The Equal Opportunities Commission has today called for 30 year old sex discrimination laws to be updated claiming the current laws have reached the limit of their usefulness.
Jenny Watson, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission says while women have made great strides in education and the workplace there is still a large pay gap between men and women. Moreover, Watson says, for many women, sex equality is “a thin veneer which vanishes as soon as they take on caring responsibilities.”
“We need to make more of women's talents and skills and prevent them from being channelled into low paid, part-time work below their potential. Women working part-time earn nearly 40% less than full-time men, a pay penalty that has hardly changed in 30 years,” she says.
Watson adds: "While the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts have done much to tackle discrimination, the scandalous inequalities that women still endure today show that they have reached the limits of their usefulness. A new generation of laws to are needed so that the responsibility for gender equality is shared between individuals, employers and government.”
Inequalities in women’s income has also been highlighted over the last twelve months in the pensions debate with Lord Turner expressing a desire to ensure women have an adequate income in retirement, something many current female pensioners lack. This is largely caused by women taking career breaks to raise a family or care for elderly relatives leading to reduced National Insurance contributions during their lifetime.IFAonline
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