WOMEN bosses account for just 1 per cent of the heads of Scotland’s leading firms, it has emerged.
And the amount of women at the helm of smaller firms has actually dipped slightly in recent years, according to figures uncovered by Labour.
The Scottish Government is now facing calls to deliver better support for female entrepreneurs as the issue comes under the spotlight of MSPs at Holyrood today.
Labour’s economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie will say that national economic development body Scottish Government must provide more targeted assistance.
“While women represent 51 per cent of the population, just one-fifth of businesses are majority owned by women,” Ms Baillie said ahead of today’s debate.
“There is a huge opportunity here.
“We know that women-led businesses contribute at least £5billion to the Scottish economy each year.
“If women-led businesses equalled those of men, the contribution would increase by £7.6billion.
“There is such potential to grow our economy, but we need to encourage it even more.
“We need a step change in effort if we are to create opportunities to grow women’s enterprise and unlock this potential.”
The percentage of women leading a small or medium enterprise (SME) in Scotland has dipped slightly since the SNP came to power in 2007, from 22 per cent to 20 per cent.
Today’s Holyrood debate comes as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and five days after Equal Pay Day – the day when women stop earning relative to men for the year.
Only 58 of the country’s 5000-plus leading firms, with a turnover of £5.6 million or more than 250 staff, are led by women, official figures unveiled by Labour have shown.
This rises to just 3.4 per cent for firms helped by Scottish Enterprise.
The Scottish Government’s minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “Women’s enterprise has a vitally important role to play in furthering the economic development of Scotland, whether that is in the creation and development of new businesses or in the growth of existing businesses.”