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Click here for our Insight into Sex Discrimination in Employment.
Equality between men and women is an age old battle, but one which has ramped up significantly in recent years when it comes to workplace rights.
The #metoo movement prompted a huge increase in the discussion and awareness of discrimination issues at work. Emma Watson has helped launch a free telephone advice line for women who have experienced sexual harassment at work and the Government is consulting about whether the legal system is doing enough to protect those in the workplace from sexual harassment.
The requirement for businesses to report on their gender pay gaps seemed toothless at first, but formal investigations launched by the Equality and Human Rights Commission led to 100% compliance. The Government has been focusing on increasing family friendly rights, such as greater protection for mothers returning to work, aimed to further reduce inequality in the workplace.
But perhaps some efforts towards equality go too far. Hasbro has just launched Ms Monopoly in the US – an attempt to focus on the achievements of women and show that they can be just as successful in business as men. A woman has replaced Mr Monopoly as the face of the game (he lurks in the background) and instead of property investment, players buy inventions brought to us by women – like wifi and solar heating. This sounds like a positive message, doesn’t it? What about the rule that when a female player passes go they get $240, a male player receives only $200. That doesn’t sound like equality to me.
Ultimately there is a lot more to combating sex discrimination at work than the media worthy stories. Understanding the basic legal position (think direct, indirect, harassment and victimisation) is key for any business who wants to support its workforce whilst protecting its interests.