PUTTING Gender on the Agenda the snappy title of this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management forum held preceding the Ladies Scottish Open which starts this weekend at Dundonald and is on from July 27-30.

The ladies open will be played for the first time at the same course as the men’s following on from their tournament and it comes from a ground breaking co-sanctioning agreement between LET and LPGA. Female golfers will also see the prize fund tripled and this now makes the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open the highest prize fund event on the Ladies European Tour outside the Majors.

These two steps have elevated the game of golf for women and shows that there are organisations out there who take gender seriously and who are working towards achieving a level playing field. What the players need now is your support during the tournament, and this will be particularly good for the nine scots girls who are competing for the trophy.

This group includes Kylie Henry who is a great supporter of Scottish Women in Sport and is our “professional to beat” at our own Celebrity Golf Fund Raising Day on September 7 at Buchanan Castle Golf Club in Drymen, (places still available!).

The forum was split into two sections, the first half looking at women in business, and they had a strong panel of guests which included Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives and Petra Wetzel of West Brewery and was moderated by Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland Editor.

Her presence here was very timely as the hot topic of debate is of course the BBC gender pay gap. Sarah, confirmed that she supported the stance of the female journalists who have collectively called on the BBC to end this unfair practice, whereby a women doing the same role as a man gets paid less, because she is a women! This takes me back to a statement I heard several years ago and the question is worth repeating today. To those who makes these decisions – would you expect to give more pocket money to your son, because he was born male, than your daughter? Personally I don’t think anyone would, nor should they.

The day was brightened by Elaine C Smith a comedian who can get her point across, yet still have you laughing at the same time. Elaine spoke about her career as a female actor and the gender bias she has encountered.

The afternoon was rounded off with a panel discussion on Women in Sport and how we can level the playing field and promote more female leadership in sport. This was moderated by Steve Martin, who is Global CEO of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment.

Steve was a panel guest at last years forum and his insight and understanding of women in sport was pretty much spot on. Sir Clive Woodward joined golfer Beth Allan and Hala Ousta from the Scottish FA along with Sheila Begbie, Scottish Rugby Union. The debate was diverse and topical and time took control, which made the audience participation portion just a little tight.

Let’s be honest there is always plenty to discuss around women in sport. This week we have had the amazing scenes surrounding the success of the English Womens Cricket team winning the World Cup. They had all matches shown live for the first time, with more than 50 million watching the group games alone. The BBC also had over one million users on their website and in the four host cities – over 30,000 people visited fan zones. This is testament to a governing body investing in its future and understanding the benefits to be gained from such a move.

Compare this to the news from the Rugby Football Union not to renew contracts for the world champion 15-a-side women’s team. They have taken a totally different approach to their elite female players, and yet another wealthy sporting organisation are making a decision based on gender. So you can understand why time was tight.

But let’s not stop the debate, let’s keep talking and supporting change, highlighting the discrepancies and challenging the decision makers. Pandoras box is open, no one can close it now!