Reported by BBC News – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

Senior businesswomen in Scotland have said gender discrimination and harassment is still a problem in the workplace.

Many say the drive towards equality is having positive results, but that things need to move faster.

The concerns came as RBS announced Alison Rose as its first female chief executive.

But Ms Rose said earlier this year that women still faced huge barriers in starting their own businesses.

Scotland is the first part of the UK to set a legal target to balance public sector boards, although challenges remain in the private companies.

BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme heard from senior businesswomen at an event in Edinburgh – Wacl Gather Scotland – backed by Wacl, which represents women working in advertising and communications.

Lisa Thomas, chief brand officer for Virgin and president of Wacl

“The pace of change is achingly slow.

“The sexual harassment issue is interesting because light has been shone on it, but it clearly isn’t going away.

“There are old boy networks – a hideous expression – that still exist. We are still tempted to hire in our own image, and if you’re a male CEO, you’re more comfortable finding people like you.”

“There are men who are supportive of a more diverse workforce but they have the most to lose and they have the most power.

“If a woman goes home early to meet the children from school there is a sense that she’s doing what she needs to do and it’s all a bit irritating.

“If a man does that they are celebrated as being great dads – that behaviour needs to be changed.

“I don’t think I have suffered, but I have made some choices in my career that have made it easier for me to carry on working and continue to progress.

“I had my children late. I could afford childcare and I took very brief maternity leave. I’m of a generation where long maternity leave wasn’t well established – certainly not paid for.

“I took three months for my first child and I came back to work after about six weeks with my second.

“I wouldn’t say that was active discrimination, but it certainly I felt I needed to do that to do the right thing for my company but also my own career.”


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