Gender pay equality

Rural and remote areas show improvement.

The gender pay gap in rural, island and remote areas has decreased over the last decade.

Research by Scotland’s Rural College indicates that in 2017 women in remote parts of the country had the lowest annual income on average, however women in accessible rural areas had the highest income of all female employees in Scotland.

A number of factors appear to be behind this, such as employment in low paid sectors, higher levels of part-time working, reduced mobility and the dominance of micro businesses in rural, remote and island areas.

Welcoming the research, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

“It is clear from this research that while there is much still to be done to eliminate the gender pay gap in our rural and remote communities, I’m encouraged that since 2008 the pay gap has decreased at an even faster rate than the overall national average.

“It also lays bare the scale of the challenge before us and the need to make sure our rural economy better supports women retain and gain well paid jobs. So, while progress is to be welcomed, the rate of change remains slower than in urban areas and is unacceptable for a modern, inclusive nation. Equality for women is an integral part of our inclusive growth vision and we are determined to improve the positon of women in the workplace

Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“I welcome this interim report, which shows that to tackle the gender pay gap, raise family incomes and grow our economy, we need to better support women in employment, or to return to the workplace. That’s why we are investing £5 million over the next three years to support around 2,000 women return to work and a further £205,000 to challenge and change employment practices and workplace cultures. With the research showing the key role public services play in the rural economy, there are obvious opportunities to ensure that women are paid equally and fairly.


The annual median income findings support earlier Scottish Government research which found the same trend.

Understanding the Scottish Rural Economy shows that the public sector plays a key role in the rural economy.


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