This afternoon, in advance of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open teeing off at Dundonald Links, Aberdeen Asset Management hosted the inaugural Ladies Scottish Open Forum: Female Leadership in Business and Sport.
Introduced by Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, addressed a packed audience at The Gailes Hotel in North Ayrshire before taking part in an audience Q&A session.
In her address to the audience, Sturgeon said: “We’ve seen some good progress in recent years, and it’s encouraging that activity levels amongst teenage girls are increasing. However, there is still a gender gap in sports participation and physical activity levels. There’s also a shortage of women involved in sport from grassroots right up to elite level.
“My government is committed to doing more to support women and girls to be more active and to promote their participation in all aspects of the sporting sector and in being active more generally.”
Speaking alongside Martin Gilbert on the business panel were Rain Newton-Smith, Director of Economics, CBI; Krystyna Nowak, Managing Director of UK Board Practice, Norman Broadbent; and Justine Lutterodt, Director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership.
The panellists debated a range of topics including the possible impact of Brexit on gender equality, equality targets and supporting female entrepreneurship.
“My government is committed to doing more to support women and girls to be more active and to promote their participation in all aspects of the sporting sector.”
Martin Gilbert commented: “The inaugural Aberdeen Asset Management Forum on female leadership in business and sport has been a huge success and the quality of discussion from our panellists kept a large and influential audience engaged and enthralled. Female representation in business is still a big issue, which we at Aberdeen take very seriously. Today’s forum reflected on the work that still needs to be done but also on the progress already made. There is no doubt that diversity makes for better decision making and should be seen as a competitive advantage.
“I am particularly indebted to the First Minster for launching the forum, and for being so supportive with our sponsorship of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Ladies Scottish Open.”
Lively debate followed in the sport panel, which was moderated by broadcaster Georgie Bingham. Panellists included Alison Kervin, Sports Editor, Mail on Sunday; Steve Martin, CEO, M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment; and professional golfers and Aberdeen Asset Management ambassadors Cheyenne Woods and Catriona Matthew.
During the event and on behalf of the Ladies European Tour, the Scottish First Minister announced that Catriona Matthew will be Vice Captain of Team Europe for the 2017 Solheim Cup. The 46-year-old Scot, one of the star names in the Ladies Scottish Open field, has been tipped as a strong favourite to captain Europe when the Solheim Cup is held at Gleneagles in 2019.
Catriona Matthew remarked: “I love The Solheim Cup and it’s my favourite week each time it comes round every two years. It’s just so different for a golfer to be in a team environment where you’ve got your teammates and the captains and vice-captains. Golf is such an individual sport that it just makes it great fun. I’ve got great memories from it.”