EOC aims to get tough and bring wider change

The
chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Commission has called for the body to
change from being a watchdog into an organisation that can tackle the sources
of inequality in employment.

Julie
Mellor was reappointed by the Government to her post this week. She said,
"The traditional image of the EOC has been that of a watchdog. Enforcing
the law and taking action on behalf of individuals who have suffered
discrimination are still important elements of our work, but the EOC needs to
be more than a regulator.

"If
we can tackle the sources of inequality in employment we can bring about far
wider change," she said.

Mellor’s
main aim over her three-year term is to close the equal pay gap. Figures
released this week show that last year, over 40 per cent of women earned less
than £100 a week compared to one-fifth of men.

It
also shows that the income gap widens as women get older with female pensioners
worse off than any other group.

"This
confirms the urgency of the work we are doing on equal pay – a major source of
poverty and inequality that is magnified as women get older," said Mellor.

By Paul Nelson

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