Scotland has a long and proud tradition of challenging disadvantage, discrimination and inequality wherever it occurs and it is this tradition that has helped to inform the work that the Scottish Government is taking forward to ensure that every person and every community in our country is able to achieve their full potential.
That work reflects our commitment to equality and to ensuring that we do all that we can to open up opportunity by delivering a strong, sustainable economy and supporting a fairer society. Those go hand in hand and are underpinned by our desire to create opportunities and to take action where barriers exist.
This report provides an important opportunity to mark our progress on that journey. It provides an update on how we are continuing to improve our performance and making progress towards achieving the equality outcomes we set in 2017.
Since we published our last report in 2017, achievements include the passing in 2018 of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018; the opening in September 2018 of our new Social Security agency and, as Minister for Older People and Equalities, I was particularly pleased to see in April this year the publication of our Older People's Framework.
However the challenges that face our communities are deep-rooted and long-standing. For example while last year provided a welcome opportunity to celebrate the centenary of some women gaining the right to vote in the UK, it also cast light on areas where we still need to work to achieve gender equality, such as by continuing to close the gender pay gap. We have just recently published our first Gender Pay Gap Action Plan which highlights over 50 actions we will be taking to tackle the causes of the gender pay gap. So we will continue to work with all of our stakeholders to learn from their lived experience and to use that learning to be as good as we can be in our policy and practice.
Scotland is an outward looking and progressive country and it is my intention to ensure that no one should be defined by the circumstances or characteristics of their birth, or held back by poverty, ethnicity or culture. I know that effecting change requires a long-term commitment to promoting equality and that the progress we have made to date has only been possible because of our commitment to working collaboratively with our partners. That is why, going forward my focus will be on building on those relationships to drive the pace of change.
Christina McKelvie MSP
Minister for Older People and Equalities