News & Views

Paving the road to gender equality - A Governmanet Proposal

SOC
BY Scott O'Connor
Employment law

This month the Government has published ‘Gender equality at every stage: a roadmap for change’ stating that “business as usual isn’t going to cut it” when it comes to achieving equality in the workplace.

This paper identifies eight key drivers of inequality which are named as:

  1. Limiting attitudes to gender caused by restrictive gender stereotypes and social norms

  2. Women tend to work in lower paid sectors and occupations and are less likely to progress which accounts for 35% of the UK’s gender pay gap

  3. The working age benefits system hasn’t always tackled the disadvantages that women and those with caring responsibilities face

  4. Women take more time out of the labour market to care for children

  5. Women are providing more informal care and unpaid work for others such as childcare and caring for sick relatives, friends or neighbours

  6. Some women face barriers returning to, or entering the labour market

  7. Women are more likely to face financial instability in life, due to decisions taken throughout working life

  8. We need to ensure that we sustain strong foundations for the future by ensuring that public services are fit for purpose and alive to the needs of different genders

The Government has made a number of proposals with regards to each of the issues listed above and intends to set up three consultations to help ensure workplace sexual harassment legislation is fit for purpose, to increase the transparency of organisations’ parental leave and to pay policies and provide dedicated employment rights for carers.

This paper comes as a new study has found that 32% of UK office workers are still not given the option of flexible working despite this having been a legal right for 5 years. Not publicising alternative working patterns to individuals may contribute to some of the key drivers of inequality.

If you have any questions on the Government paper or steps you can take to address concerns about inequality in the workplace, get in touch with your Employment Solicitor today.

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