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Gender equality

Legislation has existed in Britain for more than 40 years to outlaw discrimination on grounds of a person’s sex. Legislation seeking to implement equal pay was passed in 1970. Although equality in relation to a person’s sex or gender has changed significantly there is still evidence that women experience persistent inequality across a number of areas of society and in the workplace.


Recent studies have continued to demonstrate that women:

  • are paid less
  • can experience discrimination if they have time out from work to have children
  • can experience inequality in health and other service situations
  • make up a smaller proportion of people at the top of companies and other organisations

The most recent piece of equalities legislation relevant to sex discrimination and gender equality is the Equality Act 2010 which lists sex and gender re-assignment as protected characteristics. So when someone is treated less favourably because of their sex or because they have or are undergoing gender re-assignment, then they should enjoy protection under the law, in relation to employment and training, access to services, education and a number of other areas of public life. Further information about the law in relation to sex discrimination and gender equality issues is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Employers with more than 250 employees are obliged to publish information about the gender pay gap within their organisation. The first gender pay gap data was published in 2018, including the data for us.

Public sector duty to promote equality

The public sector equality duty replaced the duty to promote gender equality under the Equality Act 2010.