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Making the most of women's skills can be catalyst for growth, says Labour candidate

By Alan Hendry

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Harnessing women’s skills and abilities can be a catalyst for economic growth, Labour candidate Marion Donaldson has said.

Her party says it is committed to putting women at the centre of Scotland’s economic recovery, amid concern that they face a high risk of redundancy when furlough comes to an end.

Latest figures for the Highland Council area indicate that 750 people in health and social work jobs are furloughed. Nationally, 80 per cent of the workforce in this sector are women.

There are also said to be 6490 people in accommodation and food services and 3500 people in retail jobs on furlough in Highland. Nationally, women make up more than 50 per cent in each of these sectors.

Ms Donaldson, Scottish Labour’s candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said: “Women have made an invaluable contribution to our community during the pandemic.

“Our national recovery must recognise the value of this work across our community and ensure we harness women’s skills and abilities as a catalyst for local economic growth.”

Women from minority ethnic groups are particularly likely to be worried about job or promotion prospects due to the pandemic, according to the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for women's rights.

Women are also reported to have taken on more unpaid work during Covid.

Research by Close the Gap, a policy advocacy organisation, has calculated that the effective utilisation of women’s skills and talents could lead to £17 billion of growth in Scotland’s economy.

Childcare and social care are designated as key growth sectors in Scottish Labour’s Women’s Manifesto.

Deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Women have been at the forefront of our national fight against Covid, delivering crucial paid and unpaid work.

“Our plan to put women at the heart of our economic recovery would ensure jobs traditionally dominated by women now receive the recognition and value they deserve.

“A gender-sensitive recovery can address pre-existing inequalities and build a stronger and fairer Scotland for all.”

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