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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Gender inequality impacts all organisations, including the third sector

This opinion piece is 11 months old

By recognising the barriers that women face at work, and in the wider labour market, employers are better able to understand how to make meaningful and sustainable change

With budget cuts, a recruitment crisis and service strains disproportionately affecting female-dominated sectors, women’s workplace equality is more important than ever.

By recognising the barriers that women face at work, and in the wider labour market, employers are better able to understand how to make meaningful and sustainable change. That includes looking at the causes of the gender pay gap, which is the key indicator for women’s labour market inequality. The gender pay gap in Scotland currently sits at 12% although is higher in the third sector at 17%.

Equally Safe at Work is an employer accreditation programme designed to support employers understand the causes of their gender pay gap by providing a framework to drive change. It also supports employers to understand how gender inequality and men’s violence affects women in the workforce. After a successful pilot in local government, Equally Safe at Work has been expanded, with further pilots being delivered in the third sector and NHS.

Violence against women is perpetuated at epidemic levels, affecting all areas of women’s lives, and the workplace is no exception. Every year, three million women in the UK experience some form of violence against women, such as domestic abuse, sexual harassment, stalking, so-called ‘honour-based violence’, and rape and sexual assault. Many more live with past experiences of abuse. By understanding how violence against women impacts women’s experiences at work, you’ll be better able to support them and make your workplace safer.

Equally Safe at Work supports employers to understand their role in preventing violence against women by recognising the integral link between gender inequality and violence against women. Employers are supported to meet criteria from six standards aligned with women’s labour equality: leadership, data, flexible working, occupational segregation, workplace culture and violence against women. It’s a tiered programme which enables employers to progress from building a foundation for change to embedding a strong culture of gender equality within the organisation.

By participating in Equally Safe at Work, organisations receive access to expert guidance, e-learning modules, awareness-raising material, bespoke support and opportunities for shared learning and peer support. Employers are supported to collect and analyse data, develop initiatives, and review and update policies, practices and resources.

Equally Safe at Work is open to employers in the third sector and public sector. For more information on how to get involved, visit