How the Equality and Human Rights Commission is failing women

How many pieces of silver did Peter Mandelson give the Equality and Human Rights Commission to come out in the media this morning basically saying that equality was too expensive during a recession?

Nicola Brewer (Chief Exec of the EHRC) was quoted in The Guardian this morning saying that this was no time to make companies carry out and publish pay audits that would demonstrate the disparity in men and women’s wages.

Mandelson has been sending smoke signals through the trade and right wing press for some weeks now – vilifying any part of the Equalities Bill which might be a cost. But the scandal of women’s pay (compared to men) – even now, 30 years after the Equal Pay Act – is something that this Government said it would address in the Bill.

Ms Harman keeps assuring me in Parliament that they are committed to equality but that pay audits must be voluntary not mandatory. Well – we saw how effective voluntary codes were in banking!

Clearly from these weasly words from the EHRC the Government wants to be able to point at their statement as referred credibility for backing away from any commitment to real equality. The EHRC should be ashamed of themselves. They are meant to fight for equality – not be lackies for Labour’s failed commitments.

Ironically, to mark International Women’s Day, we had a debate in the chamber on ‘Support for Women (Economic Downturn)’ – the gist of which was that women are particularly vulnerable in a recession as they usually have less financial resilience and are already much disadvantaged through things like unequal pay etc. As I said in the debate, “The needs of those who face discrimination do not stop where the needs of British businesses begin.”

But clearly Mandelson, Harman and the EHRC are going to let us eat cake!

0 thoughts on “How the Equality and Human Rights Commission is failing women

  1. Men are more committed to their careers, they work harder, they work longer hours, take less time off and thus have more experience.Men have far riskier jobs too and are nineteen times more likely to be killed in a workplace accident than women.When feminists moan about lower wages they talk about “similar” work, never the same work with the same qualifications/training needed or the same risk, hardship and effort.Men have the lowest levels of paternity leave in Europe so can’t get time off anyway. Also they wait 5 extra years for a state pension too!Pay gaps are yet another feminist lie – If women work for less than men, why employ men at all?If you really want women to do better in the work place the only way is to equalise maternity/paternity leave and make it transferable as occurs in other countries. That way women won’t take so much time off, and vice versa for men.Why don’t you ever write about this solution? it is far better than ridiculous audits that you go on and on about which will be comparing apples with pears anyway and prove absolutely nothing.Who are the government to tell people not to discriminate when they are so sexist themselves anyway? I can think of at least 4 court cases the labour government has lost where they were guilty of sex discrimination against male pensioners.

  2. Ignoring your anti-feminist rant at the beginning of your post – we can at least agree about parenternity leave. Liberal Democrat policy is to extend leave and let the couples choose between them as to who takes it. But as we don’t (yet) run the country – we also have to deal with Government proposals. And quite frankly who takes leave when a baby is born is hardly the whole answer to the pay gap.

  3. Well maternity leave is really the only thing that causes discrimination against women – any other gaps are down to lifestyle choices.Governments should tackle the causes of discrimination (especially when they are the main cause themselves) and ensure people have equal rights.Equal rights aren’t the same as equal outcomes.If there really is such a terrible pay gap and women are constantly discriminated against 24/7 how come even teh EHRC reports that single women earn more than men when they become older?Perhaps you should be complaining about low wages for these older single men?What about black males? They also have lower wages than black females but no one ever mentions that (and if they do they only highlight it as racism, rather than seeing it as sexism).If I’m supposedly guilty of an anti feminist rant, then you’re guilty of being anti black male as you only ever write about how women have lower salaries (something mostly down to lifestyle choices), whereas black males (and to a lesser extent all males) are clearly being failed by the education system.

  4. What a lovely world you must live in where the only discrimination you’ve seen against women is down to maternity pay!

  5. Well to be fair I suppose there is some evidence of discrimination against older female workers, but again it’s arguable that’s completely a`down to the government too, due to unequal retirement ages.The point is you can’t have any sort of pay audits and start accusing companies of alleged discrimination until the government becomes serious about equality and gets rid of it’s own undeniable discrimination first.Whilst such discrimination is clearly harmful to men’s family and personal lives (and health), the indirect consequence of such sexism is to actually harm women in the workplace.On top of all that of course there’s the obvious fact that the government should be practicing what it preaches and setting an example.In reality, we’ve had the complete opposite. For example it wasn’t so long ago that Patriccia Hewitt herself was found guilty of breaching sex discrimination legislation when she appointed a weaker candidate ahead of a stronger one because of their gender.

  6. Whilst there are still a few dinsaurs out there that actively discriminate against women they are just that. The single thing that would assist women is access to affordable childcare. A place in a Muswell Hill baby room costs £18,000 a year Рenough to force many women out of the workplace never to fully recover.

    I’m amazed no politicians seem to want to address this – after all working women pay more in tax than they would require in tax breaks to help pay for good childcare.

  7. Discrimination against children of British females and males born before 1983:-

    I have been trying to bring to notice a set of bizarre policies that continue to remain in force against the older children of British parents who happen to be born abroad. The discrimination covers a multitude of issues that not only affect female citizens children born before 1983 but also include children of all British parents males included.

    There are three areas of discrimination for three different distinct groups that new legislation never covered as they were deemed older and born before 1983

    For those born before 1983 to British women they have to undergo payment of a registration fee and undergo a good character test and a citizenship ceremony. Their own younger siblings do not have to undergo this if they are born after 1983 and are automatically British citizens.

    Those born to a British father out of wedlock and born before July 2006 are not even considered British citizens or have a path to registration which at least the group above have some what if not still subject to executive control and fee payments. This group can either be born in the UK or outside and could be a child of an EU national or others who may have had or had an ongoing relationship with a British male and these relationships may still continue without marriage. Hence these children are made stateless unless born after 2006

    The 3rd group are British citizens children who may be born abroad while their parents are working abroad and their children in turn will not be able to inherit nationality if that child too is born abroad and there is a time limit on their registration.

    All of the groups above are children of British citizens who have less rights to then even EU citizens and immigrants settled in this country.

    There is a website at we have set up to try and bring this weird and wonderful set of rules that is splitting British families up and making them subject to fees and bureaucratic processes which either aims to gather fees but also cause exclusions to those with the closest of closest blood ties with the UK.

    These acts are done usually on the basis of age discrimination even when new legislation has been brought into place to remove such discriminatory practices.

    I hope Ms. Featherstone will kindly look into this issue for many of us who are suffering this unjust and unfair treatment. Please visit to find out more and sign our on line petition.