South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has praised the fantastic contribution of Women in Business across Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, during a debate in the Scottish Parliament.
The South Scotland MSP welcomed the positive steps made by the Scottish Government to support and promote women in business and she congratulated the fantastic and inspirational women in businesses the length and breadth of Scotland.
During the debate, Ms Harper noted that Scotland’s business landscape is changing, and that evidence suggested women are playing a significant role in shaping its future, noting the size of the economy would increase by around 5% – equating to £7.6 billion – if the level of business ownership by women matched the level of male business ownership.
Ms Harper said Scotland was ‘the best place in the UK for workplace gender equality’, citing research that confirms Scotland’s gender pay gap is at an all-time low, and lower than all other parts of the UK.
Highlighting her South Scotland region, Ms Harper paid tribute to the inspirational women who are excelling in business – particularly small business – and reported that the region has been identified as an ‘entrepreneurship hotspot’ for women in new analysis from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Commenting, Ms Harper said:
“Women play an invaluable contribution to Scotland’s business sector and I was pleased to highlight the many fantastic women in business across Dumfries and Galloway as well as the Scottish Borders.
“Thanks to the close partnership working between the Scottish Government, private and third sector on initiatives, such as the Women in Enterprise Framework and fund, we are seeing better gender equality in the workplace and improvements in the gender pay gap in Scotland, which is lower than anywhere else in the UK. This is extremely welcome.
“Official figures show that around one in ten – 10.4% – of working age women in Dumfries and Galloway are self-employed – the second highest rate in the country, only behind Moray. There are so many fantastic and inspirational women in business across the region. I want to thank them for all they do, for their contribution and for being role models to other women.
“During the debate, I was able to highlight many of our local Women in Business. This includes Roan’s Dairy – led by Aylet Roan and Tracey Roan – a business which has gone from strength to strength providing milk to people across South Scotland, employing local workers, and trading at agricultural shows. I also mentioned Wilma Finlay of The Ethical Dairy, which produces sought-after cheeses and ice cream, Joanna Heard from the Galloway Soup Company – who developed a successful café and shop in Dalbeattie from her original farmers market stall, Lynne Atkinson from the Whitehouse Gallery and Hazel Smith who leads the Social Enterprise of ReTweed in the Borders. All are doing fantastic work.
“I will continue to do all I can to support women in business and urge any woman who is seeking to develop business opportunities to do so. Support is available.”