Gender Representation on Public Boards amendment passed

21/06/2024
Image by Sebastian Pichler

Amendment will align Act with Court of Session ruling.

Key Scottish legal news today is that legislation to amend the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Act, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2018, sets an objective that 50% of a public board’s non-executive members should be women.

The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Amendment) Bill will align the 2018 Act with a Court of Session ruling in 2022, which found that the Act’s definition of “woman” was not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. Therefore, that definition will be removed from the statute book.

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Gender equality is at the heart of our vision for a fairer Scotland and making sure women’s voices are heard across society is an important part of that.

“The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act continues to set the objective for 50% of non-executive public board members to be women, helping ensure greater equality at the highest levels of public life.

“The Bill passed today will amend the Act in line with the Court of Session ruling to ensure the statute book is accurate. This amendment does not change the purpose or objectives of the Act, and the Scottish Government remains committed to improving gender equality and representation of women across all areas of society.”

Background

The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

The Gender Representation on Public Boards Act (Scotland) 2018

The Court of Session ruled, with effect from 19 April 2022, that the definition of “woman” in the 2018 Act impinged upon the nature of protected characteristics as identified under the Equality Act 2010 and therefore it was not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

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