Tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022-2026 - annex 7: equality impact assessment

Results of our equality impact assessment on the policy development of Best Start, Bright Futures: the second tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022 to 2026.

Chapter 2: Child Poverty and the Protected Characteristics

This chapter sets out a summary of what we know about child poverty and protected characteristics. It is based on a range of evidence and the views of stakeholder organisations and people with lived experience of poverty, gathered through our consultation process.

Although the analysis below focuses on one protected characteristics at a time, it is important to note that a family might experience a combination of different protected characteristics which intersect and that child poverty can be experienced in many different ways in different families across Scotland. Where there is evidence to support intersectional experience of poverty related to the three drivers of tackling child poverty we have set that out, noting that there is a lack of intersectional data on outcomes in Scotland[12].


In 2017-20, the relative poverty rate after housing costs was higher for single women with children (38%) than for other single working-age adults, however, the gap between this group and single women without children (27%) and single men without children (34%) was smaller than it used to be[13]. Estimates for single fathers are not available due to small sample sizes.

The vast majority (92%) of lone parents are women. Therefore the actions targeted to this priority group will be particularly beneficial for this protected characteristic.

Income from employment

We know that women earn less than men and are more likely to be in insecure, low-paid work and are overrepresented in sectors that have historically low pay, low progress and are often undervalued[14].

In April 2020-March 2021, 1,274,400 women aged 16 years and over were estimated to be in employment in Scotland, 19,800 less than the number of women employed in April 2019-March 2020[15]. The employment rate (16-64 year olds) for women was estimated at 70.5 per cent, 1.0 percentage point lower than the year before (71.4 per cent)[16]. During the same period, 1,316,700 men aged 16 years and over were estimated to be in employment, 45,800 less compared with April 2019-March 2021.

The employment rate (16-64 year olds) for men was estimated to have decreased by 2.5 percentage points from 77.7 per cent in April 2019-March 2020 to 75.2 per cent in April 2020-March 2021[17].

Over the past 10 years, the gender pay gap for full-time employees decreased from 6.6% in 2011 to 3.6% in 2021. However over the past year, for full-time employees (excluding overtime) the gender pay gap increased from 3% to 3.6% in 2021[18]. The gender pay gap for all employees' (including full and part time staff) median hourly earnings (excluding overtime) in Scotland has increased from 11.1 per cent in 2020 to 11.6 per cent in 2021, due to women dominating more part-time, lower paid roles[19].

The proportion of women earning less than the real living wage in Scotland in 2020 was higher for women than men (16.4% compared to 13.8%)[20]. More women than men work in low-paid occupations (38.5% compared with 20.6%), and women were three times more likely to work in a sector shut down during Covid-19 than men, with single mothers with low qualifications being particularly overrepresented in these sectors[21].

The employment rate gap between white[22] women and minority ethnic women (20.8 percentage points) in Scotland is significantly higher than the gap between white men and minority ethnic men (4.8 percentage points). The gap for women is driven by a much lower employment rate for minority ethnic women than white women (51.7% vs 72.5%)[23].

Through our consultation, stakeholders have highlighted that women often face intersectional gender and racial barriers that hinder employment prospects and career progression[24]. These inequalities are further exacerbated for disabled ethnic minority women.

Women disproportionately carry out caring responsibilities in both formal and informal sectors and as either paid or unpaid carers and these responsibilities were exacerbated during Covid-19[25]. Caring can have a significant impact on those who provide it, including reducing the time and energy the individual has for paid work, limiting their choice in terms of career and work locations and can have a significant impact on their own wellbeing. Women are also more likely to have career breaks in order to accommodate unpaid caring roles. The economic impact of caring can have an immediate impact on current household income but can also reduce their pension income in their future. Taking a career break can also create additional barriers when attempting to return into paid employment. There is also a direct correlation between the number of hours spent caring and living in areas of multiple deprivation[26]. These inequalities in caring responsibility can drive aspects of the gender pay gap, whilst hiding the true costs and value of care provision[27].

These inequalities are further exacerbated for households with only one adult/lone parents, where caring responsibilities can be particularly difficult to manage. Lone parents are at greater risk of poverty, are more likely to live in areas of deprivation and spend more of their income on basic living costs.

Income from social security

Women are twice as dependent on social security as men[28]. Lone parents, the majority of whom are woman, may experience higher levels of anxiety and uncertainty when looking to claim benefits and evidence suggests they can be disproportionately impacted by cuts, freezes, benefit caps and limits[29,30]. Before Covid-19, lone parents were also much more likely to be in debt and/or financially vulnerable[31].

For Social Security Scotland[32], the proportion of male clients was much lower(12%) than women (86%). This was particularly apparent in applications for Best Start Grant or Best Start Foods, and Scottish Child Payment, which more often tended to be filled out by women rather than men. The approval rate was higher for women (77%) in comparison to men (68%).

Reducing costs of living

We know that there is a strong relationship between domestic abuse and poverty, particularly for women. In 2018-19, in 82% of all incidents of domestic abuse where gender information was recorded by the police, the victim was a woman and the accused was a man[33].

Accessing secure housing is harder for women, particularly for those fleeing domestic abuse[34]. In 2020/21[35], 21% of households assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness were single women, while 49% were single male households. The most common reason for single female parent households becoming homeless was violent household dispute. 16% of applications were female single parents, while 5% were male single parents. SG statistics show that there were 13,097 households in temporary accommodation as at 31 March 2021. These statistics also show that there were 3,645 households with children or a pregnant woman in temporary accommodation, with a total of 7,130 children in temporary accommodation as at 31 March 2021[36].

Stakeholder consultation further raised the relationship between domestic abuse and poverty, calling for greater consideration and action to recognise financial abuse and its relationship to child poverty.

Prevalence of food insecurity is equal between sexes, although there is some evidence that coping mechanisms adopted may vary. For example, some evidence suggests that men may be more likely to use food backs than women, and some women may be more likely to adopt other coping mechanisms[37]. Women also face specific transport issues around safety and discrimination, which are even more pronounced when bus stops or stations are in unsafe or isolated areas.


In 2017-20, after housing costs are accounted for, 28% of young people, 17% of 35-44 year olds and 15% of pensioners in Scotland were living in relative poverty[38]. In the same period, the youngest adults (16-24 year olds) and the youngest children (0-4 years old) have been consistently more likely to be in relative poverty compared to other age groups[39].

Income from Employment

In 2020-21, the employment rate for young people aged 16-24 was around 25 percentage points lower than the overall population[40]. Young people were adversely affected by Covid-19[41], being less likely to be in contractually secure employment and more likely to work in sectors hardest-hit by Covid-19 such as retail, leisure and entertainment[42,43]. Young mothers are less likely to be in paid work and young people in general are also more likely to earn less than the real living wage[44]. Children from lower socioeconomic groups are also less likely to have access to parental networks in terms of employment opportunities.[45]

Care leavers and care experienced young people are more likely to face challenges in the labour market than other young people. They are three times more likely not to have a job by the age of 26 and earn incomes which are 27% lower on average than their non-care experienced peers.

The employment rate for people aged 50-64 fell by 2.6 percentage points, in the year to April 2020-March 2021. This is the largest decrease of any age group[46]. Parents aged over 50 face employment barriers including ageism, exclusion and lack of willingness to recognise the skills and experience they may have[47]. Older People in Employment[48] in Scotland reports that choices over later working life were highly constrained for those on lower incomes, those in low-skilled jobs and those with significant caring responsibilities. These circumstances most often interact to disadvantage older women in particular.

Social Security

We know that young people are less likely to have experience navigating complex social security systems and can face barriers in accessing support services. These barriers and inequalities are more prevalent when a person belongs to more than one protected characteristic or priority family group[49]. For example, young disabled women from minority ethnic backgrounds. People under 25, including those who are lone parents, are entitled to a lower allowance of some benefits than people aged 25 and over[50]. Mothers under 20 are considerably more reliant on state benefits and tax credits than older mothers, making them disproportionally impacted by cuts or changes to eligibility criteria in benefits or support services[51].

Costs of living

Younger people experience a higher prevalence of poverty and food insecurity and spend a higher proportion of their income on housing and food than older people. Adults under 25 are less likely to have savings, which, combined with low paid jobs, make it harder to meet living costs[52]. Young people are also more likely to be financially vulnerable and more likely to be in unmanageable debt[53].

Care experienced young people and care leavers are over one and a half times more likely to experience financial difficulties than their non-care experienced peers. We know that poverty and other social inequalities influence levels of childhood adversity and trauma along with people's ability to overcome such experiences.

Covid-19 has further exacerbated such inequalities and in some cases, leading to an increase in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma. Children and younger people's mental health was significantly impacted during Covid-19, and this is likely to be further worsened by unemployment and missed education. For some children and young people this will impact directly on their ability to learn and thrive at school.

Education remains one of the most effective means to improve the life chances of all of children and young people. However, children living in the most deprived communities are less likely to enter higher or further education than those in the least deprived areas[54]. In 2021, 87.1% of 16-19 year olds living in the most deprived SIMD quintile participated in education, employment or training compared to 96.4% of those in the least deprived quintile.[55] For young mothers under 20, 17% had a qualification at Higher Grade or above compared with 50% early twenties and 80% 25 or older. The evaluation of the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SG flagship policy to achieving equity in education) indicates that the poverty related attainment gap is closing, but it remains a complex and long term endeavour and there are also variations in the pace of that progress across the country, with Covid-19 likely to have placed further pressure on the gap.


Around a third of all families in Scotland include at least one disabled member and we know that families with a disabled member are more likely to be in poverty[56]. Children in families with at least one disabled adult or child account for over two-fifths (42%) of all children in relative poverty, and just under three-fifths (58%) of those in combined low income and material deprivation[57]. Thirty percent of children in households with a disabled adult or child were also in a lone parent household, and 30% were in a household with 3 or more children (2011-18)[58].

Income from employment

Statistics from January 2022 show that approximately one fifth of Scotland's working-age population is disabled[59]. Disabled parents are less likely to be employed compared to non-disabled parents and those who are in employment tend to work fewer hours, particularly disabled mothers[60].

From July–September 2021, the disability employment gap in Scotland narrowed from previous years, but remains large at an estimated 31.0 percentage points (in comparison to 33.8 in 2021)[61]. From April 2020-March 2021, the employment rate for disabled people was estimated at 47.4%, which is significantly lower than the employment rate for non-disabled people (80.2%)[62].

Disabled people are more likely to work in lower paid occupations[63] and have less access to fair work[64]. It is expected that the economic impacts of Covid-19 will continue to have an adverse effect on access to employment and financial security of disabled people[65].

Disabled people face a number of barriers to employment, including health needs and caring responsibilities, lack of affordable childcare, transport, inaccessible job adverts and application processes, workplace discrimination, lack of flexible working and inadequate support. While recognising these barriers mean that employment is not a realistic option for some, many disabled people would like to be in employment. Evidence suggests that dedicated and tailored employment support is required to not only find, but also to remain and progress in employment and there is a need for a greater availability of flexible and remote working[66].

Social Security

Disabled people experience a range of difficulties with benefits currently delivered by the UK social security system, including a lack of advice and support, lack of trust in the system, and a complex, inflexible or unsuitable application process. Disabled people are also disproportionately impacted by cuts, freezes and or changes to eligibility criteria, partly because of a higher reliance on benefits[67].

Disabled people face higher living costs than non-disabled people[68] and the benefits disabled people are entitled are not always sufficient to cover the extra costs disabled families face.

Cost of living

We know that disabled people face higher costs of living than non-disabled people[69]. These additional costs may include, for example, specialist equipment and home adaptations, specialist therapies, extra transport costs, specialist toys and play equipment, paid-for care and increased energy costs, either as a result of increased heating for those with limited mobility or the cost of running specialist electrical equipment[70]. There are also reports that costs have risen for many disabled people during Covid-19[71].

Disabled people are more likely than non-disabled people to live in social rented housing[72]. Satisfaction with their housing arrangements was lower (85%) than amongst non-disabled people (93%) in 2019. Difficulties in accessing housing that meets their needs can result in some families with a disabled member spending more on housing and/or having a lower quality of life[73].

In February 2021, disabled women were more likely to believe they will be in more debt at the end of Covid-19 (38%) than nondisabled women (32%), disabled men (30%) and non-disabled men (15%)[74,75]. Disabled people also face a number of challenges with the transport system[76]. Many of these are likely to be even more difficult when travelling with young children, and can also be exacerbated in rural areas.[77] Families with long term conditions also face additional barriers accessing childcare that meets their child's needs, including costs[78].

In 2020-21[79], of the total number of applicants assessed as homeless (27,571), 14,106 households were identified with at least one support need (which include a learning disability, physical disability and a medical condition).

Race and Ethnicity

Minority ethnic families[80] are most at risk of child poverty (38% of children in minority ethnic families were in relative poverty in 2017-20 compared to 24% of all children in Scotland) and families from some minority ethnic groups are more likely to have three or more children, putting them at higher risk of child poverty[81].

Income from Employment

Minority ethnic workers are more likely to earn low incomes[82] compared to the white population. Minority ethnic people are more likely to work in some of the sectors most impacted by Covid-19[83] and are over-represented in jobs with increased exposure risks to Covid-19[84].

People with multiple protected characteristics (e.g. someone from a minority ethnic group who is disabled) can face heightened barriers to employment. In 2019, data shows that a non-disabled white person is more than twice as likely to be in employment than a disabled minority ethnic person[85].

The employment rate for people from minority ethnic groups in Scotland is consistently lower than the employment rate for white people. During the period April 2020-March 2021[86], the minority ethnic employment rate gap was 8.2 percentage points, with the employment rate for the minority ethnic population aged 16 to 64 was estimated at 65.1% in comparison to 73.2% for the white population. The minority ethnic employment gap is much larger for women than men (approximately 13.2 percentage points for women and at 2.2 percentage points for men during the period April 2020 - March 2021[87]). The much larger gap for women than men may be partly attributed to cultural factors for particular ethnic groups.

We also know that minority ethnic people face heightened barriers (including racism and discrimination, language and cultural barriers) both in terms of access to the labour market and progression opportunities during employment. Despite better attainment levels amongst minority ethnic people, evidence suggests this does not translate into better job prospects[88].

Social security

Some minority ethnic groups have a lower acceptance rate for social security applications in Scotland than white applicants. Overall, the proportion of clients approved was highest for 'Mixed or multiple ethnic groups' (78%), followed by 'African' (77%), 'White' (76%) and 'Prefer not to say' (76%). Approval rate was lowest for clients identifying as 'Other ethnic group' (69%), followed by 'Asian' (71%) and 'Caribbean or Black' (74%)[89].

Evidence suggests there are particular barriers faced by minority ethnic communities, such as lack of awareness regarding the benefits available to them, difficulty accessing services or interacting with them – for example due to cultural or language barriers, where English might not be spoken or well understood, but also due to continued structural barriers that are compounded by discrimination and racism faced by minority ethnic people, which can cause trust issues.

As minority ethnic families tend to be larger, they may be disproportionately penalised by the two-child limit that applies to UK Governments Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit. Such policies enable and embed inequalities experienced by these communities.

Costs of living

Following Covid-19, evidence shows that minority ethnic Scots have faced poor health, economic and social outcomes which has exacerbated existing inequalities. We know that minority ethnic families are around twice as likely to experience child poverty compared to their white/Scottish background counterparts.[90] Minority ethnic families are less likely to have savings compared to the white population and also tend to experience a higher prevalence of food insecurity than white households.[91].

Research by Joseph Rowntree Foundation[92] suggests that minority ethnic households are less likely to be managing well financially due to lower incomes and higher costs. For example the report highlighted that minority ethnic households were over-represented within the private rented sector and are less likely to own their own home than white households. In 2019[93], Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British made up 6% of adults in private rented households, 2% of adults in socially rented households and 2% of adults in owner occupied households. In the same year, African, Caribbean or Black Minority made up 4% of adults in socially rented households, 1% in private rented households, 1% in other tenures and 0% in owner occupied households.

Travel-to-work patterns have showed that people from minority ethnic groups are less mobile and were more reliant on public transport, suggesting transport poverty could be more likely.[94] Travel-to-work data from the 2011 Census showed that people from the African group were the least likely to drive to work and the most likely to take the bus.[95] According to the combined results of the Scottish Household Survey between 2001 and 2005, adults from ethnic minority groups are markedly less likely to hold a driving license - 48% compared to 66% for White ethnic groups.[96] In line with this, analysis from the 2011 Census showed that all minority ethnic groups with the exception of the Pakistani group had lower than average levels of car ownership.[97] The African group had the lowest level of car or van access, with the majority (53%) having no access to a car or van.

The 2011 Census data showed that Gypsy/Traveller communities were more likely to be from a priority family group – (larger families, minority ethnic, with a lone parent)[98]. Gypsy/Travellers are more likely to be in irregular work, economically inactive and be unbanked.

Marriage and Civil Partnership

Although there is relatively limited evidence available for this group, the available evidence tells us that there are links between poverty and income inequality based on marital status. In 2017-20[99], the relative poverty rate after housing costs was highest for single adults (27%) and divorced (or separated) adults (27%). Married adults were the least likely to be in poverty (13%), with widowed and cohabiting adults at 19% each.

The poverty rate among widowed and divorced/separated adults largely decreased over the long term, whereas for single, cohabiting and married adults the trend was broadly flat over time. Following divorce, men are more likely to re-enter home ownership in comparison to women. Divorced women are more likely to suffer prolonged financial hardship in the long term than men and in the event of separation or the loss of a partner, women can be especially vulnerable to entering poverty[100].

The Growing Up in Scotland longitudinal study found that 9% of children were born into a lone parent household, and a further 11% experienced parental separation in the first five years of their lives[101]. Lone parents are more likely to be in poverty (38% of children in lone parent families were in relative poverty in 2017-20 vs 24% of all children). In addition, 40% of children in lone parent families in relative poverty also have a disabled family member, which amplifies barriers to overcome poverty[102].

Lone parent households have higher fuel costs than all households with children in Scotland and spend more of their household income on food. Lone parents are the household type that is most likely to be financial vulnerable and in unmanageable debt and are less likely to have savings in comparison to all households with children[103]. For some lone parents, financial pressures are made worse as they can struggle to receive the Child Maintenance that they are entitled to from the non-resident parent[104]. Although research shows that child maintenance does help reduce poverty, it has been estimated that less than half of lone parents in the UK receive it. Research shows child maintenance currently decreases poverty among single mother families more than it increases poverty among fathers paying support.

Pregnancy and Maternity

Pregnancy brings a period of sudden increased financial pressure and sustained money worries have been reported following a birth of a baby, increasing a risk of child poverty[105]. This includes additional heating costs, buying formula and food, nappies, clothes and providing for the needs of older children. We know that families with a new child are more likely to enter poverty and the birth of a new baby can result in those who are close to the poverty line falling below it. Households with children aged 0-4 are at high risk of poverty and the risk, is much higher when the youngest child is aged less than one year old[106].

Motherhood can have a significant impact on the number of hours that some mothers can work, which then affects their pay and income relative to non-mothers and men[107]. Mothers spend less time in paid work and more time on household responsibilities in comparison to fathers and the differences in work patterns between mothers and fathers have grown since before beginning of Covid-19[108]. Mothers suffer a long-term pay penalty from part-time working, on average earning about 30% less per hour than similarly educated fathers[109]. This wage gap can partly be attributed to mothers being more likely to work part-time, or taking time out of employment altogether.

There is a strong correlation between deprivation and teenage pregnancy. In the most deprived areas in 2019, the rate of teenage pregnancy in the under 16 age group was four times higher than those in the least deprived areas (52.6 compared to 11.8 per 1,000)[110]. Young mothers and their children are more likely to experience social adversity, stigmatisation and disengagement with education or employment[111]. Young mothers are less likely to be in work when their first child is 10 months old and tend to have lower educational levels than older mothers when their first child is born, which can impact on their career prospects[112]. Education can be a key predictor of later employment, with research showing providing support to further education is likely to improve job prospects[113]. We know that when young mothers are in work, they are more likely to earn a low income and more likely to receive social security entitlements[114].

Young mothers and their babies are at greater risk of experiencing negative health and social outcomes compared with older mothers, including poorer mental health (increased rates of stress, anxiety, and depression)[115]. Estimates suggest that up to 1 in 7 mothers will experience a mental health problem in the antenatal or postnatal period[116]. In 2019/20[117] deprivation and poverty continued to influence the health of pregnant women and babies across Scotland. Women from deprived areas were more likely to be overweight or obese, smoke, book later for antenatal care, have a low birthweight baby and to deliver their babies early compared to those from less deprived areas.

Religion or Belief

Faith and worship is highly important for a significant proportion of the Scottish population and can bring benefits to spiritual and wider wellbeing. Although there is relatively limited evidence around religion, employment and poverty, the available data for this group tells us that in 2015-20[118] relative poverty rates were considerably higher for Muslim adults (52%) compared to adults overall (18%). Of adults belonging to the Church of Scotland, 15% were in relative poverty after housing costs compared to 19% of Roman Catholic adults and 19% of adults of other Christian denominations.

Since 2004, the employment rate of Muslims in Scotland has been consistently lower than the employment rate for the wider population (58.1% vs 73.4% in 2020)[119]. Estimates are less precise for other religions due to small sample sizes. However, the data does suggest that the employment outcomes for those who are Jewish, Sikh or Buddhist in Scotland are less than the overall population[120].

Research by Sikh Sanjog[121] suggests that Sikh women face a number of barriers both in seeking work and within the workplace. This includes low self-esteem, cultural and family barriers, language and literacy barriers and structural barriers including employers not understanding cultural nuances, such as women wearing dastars or traditional clothing in the workplace.

Approval rate for devolved benefits varies among religions, but among the most represented groups there was less variation in December 2020 to May 2021 than in the previous reporting period[122]. Among the most well represented groups, approval rate was highest for those with no religion (77%), followed by Roman Catholic (75%), Muslim (75%), Church of Scotland (74%), and Other Christian (74%). Overall approval rates remained particularly low for Hindu clients (51%), with Jewish clients (61%), Sikh clients (68%) and Buddhist clients (70%) also having relatively low approval rates.

Cost of living

There is no known evidence of prevalence of food insecurity for religious groups, but we note that many faith-based organisations are involved in food aid activities.

Sexual Orientation

In 2019, 95% of adults self-identified as straight or heterosexual and around 3% of adults self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other[123]. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people (LGB) continue to face a range of inequalities and disadvantage across a number of areas and settings including employment, healthcare and education[124]. LGBT people are more likely to live in deprived areas in Scotland (27% lived in the most deprived quantile compared with 19% of heterosexual adults)[125]. Compared to heterosexual adults, lesbian, gay, bisexual or other adults were more likely to be younger, live in deprived areas, report bad general health, be unemployed and have a degree[126].

While there is no firm pay data for LGBT people, the high level of discrimination faced suggests some possible impact on earnings. LGBT people continue to experience discrimination, harassment and abuse in the workplace and in education[127].

Despite some studies showing equal or better pay for LGB people, UK data highlights that lesbian women are more advantaged in the labour market and bisexual people tend to have lower incomes. UK research[128] on LGB employee's experience of discrimination, bullying and harassment at work showed that LGB employees were more than twice as likely to experience bullying at work than heterosexual employees, but many do not report this.

A 2021 research report[129] highlighted that LGBT employees experience lower levels of psychological safety, wellbeing, job satisfaction and poorer working relationships compared to their heterosexual colleagues. LGBT employees were also more likely to report that work has a negative impact on their health. Stonewall Scotland's research[130] on LGBT experiences at work showed that more than a third of LGBT employees (36%) hid or disguised that they are LGBT at work because they were afraid of discrimination.

In 2018[131], people who identified as 'LGB and other' were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those who identified as 'heterosexual' (4% versus 2%). It is important to note that a higher proportion of those identifying as 'LGB and other' were in the age groups 16-24 and 25-34, which were also the age groups where unemployment was higher.

Gender Reassignment

The latest available evidence tells us that Trans people face a range of disadvantages and vulnerabilities in their everyday life and in employment[132].

There is evidence that transgender people may suffer poorer outcomes in relation to the wider population, including in relation to homelessness, health and employment. This includes lower self-esteem and higher rates of mental health difficulties than the general population. Young LGBT people may also be at particular risk of homelessness, often due to parental rejection, familial physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and familial aggression and violence

Trans and non-binary workers are particularly under-represented in the workforce overall[133]. At every stage of employment, many trans people face discrimination, bullying, harassment, prejudiced views and stereotyping, including during recruitment processes[134]. This has a negative impact on their employment prospects[135]. Stonewell Scotland's report[136] highlighted that more than half of trans people (58%) have deliberately hidden or disguised their identity at work for fear of discrimination and one in fifteen trans employees (6%) has been physically attacked by a colleague or customer.

Barriers and challenges to the inclusion of trans employees include lack of knowledge by employers and fellow employees, insufficient line manager confidence, stigma, practical considerations (e.g. toilet facilities, uniforms), lack of support and flexible policies[137]. Barriers to accessing employment include feeling unable to apply to jobs because of fears of prejudice, application forms excluding non-binary identities, difficulties obtaining references and proof of qualification matching gender and new name, lack of awareness and transphobia from interview panels and feeling unable to be open about trans identity when applying for jobs[138].

Research[139] carried out in Scotland showed 82% of transgender young people had experienced bullying in school on the grounds of being LGB or T and 68% stated this has negatively affected their educational attainment. 27% of trans young people left education as a result of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia in the learning environment. This can negatively impact their future career plans and skills.

We know that LGBT young people are at higher risk of experiencing mental health problems than other young people[140]. The study above found that 63% of transgender young people experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviours, 59% self-harmed and 84% of transgender young people who had experienced mental health problems had been bullied[141].


Email: TCPU@gov.scot

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