Creating a fairer Britain
8th March 2012 is International Women's Day. Below are some of the areas the Commission is working on to tackle sex discrimination and promote equality for women.
The Commission in collaboration with City HR Associates and the Financial Services Authority are holding an International Women’s Day Symposium today to consider some of the challenging questions around progression and compensation of women in the finance industry.
In 2009 we initiated an Inquiry into sex discrimination and unequal pay in the financial services sector. Our findings about the marked and persistent sex discrimination, which permeates the industry, were set out in our Inquiry and research reports.
The Commission developed a policy report exploring the economic benefits of providing equal pay. The EHRC is keen to ensure that businesses understand that pro-active equal pay management is best not only for individual businesses and women, but also for the wider UK economy.
The Commission in co-operation with Equinet organised a two day workshop on measures to close the gender pay gap. The workshop explored European National Equality Bodies (NEB) equal pay best practice following the European Council Conclusions on actions to close the gender pay gap in December 2010. The Council’s recommendations on closing the gender pay gap agreed by EU ministers invite member states to focus on the influencing factors of the gender pay gap.
The Commission produced a report from the seminar outlining the different initiatives across member states; different NEB responses to current EC proposals to closing the gender pay gap and the feasibility of future collaborative work.
The Commission has published the findings and recommendations of its Inquiry into Human Trafficking in Scotland. The Inquiry examined the nature and extent of human trafficking in Scotland focusing mainly, but not exclusively, on trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Other main purposes such as forced labour, domestic servitude and criminal exploitation were also investigated. The Inquiry reveals serious violation of human rights, and a modern form of slavery. The experiences of those who were trafficked are often nothing short of brutal and, in the main, hidden from society.
CEDAW is commonly known as the ‘international bill of rights for women’. The UK Government will be examined in July 2013 by the UN CEDAW Committee on its progress in implementing the rights contained in the Convention. The Commission will be making a submission later this year on the key issues for that UN dialogue, and will be submitting a ‘shadow report’. More information on CEDAW is available here.
The Commission will also be making submissions on the Convention against Torture and is presently consulting on how protection by police and other state agencies for women against domestic violence and rape can be improved – read more
The Scottish Court of Session in November 2011 agreed to a request from the EHRC to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) the issue of whether under the recast EU Equal Treatment Directive (No.2006/54) it is unlawful discrimination to treat someone less favourably on the grounds of their association with a pregnant person (Kulikauskas v MacDuff Shellfish and Anor, appeal from EAT 0062–3/09). The case arises out of the employer dismissing a man for helping his pregnant wife with heavy lifting in the workplace. The Commission believes this is an opportunity to clarify an important legal issue for the benefit of employers and employees.