PROJECTS that help women facing a “motherhood penalty” when they return to work after raising children have been given a boost.

The Scottish Government is contributing £185,000 towards the schemes, with the money being divided among six projects.

As part of that, the Adopt an Intern scheme will receive £55,000 to increase efforts to help black and minority ethnic (BME) women who are returning to the workplace.

Adopt an Intern chief executive Joy Lewis said: “With this funding we can now work towards closing the pay gap and overcoming the more unseen challenges that face women in the BME community in the workplace.”

Women Returners Ltd will receive £48,500 to help 40 financial services professionals take part in the Returners to Financial Award Services Scotland Programme after a career break.

North Lanarkshire Council’s Positive Returns project will receive £19,300, NC Resources’ Women Into Security course will be granted £13,000 while Stirling Council’s Women Into Work initiative will gain £12,000.

Glasgow Clyde College’s Women Into Child-Minding scheme will receive £37,200.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Evidence suggests there are a number of barriers around women returning to work following an extended absence, with many experiencing a ‘motherhood penalty’ following maternity.

“This Government is committed to addressing the issues preventing women re-entering the workforce.”