "Understanding gender", "Parenting and childcare", "Women's economic inequality" and "Women's civic and social inequality".

Respondents were asked if they agreed that these were the right actions, if there were any that they were particularly supportive of, any that they didn't agree with, and if there were any missing/anything additional that should be added.

Q5. Do you agree or disagree that the actions listed under priority 2 are the right actions to help meet the objectives of priority 2?

Sixty-six respondents answered this question. Around two-thirds (67%) agreed that these were the right actions under priority 2, 14% disagreed and one-fifth (20%) said that they neither agreed nor disagreed (see table 3 below).

Table 3: Q5. Do you agree or disagree that the actions listed under priority 2 are the right actions to help meet the objectives of priority 2?

% No.
Agree 67% 44
Disagree 14% 9
Neither Agree nor Disagree 20% 13
N = 66

Totals may not sum due to rounding

Support for Priority 2 Actions

Q6. Please tell us about any of the priority 2 actions that you are particularly supportive of

Table A4 in Annex 1, lists all of the priority 2 actions, and shows how many respondents said that they were particularly supportive of those actions, as well as indicating the numbers of other comments provided at question 6. A number of respondents explicitly stated that they supported all of the priority 2 actions.

Of actions that were singled out by respondents as being ones that they were particularly supportive of, the most popular actions were:

  • Develop proposals for delivering split payments under Universal Credit, working with stakeholders to scope out timescales (14)
  • Promote use of the Equality Impact Assessment tool at the national and local level to tackle inequality and discrimination across Scotland (10)
  • Improve strategic consideration of equality implications of spend for gender and other protected characteristics within the annual Equality Budgeting process (8)
  • Take forward a transformative programme to expand free Early Learning and Childcare entitlement to 1,140 hours per year by 2020, including piloting a deposit guarantee scheme for childcare places (8)

Supportive of all actions

A number of respondents were generally supportive of all the actions listed under priority 2. Some were particularly supportive of the recognition that wider gender inequality is a factor in violence against women.

"[Our organisation] welcomes the core understanding that gender inequality is a root cause of VAWG and the strong focus that the delivery plan places on tackling women's social, cultural, economic and political inequality."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Understanding gender

The action to promote the use of Equality Impact Assessments ( EQIAs) was the most widely supported action under "understanding gender". Although some respondents did call for this action to be strengthened and go further, by ensuring that all relevant organisations know how and when to carry out an EQIA, and suggesting that EQIAs could be used to promote equality, rather than just tackle inequality and discrimination.

"[Our organisation] is particularly supportive of the promotion of Equality Impact Assessment tools. When done right, an EIA can be a useful tool to expose inadvertent/indirect sex discrimination."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

There was also support for gender budgeting and for the actions to "improve strategic consideration of equality implications of spend for gender and other protected characteristics within the annual Equality Budgeting process" and "develop a programme of engagement with key parts of Government to improve understanding of gender in policy making". Respondents were supportive of "gender mainstreaming" within government policy involving the third sector, and sharing their expertise.

"Locating VAWG within the context of gender inequality is essential and we welcome the unequivocal position of Equally Safe and the Delivery Plan in this regard. Accordingly, we support the intention to promote gender mainstreaming in key policy making."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

"We welcome actions to improve understanding of gender in policy making and the Scottish Government's recognition to work with third sector women's organisations to achieve this."

- Third Sector

There was a suggestion that the actions around gender budgeting and promoting EQIAs could be strengthened by linking them to the Public Sector Equality Duty to "enhance accountability and enable more joined up policy making" – Third Sector

Parenting and childcare

The action around a transformative programme to expand free Early Learning and Childcare entitlement was the most supported of the parenting and childcare actions. Respondents were supportive of this action, as lack of access to appropriate childcare can act as a barrier to women who want to work. Respondents stressed that childcare must be flexible, to suit a range of working patterns, and be high quality. Some wanted to see certain children prioritised, such as those who are looked after, and the children of single parents who are returning to the labour market. It was also noted that those working in the child care sector (who are primarily women) should be paid appropriately, with a suggestion that they should be paid at least the Scottish Living Wage.

"we believe the limitations and inflexibility of the current system of free ELC provision can be restricting for families and acts as a disincentive to parents who may otherwise want to work. It is our experience that, in most circumstances, it is the mother who is expected to prioritise childcare over any desire or ambition to work, which simply reinforces the gender inequality experienced by women in such situations."

- Third Sector

There was also support for the "returners" project for women who had had a career break, as it was noted that women who return to work might miss out on promotion opportunities. This action was seen as beneficial for those who had taken a career break to look after children and also for those who might have had to take a career break to look after themselves and their children following abuse.

"We are supportive of the proposal to develop a 'returners' project. It is acknowledged that women returners are often discriminated against, particularly in respect of promotional opportunities if they return part-time or have caring responsibilities. This will require a change in both manager and employers attitudes."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"We strongly supported all the objectives noted. In particular: Establish a 'returners' project so that parents who have had a career break can get help updating skills and knowledge. This is vital for all women and for women who have had to take a break following abuse this could make a significant difference. This break is often to care for any children involved and recover from their trauma but unfortunately too often results in detrimental economic and employment status as a result of their abuse."

- Third Sector

There was also support for the new Best Start Grant, as it was noted that child poverty can have a detrimental impact on a child's outcomes. The concept of joined up support through key transitions was welcomed.

"We also welcome the creation of the new Best Start Grant, as we have serious concerns about low parental incomes, and the impact this can have on children's early development, educational experiences, achievement and attainment."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

Women's Economic Inequality

Some respondents clearly saw a link between women's economic inequality and violence against women, as lack of access to resources can limit women's ability to leave violent relationships. One charity stated that 65% of requests to their Urgent Assistance Fund were related to the financial hardship of fleeing domestic abuse. More broadly another charity highlighted the links between poverty and domestic violence, and believed that reducing child poverty would support the delivery plan's ambitions around gender equality.

"Although not the primary reason, we believe that women's incomes contribute in no small part to the decisions women make about staying in or leaving a violent relationship. In light of this [our organisation] believes we should be challenging issues that perpetuate pay inequality within society including the gender pay gap, as well as promoting the real Living Wage across both public and private sector companies."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

The proposal for delivering split payments under Universal Credit was the most supported of the Women's Economic Inequality actions, as it was noted that financial abuse and control can be part of the domestic abuse women experience, and that lack of access to finances can act as a barrier to women leaving abusive relationships.

"We are particularly supportive of split payments under Universal Credit. Given the prevalence of financial abuse in abusive relationships it is critical that any financial support offered by the government as part of social security is done so with an awareness of the dynamics of domestic abuse and that these payments are provided separately."

- Third Sector

"We welcome the Scottish Government's commitment to offer individual payments of Universal Credit. Household payments in actuality mean that many women will have no independent income. It increases the likelihood of financial dependency and control, and places women and their children experiencing domestic abuse at increased risk."

- Third Sector

"We are also particularly supportive of the proposal to deliver split payments of Universal Credit. We would urge the Scottish Government to ensure that the delivery system is responsive and able to adapt quickly to changes in circumstances to ensure that there are no additional financial barriers to leaving an abusive partner or situation."

- Third Sector

There was support for challenging occupational segregation through the actions relating to "Developing the Young Workforce" and the development of a strategy to address gender stereotyping and improve gender balance in science, technology, engineering and maths ( STEM).

There was support for reducing employment inequality for minority ethnic women, as the intersectionality between ethnicity and gender was seen as exacerbating issues of economic inequality for minority ethnic women.

"Our members' view is that there may be a glass ceiling for women but for BME women there is a titanium ceiling. Thus, initiatives aimed at reducing the multiplying effect of sexism and racism in employment are welcome. We would caution however, that establishing a minority ethnic women's network to explore this issue risks casting this as a problem which BME people can solve unilaterally. In fact, it is White employers who need to be challenged to do more to tackle racial and gendered inequalities in their systems."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

"In addition to having higher levels of unemployment than their white ethnic counterparts, non-white minority ethnic communities are also disproportionately represented in low-paid sectors, contributing to lower income levels and higher rates of deprivation, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation."

- Third Sector

Women's civic and social inequality

There were generally low numbers of respondents saying that they were particularly supportive of the women's civic and social inequality actions. The action around redressing gender imbalances and improving women's representation on public boards in Scotland received the most support.

Amongst those who supported the fund to address barriers to women's participation in sport, there were comments that this was particularly important for girls and young women, and also for those who identify as LGBTI.

Amongst those who supported the Women 50:50 campaign and the improvement of women's access to public office, the following comment was made.

"It is vital to have woman at the highest levels of politics but also equal representation in local politics and in backbenches."

- Third Sector

Priority 2 actions that aren't supported

Q7. Please tell us about any priority 2 actions that you don't agree with

Some respondents said that there were no priority 2 actions that they disagreed with/they agreed with them all. Table A5 in Annex 1, shows the actions and areas that respondents disagreed with, and the numbers of comments given.

The main criticisms levelled at the priority 2 actions were that they were not specific enough, they didn't go far enough and respondents were not sure they would meet the objectives, or that respondents did not see an immediate link between certain actions and tackling violence against women. It was suggested that a number of the actions would sit better within a "Gender Equality Strategy" rather than a "Violence Against Women Delivery Plan".

"We feel that many of the statements are so broad and generic that they lose meaning and specific progress will be difficult to define and measure."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"We do not disagree with any of the identified actions which are all worthy and potentially significant if realised. However, we would query whether they are sufficient to achieve the desired outcome of Priority 2."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

Specific actions that were highlighted as not going far enough were:

  • "Promote use of the Equality Impact Assessment tool at the national and local level to tackle inequality and discrimination across Scotland" (2)
  • "Ensure the successful bidder(s) to deliver devolved employment services demonstrate clearly how they will deliver a service that is gendered in terms of understanding the needs of women seeking employment; and use levers at their disposal to encourage employers to consider flexible working approaches which enable more women to take up a broader range of opportunities"(1)
  • "Identify and promote practice that works in reducing employment inequality for minority ethnic women, including in career paths, recruitment, progression and retention" (1)

A number of actions were disagreed with on the basis that respondents could not see a direct link between those actions and reducing violence against women.

"While we do not disagree that the inequalities women experience on a day to day basis in relation to parenting; childcare; economic and social status impact on women's place in society, we are somewhat confused to see them included as an integral part of the Equally Safe delivery plan. These are cross cutting issues and it would be more appropriate to have them located as part of an introduction or indeed as part of a gender inequality strategy of which violence against women is a strand."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"While supportive of the direction of this work, however, we believe that there is a disproportionate focus on women within the workplace which, although hugely important, appears to dominate the focus of this priority."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

"However, [Our organisation] questions the direct impact that some of the actions have on VAW&G (particularly in view of the short timescales) and suggest focusing on key actions rather than some of more tangential value. We are concerned this delivery plan is diluting the focus on VAW."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

Specific actions that were disagreed with on the basis that they would not directly impact on violence against women included:

  • "Take forward a transformative programme to expand free Early Learning and Childcare entitlement to 1,140 hours per year by 2020, including piloting a deposit guarantee scheme for childcare places"
  • "Establish a "Returners‟ project so that parents who have had a career break can get help updating skills and knowledge"
  • "Through the development of a strategy, address gender stereotyping and improve gender balance in science, technology, engineering and maths ( STEM) at school to ensure greater update of courses and apprenticeships by women and girls that are traditionally seen as male-dominated like engineering, construction and digital"
  • "Establish an Equality in Sport and Physical Activity Forum and develop a £300K Gender Equality in Sport fund to address the barriers to women's participation"
  • "Champion our Partnership for Change campaign, encouraging private and third sector organisations to work towards gender balance on their boards by 2020"
  • "Support the Women 50:50 campaign and the improvement of women's access to public office by encouraging partnership working to break down barriers to participation"
  • "Introduce legislation to redress gender imbalances and improve women's representation on public boards in Scotland, using the new powers transferred to the Scottish Parliament through the Scotland Act"

Specific objections were made in relation to certain actions. There was disagreement with the action "Support the Women 50:50 campaign and the improvement of women's access to public office by encouraging partnership working to break down barriers to participation", as a respondent was concerned that as the Bill currently stands, a person's gender might supersede other protected and under-represented characteristics, such as minority ethnic candidates or those with a disability. It was suggested that the £300k Equality in Sport Fund could more effectively be distributed through existing programmes rather than establishing a new forum, e.g. it was noted that the NHS and Local Authorities are already addressing the issue girls and women in sport through strategies such as "Local Active Living". The action around a "returners project" was criticised on the grounds that it was based on a programme developed for women returning to the STEM sector, and it should be reviewed to ensure that it was appropriate for use in other sectors. In relation to the action around "successful bidders to deliver devolved employment services", it was noted that it was unclear what levers would be available to encourage employers to consider flexible working and it was suggested that other causes of women's inequality at work, such as occupational segregation should also be considered within this.

Actions that are missing/should be added to priority 2

Q8 Are there any actions that you think are missing under priority 2? - Do you have any suggestions for additional actions to focus on?

Table A6, in Annex 1, shows the range of actions/areas that respondents felt were missing from priority 2. A lot of the gaps identified were in the "women's economic inequality" section.

Understanding gender

It was suggested that the action around promoting equality impact assessments needed to go further than just "promote" their use.

Parenting and childcare

It was noted that there was no mention of the role of fathers. Respondents felt that in order for women's equality to be fully achieved men need to take a fair share of childcare and other domestic tasks, as currently women do the bulk of unpaid care. It was also mentioned that gender stereotypes exist, and that there can be stigma attached to being a working mother or a stay at home father. It was noted that there is no mention of other caring responsibilities, which again tend to be carried out by women and can impact on training and employment opportunities.

"Under 'Parenting and Childcare' specific mention of dads is notably absent. Women's economic, social and political equality will not be realised until dads share more of women's unpaid labour. This includes childcare, but also other caring responsibilities and housework. We would suggest actions should be included focused on enhancing take up of shared parental leave as well as developing flexible working for all, regardless of gender, sector, profession and grade."

- Third Sector

"The promotion of fathers being more involved in child-care and parenting rather than placing the burden of change on women. This would also help challenge gender stereo-types that can restrict and limit opportunities for women to participate in civic society at a community level".

- Third Sector and Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

Additional comments under parenting and childcare related to the "Returners" project, and querying what this meant for those in low-paid occupations. There was also a suggestion that there should be actions relating to pregnancy, e.g. encouraging young mothers to remain in school where possible.

Women's economic inequality

The most common suggestion here was that there should be an action relating to the under-representation of either gender in a particular sector, which would include encouraging men into traditionally female sectors, and appropriately valuing and rewarding those who work in these sectors (regardless of their gender). Childcare, primary teaching and nursing were given as examples of typically female-dominated professions.

"In addition, [our] members argued that the draft action plan should not just be encouraging women to move in to roles traditionally undertaken by men. There is also a need to place a greater value on roles women have traditionally done ( e.g. childcare, primary teaching) and to also encourage men to enter employment in these sectors in order to improve the gender balance."

– Third Sector

There were suggestions that there was a need to implement wider structural changes, such as improving wages, promoting the living wage, improving terms and conditions and job security, and increasing women's purchasing power as a means of making society fairer and tackling gender inequality.

"There is insufficient recognition of the impact of the changing labour market, with the increase in casual labour, lack of contracts and employment protections, and job insecurity. These multiple factors, often then added to with disability or race discrimination, will require the development of specific targeted resources to support women."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

"Improving women's purchasing power and reducing economic inequality is an opportunity to improve people's ability to keep themselves safe ( e.g. having an escape fund, reducing their risk of exploitation). In addition to the actions around Universal credit, we would therefore like to see more actions aimed at strengthening people's economic stability ( e.g. Living Wage)."

- Third Sector

There were suggestions that the Department of Work and Pensions ( DWP) two child cap on child benefits, also sometimes known as the "rape clause" should be abolished in Scotland and that the Scottish Government should say more about what it would do to mitigate against this clause.

There were suggestions that the action around tackling pregnancy and maternity discrimination could be strengthened and could go further, including a suggestion about working with health professionals to support vulnerable pregnant women. One trade union called for more support for women throughout their pregnancy and up until their child starts school and for "more robust penalties for employers who seek to by-pass legislation that is there to protect pregnant women and those on maternity leave". They quoted a TUC report which found that "77 per cent of pregnant women and new mothers in the UK reported having suffered some form of discrimination in the workplace."

It was felt that flexible working should be provided for workers of any gender, and that shared parental leave should be promoted, as it was felt that its uptake had been quite low to date.

"The UK Government's introduction of Shared Parental Leave ( SPL) has had insignificant uptake. When issuing guidance around maternity best practice, policies around paternal leave should also be included."

- Third Sector

It was suggested that there should be actions aimed at tackling sexual harassment in the workplace, and it was noted that experiencing domestic abuse could have a significant impact on a woman's ability to engage with the labour market and that that should be taken into account.

"Experiencing domestic abuse has a profound impact on women's capacity to work, career choices and ability to enter and progress in the paid labour market. Therefore, all actions under 'Women's economic inequality' need to consider this impact"

- Third Sector

It was suggested that more should be said around Modern Apprenticeships, and reducing occupational segregation within Modern Apprenticeships by encouraging young women to undertake apprenticeships in "non-traditional roles".

In addition to the action to reduce employment inequality for ethnic minority women, it was felt that something similar should be included for disabled women.

The importance of dignity at work policies, aimed at preventing and tackling all forms of harassment, discrimination and bullying, were also highlighted.

One trade union expressed a desire to follow the Australian example of the right to paid leave for women escaping domestic abuse,

Women's civic and social inequality

There was a feeling that actions under this heading were too narrow and should be broadened out. For example it was suggested that the action to "establish an Equality in Sport and Physical Activity Forum and develop a £300K Gender Equality in Sport fund to address the barriers to women's participation" should be extended to include actions on culture, the arts, media and politics too, as well as suggestions that it should start earlier and focus on girls and young women.

It was also suggested that involvement in charity and community boards and participation in volunteering be included within this section too. It was suggested that more actions were required to tackle the barriers that women face in relation to public and political involvement, such as the need for family-friendly working practices in these areas.

"The action on sport is welcome within the 'Women's civic and social inequality' section. It would also be beneficial to look at the arts and culture as ultimately it's about creating opportunities for girls, as well as positively influencing boys and challenging gender stereotypes, whether in sport or the arts."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"In relation to women engaged in cultural and civic life, there is a very limited focus on sport and a narrow definition of representation, confined as it is to Board representation and public office. Expanding this to include the media, the arts and other cultural spaces and institutions would be helpful in seeking to achieve this objective."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

"We feel that the strategy would benefit from a greater focus on cultural and political actions that could be taken to address violence against women and the attitudes that enable it. In terms of cultural actions, this should include finding innovative means to highlight and celebrate the diverse and vital roles women have in the arts, media and society more generally, championing role models for young girls and women to aspire to. This should work in tandem with challenging and working to eliminate abusive and objectifying representations of women in mainstream society, including within pornography".

- Third Sector

Other suggestions of actions to include

It was felt that specific actions were needed around keeping women safe, particularly in public spaces, and on transport.

"One of the objectives in this section includes the word 'safe', however there are no explicit actions around increasing women's safety as part of ensuring women are equal citizens. We would suggest that actions to tackle sexual harassment and misogynism in public spaces be included in this section."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

"Areas such as transport, the Place Standard, housing etc. are not mentioned in this section. Women's experiences of public space and their safety are important and should be included in the design and planning of their lived environment."

- Other Public Body, including Executive Agencies, NDPBs, NHS etc.

There were also suggestions relating to a cultural shift in attitudes, including changing men's attitudes, promoting women's aspirations and self-esteem and challenging the "everyday sexism" that women face.

"There needs to be an inclusion of specific activities that challenge the everyday sexism that women and girls experience in the home, the workplace and in their communities. We need activity that contributes to reducing the tolerance and acceptability of sexual harassment and misogyny in public spaces."

- Violence Against Women / Gender Based Violence Partnership

As in priority 1, the role of the media, and how it represents women was mentioned.

"We believe that there should be action (s) to address the negative gender roles portrayed by the media and in advertising. From infancy children are exposed to often very subtle images that portray women and girls as unequal to men and boys, and we believe that for gender equality to be realised, this needs to be tackled at a government level."

- Representative Body for Professionals/Trade Union

Other suggestions for actions which were felt to be missing from this section included the right to safe, accessible housing, and suggestions of legislation change so that sex/gender identity would be covered by hate crime legislation, and to embed the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women within Scottish law. There was a suggestion that "consideration should be given to examining the impact on levels of violence against women and girls in areas where misogyny has been included within the definition of hate crime - to date by Nottinghamshire Police and North Yorkshire Police" – Local Authority.


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