Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Gender: EOC Leaves a Vacuum

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Gender: EOC Leaves a Vacuum

Article excerpt

On 24 July, the Equal Opportunities Commission aimed its parting shot, Completing the Revolution, at an uncaring world. This is the EOC's final report before it is subsumed into the all-encompassing Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) as of 1 October. The new commission will also swallow up the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission.

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Set up in 1975 with the aim of "eliminating discrimination", the EOC has always been rather good at using cold, hard figures as ammunition in the gender wars--a subject that the mainstream media now tend to regard as tired and boring. The EOC has often been a lone voice reminding us of statistics we would rather ignore. In this vein, Completing the Revolution is a fantastic swansong. Just when you thought all that women's business was done and dusted, here's another sledgehammer blow for any society with a conscience.

The conclusions are so major they are scary. At the current rate of progress, it will take 65 years for there to be equal numbers of men and women in top jobs with FTSE-100 companies. The pensions gap will take 45 years to neutralise. The full-time workers' pay gap between men and women will take 20 years to close, the part-timers' gap 25 years. It will take another 200 years for there to be equal numbers in parliament. I repeat: 200 years. So much for the era of "post"-feminism.

The report concludes that there is one area where progress is so close to zero that the gap will never close. …

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