Today various bits of the Equality Act 2010 come into force. This combines and extends nine different bits of legislation into one act, so that they are all considered equally and there is no longer any difference in wording between them. Overall I think this is a good thing, and will ensure equal footing for all. As a newly married young woman (how pretentious does that sound, but it’s the best way I could think of to describe myself!) I think that the best way to help ensure gender equality would be to make maternity and paternity leave more equivalent. That way there is less impact on employers when a member of staff is preganant as it is more equally shared between both parents. And so (hopefully) there will be less subconcious discrimination against women who may have children.
The other interesting thing from this bill that is now in force is that you can’t ask any questions when recruiting about health or disability (except where reasonable adjustments need to be made for the interview process) – this includes asking referees for an individual’s sickness record. While I can see how this is beneficial to stop discrimination where there is a real health issue, from a management point of view lots of short sickness absences can be a warning flag of other problems that are not health related at all!