“Equality must never be the icing on the cake”

The Fawcett Society has published a report today warning the UK Government not to scrap the Public Sector Equality Duty:

The Fawcett Society has today warned the government against taking a ‘dramatic backwards step’ when it comes to women’s equality and rights.

In a report published today (16th July 2013), Red Tape, Red Line: five reasons why government should not “drop its duty” to tackle women’s inequality’  Fawcett considers the UK’s ‘equalities architecture’  – specifically the way in which different laws and organisations concerned with progressing equality and / or preventing discrimination have come about in the last 50 years. It then goes on to examine what has happened since May 2010 when the Coalition Government took power.

The report exposes:

–     The abolition or weakening of key institutions concerned with progressing equality in the UK

–     An on-going reduction in legal requirements with regards to equalities and so a greater reliance on voluntary action to prevent discrimination

–    The dangers of abolishing or weakening the Public Sector Equality Duty, which is currently under ‘wholesale review’

It sets out alternative actions government could take instead if it genuinely wants to improve its own effectiveness and that of the wider public sector in tackling discrimination against women and other groups.

We’ve blogged about the Government’s plans before, and its review of the Equality Duty is due to be published soon.  If it recommends scrapping or weakening the duty, it’s going to turn the clock back decades.  Please consider writing to your MP, or – if petitions are your thing – sign the petition at change.org.  They need to know that people care about equality, even when times are hard.