While the UK has had two female Prime Ministers over the last 40 years, the boardroom remains a very male-dominated space. Only 6.4% of 250 FTSE firms have women in full-time executive roles.

However, PwC’s report “Women in Work Index” suggests that the tide may finally be turning, especially in Scotland.

On a global scale, the UK ranks 14th in the world for women in key business leadership roles, falling only second among the G7 nations. This same index shows Scotland as one of the best places in the UK for women in leadership.

Approximately 59% of women in Scotland are in full-time employment, which is a 4% decline in female unemployment figures since 2016. 

Similar research also shows that you’re more likely to have a female than male judge as 51% of solicitors in Scotland are women.Women are breaking through traditional stereotypes to achieve high ambitions and challenge men across the board. But, who exactly are these women?

Join us as we profile some of Scotland’s most impressive women and how they’re leading exciting, pioneering initiatives to pave the way for future generations.

Dr Anna Gregor - NHS Cancer Services 

Appointed by the Scottish Executive to reform the NHS cancer services, Dr Anna Gregor is a pioneering figure in Scotland’s health industry. Her national program, Scottish Cancer strategy, aims to change the delivery, planning, and funding of all cancer services in Scotland.

Through groundbreaking work and innovative methods, Dr Anna Gregor has radically changed the existing health care system and won the NCH woman of influence award in 2002. She’s also won a CBE in 2005 for services to medicine.

Catriona Watt - Anderson Strathern LLP

Catriona Watt started her career as a journalist, covering breaking stories for BBC like the Brighton bombings and Glasgow ‘ice cream wars.’ Her instinct to help promote justice for others led her to a career in law.

As a legal professional, she specialised in professional negligence cases to champion clients who suffered serious injuries and went on to create Scotland’s largest professional discipline practice, where her team was shortlisted for Litigations Team of the Year at the 2018 Scottish Legal Awards.

In 2015, she became the first female, Scot and non-QC to lead the UK Association of Regulation & Disciplinary Lawyers — an impressive achievement. 

Sandra Hood - Strathclyde Police

Sandra Hood began her career in the Strathclyde Police as an assistant chief constable. During her early career days, she was destined to become Scotland's first female chief constable. 

But, Hood broke from this traditional career path by shifting her focus towards social good.

Hood has overhauled the Strathclyde force and how the force supports rape victims.

After studying victim support methods in America, Hood set up a pioneering unit to support women and children who had undergone this traumatic experience and ensure they felt protected in the aftermath.

Dame Susan Rice - Lloyds Banking

Despite being born and raised in the USA, Rice made her debut in the history books by becoming a female leader of a British clearing bank in 2000.

Rice has an impressive track record. She’s worked in financial operations at NatWest andthe personal banking operations at the Bank of Scotland, before becoming the Chief Executive as Lloyds TSB Scotland.

Throughout her career, she has collected several impressive awards including the lifetime achievement award at the Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland Awards.

Zoe Ogilvie - Big Partnership

In 2017, Zoe Ogilvie became the major shareholder in the Big Partnership, Scotland’s largest PR & digital marketing agency and the 2nd largest independent agency outside of London.

Initially launching her career at a small marcomms agency in Paris, Zoe then worked at the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce before joining the Big founders, Alex Barr and Neil Gibson in setting up offices in Aberdeen.

Today, she plays an active role in developing the BIG agency and generating its annual turnover of over £8million. As one of the most widely respected and experienced PR professionals in Scotland, Zoe provides an impressive example of female leadership in the creative industry.

Championing Women in the Workplace

While Scotland is home to some impressive female leaders, there’s still room for improvement, particularly where pay is concerned.

An 8.9% gender pay gap still exists amongst full-time employees, suggesting not much has changed since 2018. Managers, directors, and senior professionals represent one of the largest gender pay gaps.

Whether it’s doing your part to fix the gender pay gap or promoting diversity to leverage its many benefits, there are several excellent reasons to encourage female employees to take on senior roles. 

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