Scots women in “low paid, low quality” work, despite outperforming boys in school

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SCOTTISH women are more likely to be in “low paid, low quality work”, despite outperforming boys at school – a “disturbing” report has shown.

The report, produced for the Scottish Government, found that young women were more likely to be participating in education, training and employment than men, but were pushed towards “feminised” sectors tending to be low paid.

66% of girls are leaving school with a Higher or more, compared to just 55% of boys, whilst 59.6% of Scottish first year students at Scottish universities are female.

At the age of 15, 80 per cent of Scottish schoolgirls felt pressured by school work, compared to just 60% of boys.

But then 18% of women aged 16-24 in Scotland are “economically inactive” compared to just 11% of men of the same age.

Women’s charities and education experts have called the findings “disturbing”, and have said that the country needs a culture change to alter the figures.

The report states: “A gender pay gap exists from early in working life, because women are more likely to be in low-paid, low quality work.

“Continued gender segregation in subjects studied at school and beyond is associated with gender segregation in the labour market, with ‘feminised’ sectors tending to be low paid.

“There is a gender gap in educational attainment, with girls outperforming boys at most stages.

“Overall, young women are slightly more likely to be participating in education, training and employment than young men.”

Kara Brown, Director of YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement, said: “This report is disturbing.

“One big thing we as a charity have found is that gender divides and issues are very normalised in schools – girls are pushed to certain subjects like biology, instead of chemistry and physics, which are considered subjects for boys.

“Maybe this means girls don’t consider the full range of jobs available to them.

“But in addition, jokes about girls at school – for example people talk about ‘throwing like a girl’ – mean girls don’t have as much confidence. They might not be confident enough to ask for a pay rise or a promotion for example.”

Helen Connor, a former EIS union president added: “There is still clearly work to be done at school level on self-esteem – girls often achieve more academically and, indeed, appear to enjoy school more than boys.

“However, in general girls are less confident in their own ability and can also be less confident about expressing opinion than boys.”

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “We are committed to ensuring everyone has equality of opportunity across Scotland no matter their gender or economic circumstances. Naomi Eisenstadt’s report provides the Scottish Government with advice on how we can tackle these issues.

“We want every young person in Scotland to be able to realise their full potential whilst in education, and to go on to have the same opportunities in employment.

“Closing the gender pay gap is one of our key priorities and we are already taking decisive action to address this, including taking steps to ensure women are better represented in senior and decision-making roles and challenging pregnancy and maternity discrimination.

“We are making progress – the full time gender pay gap in Scotland was 6.2% last year, compared with a UK-wide gap of 9.4%.”

The most ‘feminised’ employment sector for young people was the “caring, leisure and other services” sector, where 82% of employees were female.

89% of young people working in the “skilled trades” sector were men.

The full-time gender pay gap in Scotland was 6.2% last year.

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