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Posts Tagged ‘equal pay’

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Snapshots of law, gender and sexuality news from the past couple of weeks.

‘Equal Recognition’ campaign launched in Edinburgh; hope for a ‘third gender’ within the UK?

Oriana Frame, Durham University.

On the 1st of November 2014, the Equal Recognition campaign was launched in Edinburgh. The campaign, pioneered by The Scottish Transgender Alliance alongside the Equality Network, has vocalised the notion that Scotland, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is falling behind countries such as India, Denmark, Bangladesh and Germany who have already legally recognised a ‘third’ non-binary gender.

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In our first post in the new academic year, a number of contributors have gathered a string of scintillating stories from across the country and around the world.

Abortion

On time limits…

Polly Broad

Maria Miller, the Conservative minister for women’s issues and equality as well as secretary of state for culture, media and sport, has recently voiced her support for a reduction of the legal limit for abortions, from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. She cites advances in medical technology to support her opinion, arguing “what we are trying to do here is not to put obstacles in people’s way but to reflect the way medical science has moved on”. Many have objected to Miller’s argument that many more babies are surviving at 24 weeks or below, pointing, for example, to statistics from the Office of National Statistics in 2010 which showed that only 12% of babies born before 24 weeks lived for at least a year.

Miller’s statement has worried many pro-choice activists. Darinka Aleksic, the campaign co-ordinator for Abortion Rights, said: “The fact that the minister responsible for women and equalities wants to restrict access to abortion, one of the most important women’s health services, is really alarming.” Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt the recently appointed Health minister, called for the legal abortion limit to be halved. Many are wondering whether the government will soon make changes, despite David Cameron’s repeated statements that he has no plans to review the abortion laws.

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Equality & Sex Discrimination

Sheffield City Council has settled an equal pay case shortly before it was due to be heard by the Supreme Court. Around 900 women claimed that they were paid less than men doing comparable work. Last year the Court of Appeal agreed, holding that productivity bonuses granted to male employees resulted in unequal pay of men and women that was discriminatory (Gibson v Sheffield City Council [2010] EWCA Civ 63). Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, said: ‘This is great news for thousands of women working at Sheffield council …. This decision also has implications for around 400,000 other women’s cases across the country. We hope these councils now stop wasting money on lawyers’ fees and face up to their responsibilities to pay women fairly’.

Cris McCurley, partner and head of international family law at north-east firm Ben Hoare Bell, said that the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill contravenes the UK’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). (more…)

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