The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has called for at least half of all
large firms to complete a pay review by the end of the year to ensure they are
paying men and women fairly.
The Commission has drawn up a seven-point document, outlining its goals and
targets for improving equality during the next 12 months.
And again, it has urged employers to audit pay systems as part of the drive
rid the workplace of inequality.
Julie Mellor, chair of the EOC, said 2003 could be a seminal year for
progress on workplace equality and that the UK is currently facing a turning
"We are at a crossroads – the Government is in the middle of a
consultation on new laws to ensure fair treatment in employment regardless of
age, sexual orientation or belief," she said.
"If Britain achieves the concrete goals for equality for women and men
that we have outlined, 2003 could be a momentous year for equality."
Women working full-time still earn 19 per cent less per hour than men, with
this figure rising to 40 per cent for women working part-time.
However the Government has now committed all its central departments to
equal pay reviews by the end of March, to help set an example to other
The EOC has also called on employers to promote the new rights for fathers
which, from April, allows them two weeks paid paternity leave to spend with
In addition, Mellor criticised the pensions system and said it should be
reformed to provide a decent income for all and take into account the
fragmented career path of women.
The EOC also wants political parties to boost the number of women
representatives as Britain currently lies in 47th place in the world for women
MPs, with fewer than 18 per cent.
By Ross Wigham
EOC goals for 2003
– Equality at home: more new dads to
take time off
– Equality at work: half of large employers to complete a equal
– Equality in old age: more provisions for retired women
– Equality politics: increased female representation
– Equality in education: more work experience opportunities
– Equality in public services: bodies given a duty to promote
– Equality under the law: Government commitment to new