EOC annual report shows no cause for complacency

Sex discrimination is still deeply rooted in British society, according to the Equal Opportunities Commission annual report, published today.

Sex discrimination still widely affects people of all ages and from different backgrounds, said the report which looked at areas ranging from work life balance to equal pay.

Britain still has to get to grips with the challenge of achieving equality between women and men, according to EOC chair Julie Mellor.

"Britain is stuck in a rut. It’s incredible that after 25 years of sex discrimination legislation so many people’s lives are still shaped by outdated assumptions about the roles they should play in society, just because of their sex,” she said.

One case presented to the EOC involved a father whose employer would not let him work part time so he could look after his daughter. In another case, a female football agent was excluded from her profession’s annual awards dinner because of her gender. A council worker was barred from applying for a promotion because she was job sharing.

Stressing the importance of an equitable society Mellor said, "Everyone, from politicians and bosses, to individual worker, teachers and parents, need to recognise that society has changed enormously.

“It is clear that we all have to be prepared to consider new approaches to achieving equality as the old approach has left us with a lot of unfinished business.”

The 1999-2000 annual report is available on the EOC website.

www.eoc.org.uk

By Helen Gilbert

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