Women in Agriculture Development Programme: equality impact assessment

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) for the Women in Agriculture Development Programme (WiADP).

Stage 4: Decision making and monitoring

Identifying and establishing any required mitigating action

If, following the impact analysis, you think you have identified any unlawful discrimination – direct or indirect - you must consider and set out what action will be undertaken to mitigate the negative impact. You will need to consult your legal team in SGLD at this point if you have not already done so.

Have positive or negative impacts been identified for any of the equality groups?

Yes – all positive.

Is the policy directly or indirectly discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010[6]?


If the policy is indirectly discriminatory, how is it justified under the relevant legislation?


If not justified, what mitigating action will be undertaken?


Describing how Equality Impact analysis has shaped the policy making process

This process has been an extremely useful exercise. In our initial planning of the WiADP, inclusion, diversity and equality were already at the top of our agenda, as the policy is designed to address gender inequality experienced by women in Scottish agriculture. Our wider work has also focused on the need to improve diversity within agricultural organisations, through the Unconscious Bias training. This process has emphasised the vital importance of that work in encouraging culture change and creating opportunities that will be open to women e.g.: on boards or in senior leadership roles, through open recruitment processes, rather than by word of mouth or by recruiting someone already known to the current board members.

The process has also encouraged us to think about the intersection of other protected characteristics with that of sex. We already had a strong awareness of the issues around women and age discrimination and were aiming in our advertising and promotion to communicate that the training programme is for all ages. However, this EQIA has also raised the point that we need to consider doing this in relation to other characteristics, e.g.: race and disability, which are often visually absent from the image of Scottish agriculture. Although there is no direct discrimination within the programme, these characteristics are ones we can help to advance in a positive way towards equality, through our communications and promotion of the training and we will endeavour to do so where possible. Similarly, we make good provision for pregnant women and those with children, so it could be helpful to acknowledge this more clearly in our associated materials e.g.: website blog, social media posts etc, training materials etc.

This EQIA has also caused us to reflect more carefully on the complex and sensitive issues around gender reassignment. Whilst we were clear that all women (including trans women) would be eligible to participate in the training, we had perhaps not fully reflected on the need to ensure a careful and sensitive discussion around the issues of gender identity, gender expression and biological sex. The nature of the personal development training, in focussing directly on the topic of gender, must necessarily discuss these areas and therefore careful attention will be paid to the language used, to be sensitive, appropriate and as inclusive as possible.

We will also make provision for those with disabilities and those with religious requirements more obvious in our communications, and encourage applicants to contact us about anything in relation to this, so that their needs can be fully provided for. There are also many opportunities within this training programme to promote good relations between those with protected characteristics and those who do not share those characteristics. For example, we should more fully consider the involvement of speakers, mentors and trainers, in the programme who are from ethnic minorities; who identify as LGBT+; who have disabilities; etc. Where there is an opportunity to involve a more diverse group of people - particularly as the agricultural industry is not very diverse - then that should be taken.

Most significantly, this EQIA has highlighted important gaps in the data on certain protected characteristics within the agricultural industry. It is often assumed that Scottish agriculture is for the most part, dominated by white men in the 50+ age bracket. However, there is a need for data collection – particularly in relation to ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation - in order to better understand the picture of those working within the industry and the patterns of inequality which may exist. Our work with colleagues in RESAS will help to address these gaps, and in our evaluation of this policy, we will continue to use any new data that is provided, to help address issues of inequality that come to light.

Monitoring and Review

Where possible, we will collect data on participants and evaluate their experiences of the training programme. If certain groups appear to be under-represented within the cohorts of women who participate, then steps will be taken to address this – particularly focussing on our communications and promotional materials for the courses.

A report will be prepared by the training contractor(s) on each cohort, which will make comment on the protected characteristics and any learning or feedback which has come out of the process – particularly during the pilot phase of the training.


Email: sara.thorpe@gov.scot

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