50/50 by 2020 takes centre stage

Performing companies sign gender balance pledge.

Scotland’s National Performing Companies have committed to improving gender balance in the arts by signing up to the Scottish Government’s 50/50 by 2020 campaign.

Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera, Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO), the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) and National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) have all formally pledged that 50% of their board members will be women by 2020.

This latest support means 185 public bodies, third sector organisations and private companies have signed up to improve gender balance on boards since the Partnership for Change campaign launched last year.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance took to the King’s Theatre Edinburgh stage with performers from the RSNO to announce the support from Scotland’s arts. She said:

“By signing up to our 50/50 by 2020 pledge Scotland’s National Performing Companies are recognising the need for true gender equality, and are helping us shatter the glass ceiling once and for all.

“Last year for the first time, more women than men were appointed to public boards in Scotland – this cannot be a one off. Our new Gender Balance on Public Boards Bill will look to readdress gender imbalances and build on the great progress we have made so far.

“I would encourage all organisations to consider the benefits of gender balance as it’s clear to me that companies with a more modern, progressive and open minded approach will be the ones that outperform their rivals as they are making the best use of all the talents at their fingertips.”

RSNO Chief Executive Krishna Thiagarajan said:

“The RSNO has a close-to 50/50 gender split amongst its musicians, administrative staff and board of directors, simply through a process of identifying the valuable members the organisation requires to deliver positive results.

“Throughout its history the RSNO has been a trailblazer in this regard, recruiting women to important positions as early as the 1930s, in 2001 appointing Marin Alsop as Principal Guest Conductor – who has gone on to lead one of the USA’s finest orchestras - and most recently recruiting Holly Mathieson as our latest assistant conductor. Including our Chair, Dame Sue Bruce, our board appointments have shown that we are serious about gender equality, as we are serious about equality and diversity in all areas of society. We have been able to reap the benefits of this balance and urge others to adopt a similar approach.”

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera General Director said:

“Scottish Opera is pleased to be involved in 50/50 by 2020 and determined to meet the campaign objective. We are already moving towards addressing the gender balance in leadership by recommending for appointment two further female board members later this year.”

Gavin Reid, SCO Chief Executive said:

“As an Orchestra passionately committed to openness, equality and the enrichment of lives through music, we are committed to working towards a gender balance on our governing body, thus meeting the 50/50 campaign objective. Equality informs everything we do and it is appropriate we reflect this at the highest level.”

Christopher Hampson, Scottish Ballet’s CEO/Artistic Director said:

“Scottish Ballet is delighted to already benefit from a 50/50 board. This gender diversity adds yet another positive element to the wide breadth of experience that our board members possess, ensuring that Scottish Ballet’s governance is both robust and balanced.”

Dame Seona Reid, Chair, National Theatre of Scotland said:

“I very much welcome the 50/50 by 2020 initiative and congratulate the Scottish Government on its first year anniversary. The National Theatre of Scotland is firmly committed to gender equality on boards, and we are proud to be nearly there already. We will continue to strive for further improvements in the diversity of our board directors. I believe firmly that diversity within board membership leads to significantly enhanced decision-making and quality of debate.”

Notes to editors

For more information about Partnership for Change go to: http://onescotland.org/equality-themes/5050-by-2020/


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