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Gender disparity in the news again...

View profile for Amy Douthwaite
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The CMI  published results of their "Men as Role Models" survey yesterday revealing that gender bias in the workplace is still rife. The survey results revealed that 4 out of 5 managers had witnessed gender discrimination or bias in the last year.  It also revealed that 85% of the women surveyed and 80% of the men surveyed had witnessed inappropriate remarks in the office.

The CMI is calling for senior managers to be 'agents for change' in this area with its initiative "Men as Role Models" which is being supported by senior executives in leading UK businesses such as Sky, E.ON and Nutmeg. Read more about this here and here.

These results have come out just as gender issues are in the news yet again, this time in relation to work dress code rules targeted specifically at women (such as requirements to wear makeup and high heels). The report "High heels and workplace dress codes" released by two House of Commons' Committees (Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee) yesterday found that current anti-discrimination laws are not fully effective in protecting women in this respect and calls on the Government to review the law. Read more about this here and here.

 These two developments reinforce the need for more action to be taken generally to address workplace discrimination and the disadvantages being experienced by working women. However, the signs are that things are starting to change. MPs on the Women and Equalities Committee have revealed that steps are to be taken to provide stronger protection to pregnant women and new mothers against discrimination in the work place.  Such steps will include a consultation on strengthening the existing law against issues such as redundancy, will be launched.  In a BBC report (here), Business Minister Margot James said that “there should be zero tolerance of discrimination against pregnant women, or women who have just given birth. That’s why today we are committing to making sure new and expectant mothers have sufficient protections from redundancy”  . The clear aim is to ensure that new and expectant mothers are treated fairly by their employers.

At our recent webinar on Gender Pay Gap reporting, 39%  of attendees said that the new Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements might make them think more about gender/diversity and 31% said that they are already trying to reduce their Gender Pay Gap. Cultural change is never quick, or easy but the combined effect of these initiatives and yesterday’s reports may well mean that businesses are simply unable to ignore the issue much longer. 

If you would like to listen to a recording of our Gender Pay Gap webinar, please let one of the team know.  

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