Launching a Global First

WES-Logo-colour              dgb cert logo for web final

Official Release 16.11.15


Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) is today (Monday 16 November) launching the world’s first programme designed to allow organisations to review the gender balance in their current digital presence and identify gaps and anomalies.

The new Global Certification Standards for Digital Gender Balanced Platforms is an audit and consultancy based process which reviews current service provision, enabling organisations to achieve the digital standard and display the certification logo on their platforms.

The new standards have been designed to optimise content across websites and social media, ensuring that organisations are gender-appropriate and engaging with the whole of their market.

Margaret Gibson, CEO of WES said,

“Women are active users of digital platforms and no organisation can afford to fall short of meeting the needs of a significant customer base. With the increasing use of digital platforms to deliver business support services, it is important that the content attracts and supports everyone who wishes to start up and grow their own business.

We assessed a variety of digital platforms from a gender perspective and found unconscious bias and widespread content which was at odds with the overall organisation’s values and commitment to gender equality and balance. The findings compelled us to take action to address the imbalance and progress a more inclusive digital presence, which led to the development of new Global Certification Standards for Digital Gender Balanced Platforms.”

She continued;

“Entrepreneurial flair exists in businesses of all sizes and the balanced digital content of small, medium and large organisations will reach the very women who will one day take up a role on a Board or head out to start their own business. That’s why it’s so vital that we address any anomalies now to ensure balanced digital content.”

The launch of the Global Certification Standards for Digital Gender Balanced Platforms takes place on Monday 16 November at a Women’s Entrepreneurship Event at Scotland House, Brussels, hosted by Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment. The first of its kind, it aligns with a growing global focus on digital gender balance, with 90% of female entrepreneurs now using some form of web based support service* and requiring content which engages with them appropriately.

WES is also inviting individuals and businesses to engage with its #IamYourClient campaign on social media, which invites users to provide feedback on what they like and dislike about digital platforms, highlighting platforms which use real women as case studies.

Charles Beattie, Board Member of WES said,

“In the current economic climate, every business needs to ensure that its resources work hard to provide the best return on investment. Digital platforms are no exception and must engage with the whole of the market to be efficient.”

When it comes to the identification of gender bias, men and women see things differently. A recent study showed that more than two thirds of men thought men and women were treated equally at work, yet less than half the women agreed. **

Notes to editors:

* Austrian Institute for SME Research 2014: EU commissioned research
** Interaction Associates Gender Balance in the Workplace 2015

Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) works to create an entrepreneurial environment where women-led businesses can flourish and grow. Along with the Scottish Government, WES developed the Strategic Framework for Women’s Enterprise in Scotland, the first of its kind in Europe . WES also works in partnership with RBS to support their Women in Business programme and the Women in Business Specialist Business Relationship Managers.

Just over 20% of Scottish SMEs are majority owned by women. More women-owned businesses in Scotland means more money for the economy, with research showing that if the number of women-led businesses increased to equal those of men, the economy would be boosted by upwards of £7.6 billion. Across the UK, that would mean one million more businesses.

In the US, women owned businesses represent 50% of all privately owned companies. Those female led businesses employ nearly 8m people and generate $1.4 trillion in revenue every year. The US has seen a sustained focus on female entrepreneurship by successive Governments. Between 1997 and 2014, women-owned businesses grew by 68% at a time when all businesses grew by only 47%.

(Sources: American Express Open and Womenable – and WES commissioned research by Prof Sara Carter, Associate Deputy Principal ( Learning and Teaching), University of Strathclyde)

For further information please contact

Carolyn Currie, Chief Operating Officer, Women’s Enterprise Scotland


Fiona Fraser, Digital and Marketing Manager, Women’s Enterprise Scotland


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