Government and unions to push women’s rights in 2005

Government and trade unions will make a concerted push next year to help women break through the glass ceiling and into the boardrooms of Britain’s biggest companies, reports The Daily Telegraph.


The Women and Work Commission will report on the so-called “gender pay gap” after the general election, while the union Amicus is planning to campaign for compulsory pay audits of big businesses by outside consultants.

The House of Commons’ Trade and Industry Committee has also launched an inquiry into why more women are winning big payouts in sex discrimination cases.

But employers sounded a note of caution. John Cridland, deputy director general of the CBI, told the paper that people should not get “hung up on discrimination by employers” when sometimes women chose to work in less well paid jobs for lifestyle reasons.

The committee will look at the low numbers of women in the boardroom as well as sex discrimination cases in the City.

Amicus said it was “furious that employers are getting away with treating women as second-class citizens”.

Patricia Hewitt, the trade and industry secretary, complained this month that one third of FTSE100 companies had men-only boards, and said companies should appoint more women to senior positions.

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