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Gender equality 'generations away'

Date 24 Jul 2007
Author The Editor

Gender equality is still generations away, with men and women suffering huge gaps in pay, health, pensions and levels of safety, according to a new report by the Equal Opportunities Commission. It says women are still in a minority in Parliament and in company boardrooms, generally receive less pay and pensions and still do most of the housework.

The commission estimates it will take 45 years for women to receive similar pensions to men and 200 years for the "power gap" in Parliament to close. It notes Britons have dramatically transformed their lives in the past 30 years, with more parents sharing childcare and women and men working more flexibly. But many workplaces, institutions and services are still designed for an age when women stayed at home, which creates a barrier to equality, it adds.

Jenny Watson, EOC chairman, said: "These startling indicators suggest that the reality of far too many men’s and women’s lives is out of step with their aspirations. We're living in the midst of an unfinished social revolution. Today, most women work, many men no longer define themselves as breadwinners and both sexes often struggle to find the time they need to care for others in their lives.

"Despite the many advances over recent years, Britain's institutions have not caught up with these changes. "At the current pace of change, it will take generations for the unfinished revolution to be completed and for equality for women and men to be achieved. Britain can not wait this long. That's why the EOC is today launching a campaign for concrete change in five key areas for women and men over the next ten years, transforming our workplaces, services and communities."

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