From education to employment

Gender Equality Duty Released for Consultation and Best Practice Sharing

As part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) Equality Bill, a Gender Equality Duty has been released for consultation, which will become enforceable from April 2007.

This new legislation is intended to change the way public bodies approach gender equality, placing a particular emphasis on the recognition of the differences between men and women and trying to meet the needs of both. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) hopes that this new legislature will make a marked difference to public services and invites these bodies to give their opinions on the proposed Code of Practice.

A Code of Practice

By involving practitioners in this consultation process, the views of many will influence the final legislation, bringing the ideal of meeting the needs of all more realisable. The Commission has ear marked the Code of Practice as a specific talking point, as this will have the greatest impact on the implementation of the law, and affects the daily practice within public bodies.

Through this new duty the EOC is hoping to address the quality of service given by public bodies including healthcare, transport and education. Within education this is an area which has been addressed repeatedly in the policy making of providers for years. However it is an opportunity to review these policies and identify key areas for change or adaptation in line with new legislation.

The Pay Divide

An area of interest raised by the EOC is that of the pay gap between men and women. In further education this is a particularly important aspect, both for employers and practitioners, also affecting the preparation of young people for the world of work.

The consultation period will last three months after which a final Code of Practice and legislature will be drawn up, ready to be integrated by the April 2007 deadline for implementation.

Sarah Chard

What can FE learn or teach on Gender Equality? Are we behind the times or pioneers? Tell us in the FE Blog

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