Devolution in the UK created an asymmetric division of powers between Holyrood and Westminster with some policies reserved and others devolved. Equal opportunities policy falls within this gap between reserved and devolved powers. It is a policy area that highlights the disparities of responsibilities, obligations, institutional mechanisms, and procedures between Scottish and UK levels of governance. There are variations in terms of the powers and obligations, and the institutions themselves have adopted various practices to deal with equality within their own polity. This has led to variation of the equality agenda and a policy ‘gap’ between the UK and Scotland (see Fyfe et al, 2009). The policy area also highlights, ironically given it concerns equal opportunities, less than inclusive policy making styles. At the UK and Scottish governance levels there is less variance on the manner in which the policy is formulated with a tendency towards an expert-bureaucratic approach. This is perhaps explained by the under-representation of women in political institutions and decision making. This chapter therefore explores the politics of equal opportunities policy between Westminster and Holyrood with a focus on gender equality and the representation of women in the policy process.
|Title of host publication||Scottish Policy & Politics|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|ISBN (Print)||9781138933200, 9781138933217|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jul 2016|
- Equality Politics