Women and Equalities Committee report on workplace pregnancy discrimination and Government response

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The Women and Equalities Committee published its report on Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in August 2016, calling for UK women to have protections similar to those in Germany after a “shocking” increase in workplace pregnancy discrimination over the past decade.

In January 2017 the Government responded to the report. Margot James MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, said: “Treating pregnant women and working mothers fairly is not only good for families and society as a whole: it makes good business sense and is important for economic growth. Attracting, recruiting and retaining working mothers contributes to the success of any business and should be a priority for all employers.”

Background information:
In March 2016, the Women and Equalities Select Committee launched an inquiry to ask why pregnancy and maternity discrimination has worsened over the past decade.

The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index for 2017

The Prince’s Trust published their Macquarie Youth Index in January 2017; reporting that young people’s happiness and wellbeing were at their lowest levels since the study was first commissioned in 2009.

The report noted:


  • More than a quarter of young people do not feel in control of their lives;
  • A third of young people do not feel in control of their job prospects;
  • More than one in ten think their life will amount to nothing, no matter how hard they try;
  • A fifth of young people do not think they have the ability to change their circumstances if they want to;
  • The situation is even worse for NEET young people, who are more likely to feel worried about their circumstances and future;
  • 34 per cent of young people think they will have a worse standard of living than their parents; and
  • 42 per cent of young people feel traditional goals like owning a house or getting a steady job are unrealistic.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2017

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Human Rights Watch released their World Report 2017 in January 2017. The report summarises key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide. It reflects investigative work that Human Rights Watch staff undertook in 2016, usually in close partnership with human rights activists in the country in focus.

House of Commons Library debate pack on protecting civil society space across the world

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The House of Commons published a debate pack on protecting civil society space across the world in January 2017. The pack was prepared ahead of the debate on ‘Protecting civil society space across the world’, to be held on Thursday 26 January. The subject for the debate has been chosen by the Backbench Business Committee, following a representation by Jim Shannon, Fiona Bruce and Patrick Grady.

APPG on Social Mobility report – The Class Ceiling: Increasing Access to the Leading Professions

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility published their report ‘The class ceiling: Increasing access to the leading professions‘ in January 2017.

This report summarised the APPG’s inquiry on access into leading professions, which explored how to increase access to professions such as law by people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The APPG recommended that:

  • A strategic approach to social mobility should be developed;
  • Financial barriers to accessing the professions should be minimised;
  • Recruitment practices should be fair and transparent;
  • Careers advice for young people needs to be significantly improved; and
  • Schools should encourage pupils to develop skills beyond their core curriculum that are keenly sought after by employers.

Read the full report, or a press release from the Sutton Trust.


Fawcett Society – Sounds Familiar? report

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The Fawcett Society produced a report, ‘Sounds Familiar?‘ on the particular challenges faced by young women in society in January 2017.

The report noted that younger women felt more empowered to stand up for their rights and were more likely to be university educated than in previous generations.  But pervasive gender norms, stereotypes, persistent harassment, and lad culture were holding young women back.

New analysis of national survey data revealed that some groups of younger men (those aged 18-24 and 25-34), in particular, were more likely to hold hostile or negative views towards equality.

TUC workplace racism survey

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The Trades Union Congress launched a survey into Racism at Work in January 2017. Racism at Work can take many forms, from facing racial harassment at a work to being denied access to promotion or training. The TUC is asking non-unionised as well as unionised workers to complete the survey. They are also keen to hear from anyone who has witnessed any form of racial harassment or discrimination.