What's coming in the Equalities Bill?

So – the long, long, long awaited Equalities Bill has arrived. As usual, media first – Parliament second. Published last Friday but embargoed until Monday – presumably so other parties can’t get hands on it to comment. I thought Harriet Harman was better than that – but given her office has refused to brief me or meet with me – should have known.

The man who wrote the book on equalities – Lord Lester – will be leading on the Bill in the Lords for the Liberal Democrats – but in the Commons, that job falls to me.

I notice that the Government has made a huge fanfare over its stance on pay audits. From the media it sounds as if mandatory pay audits will be introduced for large firms, but I suspect from the details it will be the same as before – voluntary for five years and then possibly mandatory after that. We will see when the details are finally unveiled to one and all!

Mandatory pay audits would be a really effective way of adding pressure to end discrimination in pay between men and women – as you can see from the example of Cambridge University. Their audit highlighted some big differences in pay – and so gave me the grounds to refer them to the Equalities Commission whilst also causing the university to hared down to Parliament to justify what they are doing – all in the knowledge that with this in the public domain, things can’t just be brushed under the carpet or not talked about.

The other ‘announcement’ in the Bill is a public duty to reduce the equality gap between rich and poor. Very laudable – the equality gap is widening and if you look at stats around the world you see that those countries that have less of a gap do much better on every scale – including happiness! The Tories will term this class war. I would say that the ambition is right but the methodology is wrong. Or rather – the equality gap should be narrowed – but by bringing the bottom up without lessening the universal services and their standards that all are entitled.

0 thoughts on “What's coming in the Equalities Bill?

  1. If Cambridge University really was routinely paying female staff less than men for the same work or wasn’t recruiting the best people for the job, quite simply they wouldn’t be a top University and would by now just be a mediocre establishment, due to not employing the best, most qualified people in the top positions.Perhaps instead of looking for non existent or at best debatable discrimination, anyone interested in true equality should in fact be calling for a end to clear, obvious and undeniable sex discrimination.Cambridge is in fact by far the most anti-male univesity in the country. Not a single other institution has sexist colleges which refuse to admit men (Cambridge has a rather impressive THREE of these).In fact one Cambridge college refuses to employ any men AT ALL – not even in the teaching positions!Remeber this is the top univeristy in the country with limited places which are vastly over subscribed – yet so many places are even open to males at all!!Credit should be given to the likes of Oxford and Durham for opening up all their single sex colleges to everyone and putting a stop to blatant sex discrimination. It is a shame Cambridge has to be so backward and and sexist.

  2. Sigh, another good post from you Lynne about sexism, and another anonymous comment about how supposedly sexism is all about men being discriminated against. What a lovely world your commenter must live it. Shame the rest of us live in a world where discrimination against women is so frequent. I know there are also cases of discrimination against men too but I wish people could talk about one without thinking they have to pretend the other doesn’t exist. By the way, I found the evidence you posted about Cambridge convincing. They do look to be paying women less for doing the same jobs as men. Thank you for giving the details.

  3. I wonder how break-down-able the published versions of the stats required on pay will be?I’d be very tempted to want to see the pay audit on gender broken down in cis v. trans average pay rates as well as male v. female, as I can’t help suspect that thanks to succeeding generations of transphobia, trans people are typically getting paid less than cis people and this will be masked in the general gender split.

  4. “another anonymous comment about how supposedly sexism is all about men being discriminated against.”This isn’t really true, but even if it was then perhaps it’s a reaction to Lynne’s agenda?If anyone is sending out the message only one gender is ever discriminated against then clearly that person is Lynne. How about we do a quick “audit” of this blog and the issues discussed over the last year or so:Lap dancing (and how it impacts on the safety of women)International Women’s Daythe Number of Female MPsWomen’s Pay at Cambridge University”How the Equality and Human Rights Commission is failing women”etc etcThe majority of the above were deemed so significant that they resulted in multiple postings, whereas I found only ONE single token post on men’s issues (titled dad’s and doughnuts). Worse still, Lynne even has posts titled “Women and the recession” when in real world it’s men losing their jobs in far bigger numbers than women, so she’s even distorting the truth on issues where men suffer.Lynne should be representing all her constituents and their needs both in Parliament and in all her work (and that includes this blog). For some reason she only really cares about those of the female gender.

  5. In the old days when Parliament was male dominated female MPs had to be formidible so we got the likes of Barbara Castle, Bessie Braddock, Margret Thatcher, Shirley Williams etc Now we have women only lists and get Jacqui Smith, Patricia Hewitt, Celia Barlow and single issue nutcases like Harperson who is behind this latest piece of nonsense. As any sort of sensible look into our education system shows the pursuit of equality above quality leads to falling standards.

  6. I don’t understand your point Bill. There are female MPs who aren’t very good, and yet there are also male MPs who aren’t very good. You only complain about the female ones though. Isn’t that sexism on your part?

  7. I understand Bill’s post completely and agree 100%He wasn’t complaining about female MPs – he was was complimenting all the fantastic female MPs of the past (I’d like to add the excellent Gwyneth Dunwoody to the list too), and bemoaning the lack of quality in female MPs we have at the moment.To be fair he should have highlighted the slightly less noticable but still significant decline in the number of good quality Male MPs, but athis issue has the same cause too.Every all female shortlist reduces the choice in candidates in an area and thus more often than not results in a lower quality person being selected who will do a significanlty inferior job of representing their constituents.Not only does it result in more incompetent MPs being elected – Helen Clark, Jacqui Smith etc, it also means we’re stopping some of the best Male politicians making it into Parliament too, thus lowering the standard of male politicians as well.A while ago people were asking where the Uk’s version of Barrack Obama will come from. Well assuming he would come from Labour, and to draw further parallels, perhaps from an mixed race family in a northern city slightly towards the east side of the country.Thus there’s a chance the next Obama is a community worker in Leeds who supports Labour. Lets say he wants to represent his community on the west side of Leeds. Well quite simply he can’t because they have an all female shortlist. Perhaps he’s also somewhat well known towards the north West of Leeds too and so could represent that community almost as effectively instead. Well tough – there’s an all women shortlist there too.Thus we quite possibly won’t see the next Obama in the U. Instead of being Prime Minister in say 15 years time he’ll still be working as a community worker in Leeds and instead we’ll get some idiot out of their depth who got promoted through politically correct reasons, corruption and quotas.

  8. Four out of five MPs are men. I don’t believe four out of five of the best people to be MPs are men. The biggest problem is good women losing out to bad men.There may be a small number of cases of good men losing out to bad women, but unless you think four out of five of the best people to be MPs really are women, talking about those good men is missing the big part of the picture.

  9. “The biggest problem is good women losing out to bad men.”Not true at all – the issue is the lack of women wanting to get involved in politics – there is a shortage of women standing. If there are four men for every woman wanting to get into politics then with women you’re recruiting from a much smaller pool of talent. In such circumstances having an equal number of female and male politicians would be compeltely inappropriate and you would inevitably end up with a significant number of terrible female MPs completely unsuited to the job. (I know you alwasy get some terrible politicans hwatever happens – but I mean significanlty more than you woudl normally expect).All Women shortlists mean you get absolute dross repeatedly selected on different all women shortlists and trying again and again to be selected in different constituencies throughout the country (with some actually getting in!). These politcians would never stand a chance on a competitive shortlists with candidates of both genders.I want a politician who is competent and clearly the best person for the job and who will represent me in Parliament.It doesn’t matter what sex organs they might have. All women shortlists are the complete opposite of democracy – any citizen should be able to try to stand for any party in any constituency – particularly their own local area where they grew up in. If that can’t happen then you haven’t got a democracy.