Scotland must go “further, faster” on women’s rights as Brexit threatens to exacerbate inequality, the Scottish Human Rights Commission has told the UN.


By Kirsteen Paterson


The National (27.02.2019) –– The national body delivered its new report to the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva yesterday.


The paper, which contains 24 recommendations, warns that “harmful” gender stereotypes continue to “limit opportunities” for women and girls.


And though LGBTI issues will now be covered in schools to stamp out hate-based harassment, the country’s national approach to addressing bullying makes “little reference to misogyny or gender based” trouble, despite a 2018 report which found female pupils suffer “alarming levels” of sexual harassment.


Meanwhile, women’s hourly earnings remain 14% below those of men, females are still underrepresented in decision-making roles in the political and public sphere and conviction rates for sexual violence remain low.


Without “appropriate training” for police and prosecutors, as well as greater public awareness, the report says new legislation will not be effective.


Moreover, UK welfare reform has had a “significant negative impact on women”, with the problem more acute for single parents, those with disabilities and individuals from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.


The report also states that Brexit is expected to “have more of an adverse impact on women as the primary users of, and workers within, public services”, stating: “It is key that the UK Government ensures that there is no regression in the protection and realisation of women’s rights.”


Judith Robertson, chair of the commission, said: “Our recommendations to government include measures to ensure Brexit has no negative impact on women’s rights.


“It also recommends action to mitigate the impact of austerity on women’s economic and social rights; and improvements to law and policy to tackle the high prevalence of violence against women.


“While the Scottish Government is to be commended for many of its actions to progress gender equality, our latest report to the UN shows that it must now go further, faster, to ensure that all women in Scotland are able to enjoy all of their rights – economic, social, civil and political – on the same terms as their male counterparts.”

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