Scottish Greens, meeting for their Spring conference in Dundee today (7 Mar), heard a call to prioritise equal pay and boardroom quotas for women during the Westminster election campaign.

Tomorrow (Sun 8 Mar) is International Women's Day, and the Scottish Greens' manifesto - due to be launched later this month - is expected to include pledges on equal pay for women, and requiring public and company boards to have at least 40 per cent women.

The Scottish Greens' membership has surged to almost 9,000; the party is regularly polling ahead of the Liberal Democrats; and, for the first time, it is standing candidates in the majority of Scotland's 59 Westminster constituencies - over 40 per cent of candidates are women.

Previous polling by the Greens shows the vast majority of Scots support the idea of large private sector employers being required to ensure pay equality. Figures show, on average, women earn 13 per cent less than men in full-time private sector jobs. The gap is almost 34 per cent in part-time jobs.

Addressing conference, Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, a leading figure in the cross-party Women 50:50 campaign, said:

"Scottish Greens have a clear and consistent vision of a more equal society. The austerity agenda of the UK, pursued by the Tories and Libdems and supported by Labour, is particularly harmful to women. There's a clear desire among Scots for action on this, and by electing Green MPs we can make real progress on this badly neglected issue."

Councillor Maggie Chapman, Scottish Greens co-convener, said:

""It's appalling that in 2015, despite decades-old legislation, equal pay and gender equality across all levels of work remain unfinished business. Successive governments have paid lip service, while in contrast it is a core Green principle. Our candidates around Scotland are speaking up for better representation for women, better wages and flexible working rights."


Pay gap measurements - see table 1 (Close the Gap)

75 per cent of Scots support the idea of large private sector employers being required to ensure pay equality (Scottish Greens, June 2014)