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Posts Tagged ‘Gender equality’

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Charlotte O’Brien, University of York

[This post was originally published in The Conversation and is reproduced here with the kind permission of that blog and the author]

It has emerged that the team being sent to Brussels to lead on talks to take Britain out of the EU includes just one woman – out of nine named negotiators.

This imbalance is not only embarrassing. It’s negligent. Failing to include women on the frontline of this incredibly important process jeopardises the quality of the negotiations.

Men don’t know (or do) what’s best for women

Having women on your team matters – and not just because of optics. It affects the quality of the laws that are made. The Equal Pay Act of 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 were both passed by parliaments that were 96% male and 4% female. Both pieces of legislation are great achievements on the surface but both were deeply flawed. The original equal pay rules required a job evaluation survey, effectively meaning that women had to seek permission from their employers (back then: men) to mount an equal pay claim. Until the EU intervened, the Sex Discrimination Act appeared to require pregnant women to be compared to sick men, making it easier to sack them. This unfavourable treatment on the grounds of pregnancy was not considered sex discrimination. (more…)

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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.

(more…)

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