3. Scope of the NSET Equality Position Statement
This Equality Position Statement summarises the available evidence regarding equality and inequality in Scotland's economy, which has been used to inform the decisions we have taken in the NSET.
It includes evidence gathered as part of NSET's semi-formal public consultation and stakeholder engagement, and also takes into account available equality evidence in relation to the labour market, Scotland's economy and the impacts of COVID-19. This Position Statement should be read, understood and used together with the NSET Evidence Paper.
This Position Statement is not in itself an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA). Rather, EQIAs will be progressed for the individual policies put in place to deliver NSET as they are developed by policy teams. This document, and the evidence included, sets a framework for conducting EQIAs in future, to ensure that equality and human rights considerations continue to shape the implementation of NSET programmes. The EQIAs that are to be developed will seek to build on the evidence in this Position Statement and the accompanying Evidence Paper, including through engagement with stakeholders and people with lived experience. It will also be essential to review and update EQIAs as policies are implemented and additional data are gathered, so that the potential impacts of policies and actions on people with protected characteristics – both positive and negative – can be fully explored and appropriate mitigating activity taken.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of equality related data as a means of understanding disproportionate impacts on different groups in society and to inform the Scottish Government's response to those impacts. To address some of the known gaps in equality evidence, in April 2021 we launched the first phase of our Equality Data Improvement Programme (EDIP). The EDIP will be undertaken over 18 months, and it is anticipated it will lead to the publication of a revised equality evidence strategy and a second phase of the programme in late 2022. This work will help us identify gaps in equality evidence and improve our equality evidence base.
In addition, we engaged with equality stakeholders across Scotland to strengthen our understanding of existing inequalities in the economy and how NSET should address them. This included two Equality and Human Rights roundtables in September and November 2021, which were followed by an Equality and Human Rights Roundtable hosted by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy in January 2022. Ministerial engagements with the Women's Leadership Centre and the Poverty and Inequality Commission took place in June 2021. We also analysed relevant responses to our semi-formal consultation, such as a joint response from Engender and Close the Gap, and responses from Equate Scotland, CRER, the Scottish Women's Budget Group and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
While evidence has been gathered focusing primarily on groups with protected characteristics, it is vital to consider our approach through an intersectional lens. People across Scotland will often have a combination of multiple protected characteristics, different socio-economic backgrounds and household incomes, and experience inequalities in relation to health, education and other aspects of their lives. Addressing inequalities must also recognise the regional and rural dimensions, including the high incidences of child poverty in certain regions. It is therefore key to remember both the intersectionality of protected characteristics and the wide range of circumstances that influence the opportunities and barriers people face, including their lived experience of poverty, inequality and/or discrimination. An intersectional, person-centred approach to reading, reviewing and using the evidence from this Position Statement is therefore essential.
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