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Help the Fawcett Society’s legal review

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Fawcett Society, law review, Post-Brexit UK, individuals can helpWe have an ambitious vision: to make the UK the best place to be a woman.

Could you provide evidence on the subject of ‘violence against women and girls; harassment – including on the internet and social media; hate crime and its limits’?

The Fawcett Society has launched a major review of the UK’s sex discrimination laws in response to the risk that long-established rights could be eroded or weakened as a result of Brexit and the UK leaving the EU single market.

The review will consider the effectiveness of the law to date in addressing gender inequality, including access to justice.

It will also identify gaps in protections for women and recommend how those gaps could be addressed. In particular, the following:

Employment law and discrimination including pregnancy discrimination, sexist dress codes, equal pay including pension provision;

The application of the definition of indirect discrimination;

Family friendly rights for parents and carers including possible consolidation;

Harassment including on the internet and social media;

Hate crime and its limits;

Multiple discrimination, particularly intersectional discrimination and whether Section 14 of the Equality Act 2010 in its current form is sufficient;

Public sector equality duty and specific duties; and

The balance of individual rights vs the responsibility of the organisation to promote equality.

The Equality Act 2010 was largely an amalgamation of pre-existing equality legislation.

Some of the newer provisions were not enacted at the time and have either only recently been enacted (Section 78) or are still awaiting commencement (e.g. Section 14: dual discrimination).

There is also concern that individuals are unable to bring discrimination claims, deterred by Employment Tribunal fees and time limits.

The questions The Fawcett Society is asking are:

What are the rights you want to protect?

Where are the gaps in our legislative framework?

What works well now? What doesn’t work well?

What do we need to put in place for the future?

The Fawcett Society also wants to hear from individuals who have experienced discrimination or harassment; has the law worked for you?

The Sex Discrimination Law Review will be headed by Dame Laura Cox DBE, a retired High Court Justice, and co-ordinated by equality law expert Gay Moon.

Panel members include a number of leading QCs and equality law experts.

The Fawcett Society want to gather a wide range of evidence and so is inviting individuals, organisations, legal experts, employers and trade unions with particular expertise to submit written evidence ahead of each panel session.

All written evidence submissions should be sent to lawreview@fawcettsociety.org.uk by 16 May 2017.

Commenting, Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “The Prime Minister has made the welcome commitment that she wants the UK to be a fairer place, that she will not only protect workers’ rights but build on them.

“We share that goal. We have an ambitious vision, to make the UK the best place to be a woman.

“But to achieve that we need to create a legislative framework fit for the 21st century. One that genuinely protects the rights of the individual – rights that they can exercise by giving them access to justice – and promotes equality.

“The PM has also made clear that if necessary she will take the UK down a low tax low regulation path. That can only mean us turning the clock back on women’s rights and we cannot allow that to happen.”

“What we need,” Smethers added, “is a framework which gets the balance right between the rights of the individual and the responsibilities of the organisation. At the moment I think we are failing on both counts so things need to change.”

Find out more about the Sex Discrimination Law Review and how you can submit evidence here.

Check out the Fawcett Society’s #FaceHerFuture campaign and help protect women’s rights in a post-Brexit UK.

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