Scottish Enterprise chief executive Steve Dunlop and School for CEOs managing partner David Sole have been unveiled as male ambassadors for Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES).
The pair join tech investor and former Skyscanner COO Mark Logan, who became the first male ambassador for the organisation in May 2018. Logan spearheaded the male ambassador recruitment programme.
The three ambassadors, all high-profile leading business figures, will work to tackle the very real problem of gender inequality in enterprise. The trio will collaborate with WES’s existing group of 40 female ambassadors.
WES chair Lynne Cadenhead said:“We are delighted to have such high profile change agents making a visible call for action.
“The gender gap in enterprise is hugely harmful to the Scottish economy and it is not something we will address in isolation, we need both men and women to step up, challenge unconscious bias and champion the policy changes and the support mechanisms that are needed to achieve meaningful, transformative change.”
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Only 20% of Scottish SMEs are majority owned by women. Women-owned businesses now contribute £8.8 billion in gross value added to the Scottish economy, an increase of 76% from £5bn in 2012.
Dunlop said; “This is an exciting time for equality in Scotland with a renewed focus on inclusive growth and creating equal opportunities for all.
“Despite an increase in women’s enterprise in recent years, there’s still much to do if we are to see a true gender balance in enterprise. That’s why I’m delighted to be part of Women’s Enterprise Scotland male ambassador programme and look forward to working with partners to champion change.”
Sole said; “We know from research that the business case for greater gender equality in organisations is proven, yet the lack of gender diversity is still an issue.
“I’m delighted to lend my support to WES as an Ambassador because I believe that we need more diverse organisations – in the broadest sense of the word – but not only that, we need leaders in organisations to operate and lead in a more inclusive way.
“Diversity is simply not going to be enough on its own. For organisations to become more inclusive will require cultural change – a leader-led activity and one that takes time, but it will be time well spent for everyone.”
Logan said: “I believe it’s essential that both men and women – and especially those of us in leadership positions – work together to properly address the causes of gender imbalance in enterprise and particularly in tech, much of which is attitudinal in origin.”