Quiet desperation (lexin) wrote in tradeunion_uk,
Quiet desperation

Equality a long way off

Public sector union UNISON has said a damning final report from the equalities watchdog echoes the union's earlier calls for the government to do more to improve women's role in the workplace and in society. Looking at measures such as pay and power, support for families, and access to public services, justice and safety, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) warns that sex equality is still generations away.

Its 'Completing the revolution' report says it will take another 45 years for women to receive a similar-sized pension to men, and 20 before women working full-time will earn the same pay as their male counterparts. The part-time pay gap will take 30 years to close.

UNISON national women's officer Sharon Greene said the finding were not news to the union. 'We have been fighting for years for equal pay and fair pensions for women, and for measures to improve the work-life balance of both women and men,' she said. The report highlights just how much more needs to be done, she added. 'There is no justification for the pay gap between men and women. We know the reasons why it exists and action is needed now to address those causes - women should not and will not wait another 20 years to see fair pay.'

Getting with the gender agenda

Commenting on the 24 July launch of the report, EOC chair Jenny Watson said: ' Today, most women work, many men no longer define themselves as breadwinners and both sexes often struggle to find the time they need to care for others in their lives.' She added: 'A country that channels women into low paid work, fails to adequately support families and forces people who want to work flexibly to trade down in jobs pays a high price in terms of child poverty, family breakdown and low productivity.

This is a challenge that Gordon Brown's new government urgently needs to address.' Minister for women Harriet Harman said: 'This report rightly recognises that despite the fact that women's lives have transformed dramatically, there is still inequality between men and women in our economy and society that needs to be tackled.'

In October, the EOC will be absorbed into the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR), which will also deal with race and disability equality issues.

[Link to the EOC news release]
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