Moray is joining the international Women’s Day movement by pledging to address gender disparity through its Moray Growth Deal bid.

The team behind the bid is working on a key project within the funding package that will have a long-term impact on shaping the future of young girls growing up in Moray, and will play a part in helping to address gender disparity.

The Growth Deal is a bid for multi-million pound investment by UK and Scottish governments, Moray Council, public sector partners and private business to boost the economy of the area.

Rhona Gunn, corporate director at Moray Council, is playing a pivotal role in developing the bid for the multi-million pound Growth Deal.

She said: “In 2016 Moray had the fifth highest difference in Scotland in pay between women and men at 12.4%.

“Although we’ve reduced that since 2007, the gap is almost double the national figure and was the second highest pay gap in the Highlands and Islands in 2016, after Shetland. But for me, gender disparity goes far deeper than pay. A core objective of the Moray Growth Deal is to address gender disparity which is manifested culturally as well as in pay-related statistics. Transforming our economy – and as a result increasing opportunities for women and young people – is at the heart of our growth bid. Moray’s industrial past is steeped in traditional, male-dominated industries, such as distilling, fabrication and farming. While acknowledging that heritage and economic strength, we aim to widen our employment base with modern industries such as those in medical, engineering and technical sectors.”

The project involves promotion of STEMD (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Digital) and links well with activity in neighbouring authorities. It is hoped that through initiatives in STEMD, young people – boys and girls – will be reached and have their minds opened to the plethora of opportunities out there before they become influenced by cultural norms and gender stereotypes. Ultimately, it could help get more women into digital, technical and scientific roles in Moray.

The Moray Growth Deal team has chosen International Women’s Day to draw attention to a key objective behind the long-term ambition of the Growth Deal and has launched a social media campaign on the My Moray channels to get the people of Moray engaged and excited by the possibilities of the Growth Deal.

Rhona Gunn concluded: “Once again we are asking the public of Moray to support us in our efforts. If people can like and share our pledge to address gender disparity in Moray on the My Moray social media platforms then this once again demonstrates to UK and Scottish governments the wealth of support and enthusiasm for the Moray Growth Deal and its long term objectives.”

It is hoped that the people of Moray will get behind this pledge by liking and sharing the #MyMorayPledge post, which will be shared across the My Moray Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages on International Women’s Day.