There’s lots to celebrate this International Women’s Day. 2018 marked the centenary of women getting the vote and we held a debate in the Scottish Parliament in February to reflect on the hard work it took to achieve it. It has also been the year of ‘me too’ and ‘times up’ and of the women’s rights marches across the States which rippled across the rest of the world.
Yet despite the progress there’s still so much to do. The overall hourly gender pay gap in Scotland still sits at 16%, something unfathomable in the 21st century and almost 50 years on from the passing of the Equal Pay Act. Women are underrepresented in STEM sectors and boardrooms and a tidal wave of sexual harassment has been exposed in the Scottish Parliament.
In developing its new Healthy Weight Strategy, the Scottish Government is right to try and tip the scales in the direction of a healthier diet. Restricting junk food promotions, strengthening labelling and expanding the available nutritional information will make the nutritional landscape clearer have the potential to change the “food environment”, but I also want to see exercise included in the solution.
This series of lectures is called “Scotland after Brexit”.
I’m not going to speak about that.
I’m not going to accept the premise.
If I started talking about life after Brexit people might think that even I think it is unstoppable, inevitable, irreversible.
So that is not what I will address this evening.