On 16 November 2015, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, Annabelle Ewing, visited the Scottish Government EU Office in Brussels to host an event to show how Scotland is tackling the gender gap in enterprise.
Ms Ewing was joined by the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, to lead a discussion on how more women can be encouraged and supported to start and grow their own businesses and to learn how other Member States and stakeholders are addressing this issue.
Participants heard from a range of experts. Margaret Gibson, Chief Executive of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, outlined how Scotland has pioneered a framework developed by representatives from the public, private and third sector to support women trying to establish their own businesses, as part of the wider Scotland CAN do approach. Paula Fitzsimons, National Director of Ireland’s ambitious Going for Growth programme, highlighted the importance of growing female-led businesses.
With Scotland amongst the top ranked EU countries in terms of female employment and unemployment rates during 2015, the Minister also engaged in a series of discussions with other EU stakeholders to share approaches on tackling gender inequality in the workplace, as well as discussions on other areas within the Minister’s portfolio, including youth employment and Scotland’s ambitious Developing the Young Workforce programme, and how the Scottish Government is supporting more inclusive labour markets.