Oxfam report – An economy for the 99%

Oxfam

Oxfam published a report on income inequality, ‘An economy for the 99%,’ in January 2017.  The report noted that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world.

Oxfam provided a blueprint for an alternative economic model, in which:

  • Governments work for the 99%;
  • Governments cooperate, not just compete;
  • Companies work for the benefit of everyone;
  • Extreme concentration of wealth is ended, to end extreme poverty;
  • The economy works equally for men and women;
  • Technology will be harnessed for the interests of the 99%;
  • The economy is powered by sustainable renewable energy; and,
  • We value and measure what really matters.

Download a summary, a methodology note, or the full report.

Modern Families Index 2017

Working Families

Working Families and Bright Horizons published their 2017 Modern Families Index in January 2017. The report captures a broad picture of fathers wanting to take an active part in childcare and of workplaces failing to adapt and support their aspirations.

The report found that quarter of fathers that took part in the study drop their children at school or nursery every day; with just over a quarter (26%) collecting them more than half the time.

Furthermore the report found that seven out of ten fathers work flexibly to fulfil their caring responsibilities. However, for half of the fathers spoken to, their work-life balance is increasingly a source of stress.  A third of fathers feel burnt out regularly and one in five fathers are doing extra hours in the evening or weekends all the time.

In addition to the report the organisations have produced a summary.

The Women and Equalities Committee launched an enquiry, ‘Are fathers being failed in the workplace?‘, resulting from this report as well as their previous findings when researching the gender pay gap.

LSE report – Confronting Gender Inequality in Uncertain Times

London School of Economics LSE

The London School of Economics (LSE) Gender, Inequality and Power Commission published an update to their 2015 report on gender inequality in January 2017.  The report, ‘Confronting Gender Inequality in Uncertain Times,’ focused on developments in economy, politics, law and media.

Five recommendations were made:

  1. Gender sensitive macroeconomic policies;
  2. Adequate provision of monitoring and training via gender analysis, audits and budgets;
  3. Quotas and targets to ensure more balanced representation in decision-making: “the burden of the argument should now shift from the under-representation of women to the unjustifiable over-representation of men”;
  4. Policies to end the gender pay gap; and
  5. Policies to recognise, support and finance care work.

Read responses to the original report.

Department of Health report – Preventing suicide in England

The Houses of Parliament logo.

The Department of Health published their third progress report of the suicide prevention strategy in England in January 2017.  This report noted that addressing suicide and its prevention is a key part of Government’s ambition  to tackle the inequalities caused by poor mental health.

The report addressed recommendations made by the Health Select Committee (HSC) inquiry into suicide prevention, and updated the 2012 strategy in 5 main areas:

  • expanding the strategy to include self-harm prevention in its own right;
  • every local area to produce a multi-agency suicide prevention plan;
  • improving suicide bereavement support in order to develop support services;
  • better targeting of suicide prevention and help seeking in high risk groups; and
  • improve data at both the national and local levels.

These updates are intended to meet the recommendations of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health relevant to suicide prevention: to reduce the number of suicides by 10% by the year ending March 2021 and for every local area to have a multi-agency suicide prevention plan in place by the end of 2017.

WEC Report – Women in the House of Commons after the 2020 election

The House of Commons logo.

The Women and Equalities Committee (WEC) produced a report on women in the House of Commons after the 2020 election in January 2017.  This report argued that “the under-representation of women MPs does not only represent a serious democratic deficit; it also means that the UK is missing out on the benefits of having gender balance in its highest decision-making body.”

The Committee noted that only 30% of sitting MPs are women, and that “The UK ranks only 48th globally for representation of women in the lower or single legislative chamber, having fallen from 25th place in 1999.”

Recommendations included:

  • The Government should set a domestic target of 45% for representation of women in Parliament and local government by 2030 in response to the UN indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 5.5.
  • The Government should seek to introduce in legislation a statutory minimum proportion of female parliamentary candidates in general elections for each political party, a 45% minimum.
  • Parties that fail to comply with this target need to face sanctions for the quota to be effective. The Government should consider a range of possible sanctions.
  • The Government should immediately bring into force the statutory requirement for political parties to publish their parliamentary candidate diversity data for general elections, as set out in Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010.
  • The Government should bring forward legislative proposals to empower the Electoral Commission to collect and host this diversity data, to ensure consistency and transparency from political parties.

Read a summary, conclusions and recommendations, or the full report.

 

 

 

 

Cloisters column part one – ‘To pee or not to pee….? Toilets and Gender Identity’

Cloisters

Cloisters: Equality and Human Rights in Practice

This is part one of a two-part series on trans rights from leading equality and human rights barristers at Cloisters. Part one explores gender identity and children.  

It has been an important couple of years for trans rights.

Going to the toilet is something most of us do without a second thought (unless we have a disability).  Yet, for many trans people, using a public toilet carries a heightened risk of discrimination, harassment and even assault.  Some don’t feel safe to use public toilets at all.

The toilet has, in fact, become a key battleground for trans rights – particularly in the US.

Cases in the US

Indeed, North Carolina’s incumbent governor, Republican Pat McCrory, lost his bid for re-election on 8 November 2016 to State Attorney-General Roy Cooper, a Democrat.  By all accounts, Pat McCrory should have had the election in the bag; but McCrory, an otherwise successful governor, had become the face of one of America’s most controversial pieces of legislation to pass last year: House Bill 2.  In his campaign, Roy Cooper (now Governor Cooper) vowed to work with the legislature to repeal this law.

Formally called the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, House Bill 2 requires individuals to use toilets and changing facilities in schools, public universities, and other government buildings based on the gender listed on their birth certificates. Because of its nature, the measure became known as “the Bathroom Bill.”

State legislators pushed for the Bathroom Bill in response to the City of Charlotte passing an Ordinance allowing trans people to use toilets according to their gender identity. The Bill was described as a measure to prevent sexual predators preying on public toilet users!  But, with no evidence that such a threat even exists, the Bill plays on the stigma surrounding trans people and many believe that it places the trans community in danger of assault themselves.

The financial impact of the Bathroom Bill became one of the main talking points in the governorship election. Democrats claimed the measure cost $500 million in lost business, with the likes of the NBA, PayPal, Deutsche Bank and Google Ventures all pulling their business from the State.

In response to the State’s Bathroom Bill, U.S. Attorney-General Loretta Lynch threatened to withhold public education funds from North Carolina schools, stating that the law violated Title IX (of the Civil Rights Act), which bans discrimination based on sex.

After that, McCrory went on the offensive, filing a lawsuit against the federal government, arguing that the Obama administration had no right to tell public schools in North Carolina who could and could not use girls’ toilets.  The federal government countersued, and since then, the debate over how to balance the needs of trans students with the safety and privacy concerns allegedly expressed by parents and the student body has only grown.

Across the country, more than a dozen lawsuits are now in play and, later in 2017, the Supreme Court is due to tackle the issue in a case concerning a Virginia public school district trying to prevent a 17 year old trans male student (Gavin Grimm) from using the boys’ toilets in his school.

Cases in the UK

The issue of access to single-sex toilets has also been considered closer to home.  In 2014, a trans woman (Susan Brook) won her discrimination and victimisation claim in Halifax County Court against a pub which had refused to permit her to use the ladies’ toilet and, when she stood up for her rights, it barred her from the pub.

In May 2016, a trans woman (Erin Bisson) in Jersey won her claim against Condor Ferries for discrimination after a member of staff told her that she should use the disabled toilet.  Indeed, this decision was the first by the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal in Jersey since the island had passed new gender discrimination laws in September 2015 (prohibiting discrimination because of sex, gender reassignment or intersex).

Universities, schools and other venues have increasingly made provision for gender neutral toilets to ensure that facilities are accessible to all.

You can also read this article as a PDF, or read more articles from Cloisters.

LGBT Consortium 2016 Impact Report

LGBT Consortium

The LGBT Consortium published their third annual impact report, Impact 2016, in January 2017. The report explores the impact of the organisation as well as the impact of the Consortium’s members. The report finds that over four million LGBT people and their families, friends and allies have benefited from the work carried out by members of the Consortium across the UK.

MHT Report and Government Response – The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health

The logo for the NHS

The independent Mental Health Taskforce (MHT) produced an overview of what modern mental health services should be for the NHS in England in February 2016.  This report made recommendations for the six NHS arm’s length bodies to achieve parity of esteem between mental and physical health, recommendations where wider action was needed and focused on tackling inequalities.

The Government responded in January 2017, and accepted the taskforce’s 58 recommendations in full.

The Prime Minister announced additional plans to make progress in relation to children and young people, employment, access to services, and righting the injustices people with mental health problems face:  “because if we are to tackle the issues that many with mental health problems face, we must look beyond the NHS to schools, our universities, our workplaces and in our communities – and look to prevent mental illness in the first place.”

NHS England’s response to their recommendations can be found in Implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

Social Mobility Commission Report – Ethnicity, Gender and Social Mobility

The HM Government logo.

The Social Mobility Commission (SMC) published a report on ethnicity, gender and social mobility in December 2016.  The report provided an analysis of the effect gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status have on life chances in the education system and labour market.

Key findings include:

  • a White British vulnerability to school underperformance;
  • a Black penalty in secondary and higher education;
  • a broken mobility promise for Asian Muslims, particularly women; and
  • female underperformance in STEM subjects.

Recommendations for government, universities, schools and early years providers were made to address the barriers faced by certain groups in society, including:

  • schools should involve and work with parents, particularly those from groups that are least likely to engage in their children’s education, such as poor white British and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) groups;
  • schools should avoid setting pupils by ability, particularly at primary level, and government should discourage schools from doing so;
  • schools, universities and employers should provide targeted support to ensure Muslim women are able to achieve their career ambitions and progress in the workplace;
  • universities should implement widening participation initiatives that are tailored to the issues faced by poor white British students and address worrying drop-out and low achievement rates amongst black students.

Download a copy of the report, or read the SMC press release.

Votes for Women, First Mass Petition for Women’s Suffrage – Interactive Teaching Resource

The House of Commons logo.

Parliament’s Education Service produced an interactive teaching resource on the first mass petition for women’s suffrage in January 2017.  The resource explores the first mass petition for women’s right to vote, now widely accepted amongst historians as the start of the organised campaign.

The resource incorporates key curriculum themes for citizenship:  the role of citizens in the development of our political system; the operation of Parliament in law‐making; and the significance of petitions in bringing about change.

Key curriculum themes for the teaching of history are also covered. The resource focuses on the original petition document to develop students’ source analysis skills and provides context for learning about women’s rights in 19th century Britain.

Downloadable worksheets for each region across the UK provide a local focus, and teachers notes are included.