Aberdeen businesswoman Jeanette Forbes said yesterday that the race to get more women into board rooms around Scotland was far from run.
Ms Forbes, Chief Executive of Aberdeen-based energy sector IT firm PCL Group, added that progress was being made but more could be achieved if women’s groups pulled in the same direction.
She was speaking on the same day a group of Scottish businesswomen from a range of industries gathered in Edinburgh to discuss ways of encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs.
The round table was the latest initiative from the Scotland Office to tackle boardroom discrimination.
In 2014, then Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael launched a UK Government-commissioned review of the role of women in the country’s economy.
The resulting report by Lesley Sawers, who was the first woman chief executive of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce, called for a joined-up approach to addressing mainstream attitudes, better ways to measure performance, and mentoring.
Scotland Office Minister Andrew Dunlop, who hosted yesterday’s get-together, said: “We have seen real progress in extending opportunity to women.
“There are now more women in employment and more women-led businesses than ever before. There isn’t a single all-male board left in the FTSE 100, and the gender pay gap is at its lowest level since records began. But we know that there is more to be done.”
Ms Forbes, an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland, said she was encouraged to hear the issue increasingly raised for discussion.
She added: “Things are moving forward. The fact this meeting has taken place shows that, but there’s still a lot to be done. I do believe that a good leader should be looking over her shoulder to see who else from the female workforce she can take with her. I understand a lot of females are on FTSE 100 boards but I’d like to think they’re contributing, not just being placed there. It’s my feeling that they are contributing, very much so.”
Ms Forbes, who was crowned inspirational woman of the year at the inaugural BusinessWomen Scotland Awards in 2015, added: “A lot of different groups are contributing but we would have a louder voice if we all pulled together.”