Government action on gender inequalities

Visual to show the  nine characteristics protected by the Equality Act.

The Equal Pay Act and the Sex Discrimination Act did not succeed in creating complete gender equality. So, in 2010 the UK Government passed the Equality Act. Under the Equality Act it is unlawful to discriminate (treat less favourably) anyone directly or indirectly because of a ‘protected characteristic’ of which there are nine:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race, colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins
  • religion or belief (including lack of belief)
  • gender
  • sexual orientation

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

The EHRC has the job of protecting and promoting human rights and equality and tries to make sure that the Equality Act is understood by employers and the public at large. It is unlawful to pay someone less for doing the same job on the basis of their gender and to treat someone less favourably at work or in society because of their gender.

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