The head of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) says that current
Government policy is seriously undermining efforts to reduce inequality and
improve public services.
Julie Mellor, chair of the EOC, told the Labour Party conference that the
Government’s failure to change the law so that public bodies would have to
actually promote sex equality themselves, was holding back the drive for parity
in the workplace.
She argued that true equality would not be achieved unless the legislation
More than 247 MPs, including around 200 from the Labour party, backed an
early day motion for changes to the equality laws earlier this year.
Mellor said: "Britain’s sex equality laws are almost 30 years old.
Individuals can take legal action if they have been discriminated against, but
[the laws] do little to ensure everyone is treated fairly. We need institutions
"Reducing inequality is quite rightly a political priority today, but
failure to change the law seriously undermines that commitment," she said.
"It won’t be fulfilled unless public bodies are required to take
equality into account in the way they deliver services, in all aspects of
policy and in their employment policies."
The EOC has just published its Vision for UK Equality, in which it claims
that a more equal society would increase prosperity, strengthen democracy,
improve public services and lead to a higher quality of life.
Mellor was speaking at a fringe meeting entitled ‘Altogether now: the birth of
the single equalities commission’, at the Labour Party conference in