MSP for Aberdeenshire East, Alex Salmond, has announced his support for the SNP's campaign to decrease the gender gap in rural employment. 

Information released by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre revealed a gender gap in Aberdeenshire of 13.1%.

There are ten local authorities in Scotland which are classed as rural (i.e. they are over 50 per cent remote small towns, accessible rural or remote rural). 

The campaign, led by SNP Candidate for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate Forbes, involves communicating with local businesses and underlining the importance of offering leadership roles, as well as encouraging businesses in rural areas to sign up for up to the Scottish Business Pledge or Partnership for Change. 

Commenting, Mr Salmond said: 

"Regardless of whether you live in the centre of Aberdeen or at the northernmost tip of Scotland, your job prospects should remain the same. Closing the gender gap in employment is a serious issue, and I implore local businesses to fully embrace this SNP campaign. 

"Equal opportunities for all ensure that businesses have the best people at the helm, and the rural economy in Scotland deserves the best.

"Indeed, rural business-owners need not look further than the SNP as an example of what can be achieved with an up to date perspective on gender imbalance in the workplace. Closing the gender gap brings no end of successes." 


Notes to editors: 

Based on the Scottish Government’s 6-fold Urban/rural category there are 10 local authorities that can be classified as rural (i.e. they are over 50 per cent remote small towns, accessible rural or remote rural.

This gives a gender employment gap of 8.2% in ‘rural’ areas and 6% in ‘urban’ areas. For the local authorities in the Highlands and Islands electoral region, the gap is 8.7% 

Local Authority                         Total Rural                          Gender Employment Gap

Eilean Siar                                 100                                      -0.7

Orkney Islands                          100                                       9.0

Shetland Islands                       100                                      13.8

Argyll & Bute                             82.1                                      5.1

Highland                                    65.5                                     65.5

Aberdeenshire                          57.8                                     13.0

Perth & Kinross                         57.1                                       1.6

Moray                                        56.4                                      11.8

Dumfries & Galloway                53.4                                     7.0

Scottish Borders                       53                                        8.1

East Lothian                              40.9                                     7.3

East Ayrshire                             36.5                                     1.0

Stirling                                       33.6                                      8.9

South Ayrshire                         27.1                                        7.1

Angus                                       26.9                                      11.0          

Fife                                           18.4                                        6.1

Midlothian                                15.8                                       2.2

Clackmannanshire                   14                                         13.5

South Lanarkshire                   10.9                                      10.0

West Lothian                            10.1                                       6.7

North Ayrshire                         9.8                                        8.2

Falkirk                                       8.3                                       8.4                           

North Lanarkshire                    8                                          4.5

East Dunbartonshire                5.5                                       8.8

Renfrewshire                            4.8                                       1.2

East Renfrewshire                   3.5                                        8.6

Inverclyde                                2                                           3.6

Aberdeen City                         1.5                                        -2.7  

West Dunbartonshire              1.2                                         2.9

Edinburgh, City of                    1.1                                          1.2

Dundee City                             0.5                                        6.8

Glasgow City                            0.4                                        6.1


The full text of the open letter can be found below:


Dear rural businesspeople, 


I am writing to you today, in the hope that we can work together to increase the number of opportunities for women in our rural communities, to create a fairer society and stronger economy.


I recognise and value the contribution your businesses make to the economic and cultural life of communities right across rural and remote Scotland. Our village pubs, hotels, grocers or butchers are often the lifeblood of the community – places where we meet, shop or eat. But, importantly, you create jobs and sustain communities.


While much progress has been made in recent years to increase women’s employment in Scotland, in our rural communities the employment gap remains real and persistent. The gap between the number of men and women in rural areas is 8.2 per cent, compared to an average gap of 6.2 per cent across Scotland. In the Highland Council area it’s even higher, at 13.3 per cent.


The only way we’ll tackle this is by working together as a community to create opportunities, particularly for young women, to work and advance their career in rural communities. This means doing everything we can to break down the barriers that so often prevent women from working in certain professions or from taking up leadership positions.


One of the ways that businesses can play their part is by signing up to the Scottish Government’s Scottish Business Pledge or to the Partnership for Change. By joining these schemes you will be committing to having a more diverse workplace and a more productive workforce. 


You can find more information about these schemes here:


I look forward to working with you on this issue.


Yours faithfully,