Tag Archives: gender equality

LibLink: Jo Swinson: Five things you need to know about gender pay gap reporting

When Jo Swinson was Minister for Equalities, she introduced the requirement for companies with more than 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap. That requirement came into force this week. Jo wrote on the Huffington Post about why this is important and how the information will help organisations understand what they need to do to improve their gender equality.

The numbers are really a springboard for further questions, and companies can delve into the data at much more granular levels than what will be published to understand what’s driving the pay gap. If it seems high in some divisions, you might do a deeper pay review to check pay levels and pay rises are being fairly decided. Staff who identify as neither male nor female can be omitted from the calculation, but given the discrimination non-binary people face at work you may wish to look more closely at the data for these individuals to reassure yourself pay and reward systems are working as they should. Similarly if your monitoring data is good enough, look at the data by race, disability, sexual orientation and other equality strands (and if it is not good enough, then now is a good time to improve your monitoring practices). This is an interesting exercise to identify potential problems – and it may give you a head start in the event that pay gap reporting is extended in future.

And what happens once they know the size of the pay gap?

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LibLink: Jo Swinson: if we lose focus, progress on gender equality can easily be lost

Jo Swinson has written a piece for the Huffington Post as part of their “All women everywhere” series in which she warns that progress on gender equality is under threat.

The chairman of Tesco’s board may feel that white men making up three quarters of his board constitutes being an “endangered species” but Jo sees the progress she made as a minister being eroded:

With the efforts of Vince Cable, Lord Davies, Helena Morrissey and many others we drove women’s representation in FTSE boardrooms up to record levels, yet Egon Zehnder found that the proportion of women appointed to Boards in 2016 actually decreased. The Equality & Human Rights Commission finding last year that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination is shocking in itself, but even more so when you consider that this figure has almost doubled since 2005.

In all the metrics about how many years it will take to achieve gender equality in any given field we are used to depressingly distant dates like 2067 or 2095. For women in technology the answer to when equality will be achieved if current trends continue is never.

Some men, she remarks, see a tiny number of women in power as a threat. She wrote this before the Tesco Chairman’s comments so clearly proved her point but she cited the usual social media whinging about International Women’s Day:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: I don’t want my 3 sons to grow up in a world where girls feel second rate

Another Lib Dem woman who inspires many – in fact, she makes a mission of Inspiring Women is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.

She has written for the Telegraph about the need for men and women to work together to make life better for the next generation of boys and girls.

She outlines the threats to hard-won progress:

In the US, President Donald Trump is putting into question women’s reproductive rights; in Russia, laws are being considered to decriminalise some aspects of domestic violence.

Just last week, a Polish MEP declared that women should earn less than men because they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent.” Breitbart, the right-wing website pioneered by Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief strategist, has claimed that birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. And so on.

Women still suffer from society’s expectations:

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Lorely Burt writes: We can’t call ourselves a democracy when men monopolise public life

The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is ‘Be Bold for Change’ – this got me thinking about how we, as Liberal Democrats, can do our bit to help forge a better and more gender equal world. Of course, as a party we have already taken a great leap forward for the future to make sure we reflect the diversity of the country with the ‘Electing Diverse MPs’ motion passed almost a year ago. But as individuals what can we do to make sure that more women get involved and active in the party at every level?

It was less than six months ago that we, both men and women pulling together, managed to get Sarah Olney elected to Parliament. Like many of you there was a defining moment that made her join the Liberal Democrats and get stuck in, but we have to remember that not all women will put themselves forward like that and some may need more encouragement than others. We all have a responsibility to reach out to those women we think would make great Liberal Democrat elected representatives, and let’s face it we can all think of one or two. The evidence is clear – if a woman is approached to stand then she is most likely to consider it.

Change will not happen overnight, it will take all our efforts to make these incremental changes. Let us never be complacent, as this year’s theme reminds us – we must be bold. We are a country that prides itself on being progressive and inclusive – yet Parliament, our country’s highest decision-making body, is only 30% female.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

LibLink: Jo Swinson: The media’s reporting of the Child’s Review sums up why we are still light years from equality

Recently Jo Swinson commented on the media coverage of the Childs Review, a report which made a number of recommendations about how the diversity of Parliament could be improved. The reporting put a huge emphasis on breastfeeding in the Chamber despite this having barely been mentioned in passing.

She wrote this for the Huffington Post:

None of these 43 recommendations are about breastfeeding. The word ‘breast’ is mentioned just twice in the body of the report, in a sub-section under recommendation 12 on page 21, which covers the need for a clear policy on maternity, paternity, parental,

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

Embrace feminism, says Justin Trudeau. Lib Dems could learn from that.

It seems that every day there’s a new reason to admire Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Guardian has a report of a panel session in Davos where he said that everyone should embrace feminism. He said that a more diverse team makes better decisions in both politics and business.

I particularly liked the clip in the video in which he said that his wife had reminded him that he not only had to encourage his daughter into taking leadership roles, but also to talk to his sons about treating women properly.

He also said that he thinks there will be as big changes in attitudes to equality in the next 20 years as there has been in the last 40.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 34 Comments

Opinion: Let’s look at the harm caused by Page 3

Given that Page 3 wasn’t in The Sun this week, it sure took up a lot of media space, especially among Lib Dems. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that loads of us want to wade into a fight that was framed as free speech and sexual expression vs gender equality and quality news reporting. But that’s not actually what’s going on at all: so here is a rundown of what Page 3 is, and why it’s harmful.

Page 3 is normalising objectification of women. The Sun makes printing nude women for the sole purpose of titillation in a national newspaper, which would otherwise be totally weird, normal. Images of nude women and breasts are perfectly normal and widely available in a sexual context (see, 80% of the internet), but a daily national newspaper is not the place for it, because it’s supposed to be for news. “Women have breasts” is pretty much the oldest story there is. Unless, like my mother, your breasts make it into the paper because they are testing the new mammogram machine at your local hospital they don’t need to be in there. If the Guardian decided to swap Polly Toynbee for a massive naked man next week, I’d find that equally inappropriate, because quality reporting is not about getting your rocks off (unless you have a particular fetish for bad photos of Ed Milliband).

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 61 Comments

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