The Gender Agenda

// 24 July 2007

The Equal Opportunities Commission has today published a report saying that equality between the sexes is ‘generations away’. ‘The Gender Agenda’ highlights a series of key gaps in equality, and estimates the length of time until they are redressed, according to current ‘painfully slow’ rates of progress:

  • The Power Gap – 195 years until equality in parliamentary representation and 65 years until equality in boardrooms
  • The Pensions Gap – 45 years until equality in retirement income
  • The Pay Gap – 25 years until part time pay equality, and 20 years until full time pay equality
  • The Health Gap – which may never close – which disadvantages men over women, due to their relative unwillingness to seek help.

The report highlights the main areas of inequality, and sets out a series of priorities for action, along with an ‘index of equality’ against which to measure progress. There’s also a ‘Gender Agenda’ microsite, with interactive features such as an ‘equality MOT’ for your life, e-cards and other downloads.

Despite the evident mountains left to climb for gender equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission is soon to be disbanded, and merged into the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights. Headed by Trevor Phillips, this will be an all-purpose anti-discimination body tackling issues of race, disability and religion alongside gender. A lot of leading organisations involved in gender equality have concerns about this, including The Fawcett Society, who said in their response to consultation on the CEHR that “we are very concerned to ensure that gender concerns and related expertise do not get lost in a new, broader agenda”.

For all those of us who are endlessly asked why we are feminists when the second wavers have already earned our equality; for all those who constantly hear about the crisis of masculinity in today’s ‘woman’s world’ this should be a call to action. Much has been done, and important battles have been won, but we are a very long way from achieving equality with men – we need to keep the pressure on.

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