Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women: position statement

Our position statement on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Article 5: Sex roles and stereotyping

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures:

(a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;

(b) To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding of maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the primordial consideration in all cases.

5.1 Role of the Media

The Royal Charter on Self-Regulation of the Press was agreed by the Scottish and UK Governments, and was unanimously passed in the Scottish Parliament and by all the major parties at Westminster. The Royal Charter puts in place a process to implement the recommendations of the Leveson Report. This process is ongoing.

Implementation of the principles of the Leveson Report is expected by Parliament and by the public. The Scottish Government is engaging with UK Government counterparts on the implementation of the Royal Charter and is aware of the current state of play with regards to the establishment of independent self-regulators. The Scottish Government is happy to engage with the Scottish press and other stakeholders on independent self-regulation and will base any further action on the progress made towards the implementation of the principles put forward in the Leveson Report.

In addition, the Scottish Government's Equally Safe delivery plan, published in November 2017, which sets out actions to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, contains a commitment to 'convene organisations from a range of sectors to explore the role of the media in preventing violence against women and girls, and identify further steps that could be taken in this area.'

5.2 Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships

In response to Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) recommendations, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) published its Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland on 2 December 2015.

SDS's Equalities Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships includes activity to address gender imbalance within some MA occupational frameworks ( e.g. females in STEM related apprenticeships). Initial activity included the Construction Industry Training Board ( CiTB) Positive Action on Recruitment which raised the awareness of non-traditional careers in construction. A number of similar approaches are being undertaken by SDS contracted providers to enhance recruitment into non-traditional apprenticeships and providers are monitored upon the action they take to encourage more diverse recruitment.

  • The Institute of Physics Improving Gender Balance project has been supported by the Scottish Government, Education Scotland and Skills Development Scotland over the past three years. The project aims to develop a national approach to challenging gender stereotyping in the delivery of all school subjects. In line with the Government's STEM Strategy, we intend to embed good practice from this project across all schools by 2022.
  • A grant of £40,000 between Sept 2016 and August 2017 was awarded to Equate by SDS to develop a model of mentoring for young women undertaking apprenticeships in occupationally segregated industries that optimises their chances of success. This project has been extended to create a legacy that can be disseminated through all SDS contracted training providers and Scottish employers, showcasing effective practice in relation to how employers can work with young women apprentices in non-traditional sectors, supporting them to succeed in their chosen occupation.
  • SDS are working in conjunction with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB) to develop a suite of inclusive recruitment practises that are easily accessible and promote recruitment of protected characteristics groups and addressing gender imbalance. This includes showcasing and signposting support for employers on how to take positive action in recruitment in relation to how they market, undertake selection processes, and support young women in the workplace where they are in the minority.
  • SDS have a specific project as part of their ICT Skills Investment Plan to take positive action in recruitment for ICT frameworks.
  • SDS continue to take positive action in their marketing regarding apprentices with over 70% of images being female and many challenging traditional "male" orientated occupations in STEM apprenticeship frameworks (eg. construction, engineering).

SDS published the first annual MA Equality Action Plan review on Tuesday 18 July 2017.

The Scottish Government remains committed to working in partnership to address underrepresentation of women in STEM courses and careers. Tackling gender stereotyping in STEM at school and spreading best practice is an area of significant priority and features within the Government's STEM Strategy which was published in October 2017. The Scottish Government's STEM Strategy offers a comprehensive plan to improve STEM learning and teaching in the school curriculum. This will be achieved through enhanced professional learning and a new network of STEM specialist advisers.

5.3 Equally Safe

The Scottish Government is implementing Equally Safe Scotland's strategy to tackle all forms of violence against women and girls. The Scottish Government wants every child and young person in Scotland to develop mutually respectful, responsible and confident relationships with other children, young people and adults.

In 2014 updated guidance for teachers on relationships, sexual health and parenthood education ( RSHP) was published – it encourages equality and mutual respect from an early age and will support teachers to deal with issues such as misogyny in schools. It was developed by the Scottish Government and The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in association with a wide range of partners from public and third sector organisations. Central to the Scottish Government approach is primary prevention of violence against women, which seeks to change attitudes and tackle inequality. This primary prevention approach seeks to change societal attitudes, values and the structures which produce inequality.

RSHP education is an integral part of the health and wellbeing area of the school curriculum in Scotland. The curriculum is not statutory and it is for local authorities and schools to decide how to deliver the curriculum based on local needs and circumstances. The Scottish Government has provided funding of £1.85 million to Rape Crisis Scotland from, the justice budget, this includes support to deliver their sexual prevention work in schools and funding Zero Tolerance and Rape Crisis Scotland to pilot a whole schools approach to tackling gender based violence.

5.4 Women's Sector

The Scottish Government provides funding to a number of organisations that work to challenge stereotypes and elimination of prejudices such as: Engender, Zero Tolerance and the Young Women's Movement (YWCA).


Back to top