Socialist Worker

Inequality still reigns supreme in modern Britain

Issue No. 2041

Three reports released last week revealed the gender and racial discrimination that prevents people getting jobs in Britain.

Women with young children suffer the worst discrimination at work, with “intolerable levels” of inequality in British society, a government produced report said.

The equalities review, ordered by Tony Blair, shows entrenched inequalities holding back working mothers, the disabled and ethnic groups.

The Fawcett Society study, Fairness And Freedom, found that women with young children were the most discriminated against group at work – a mother with a child under the age of 11 was 45 percent less likely to be employed than a man.

Their stories are backed up by a survey from The Women and Work Commission.

They questioned 122 recruitment agencies and found that more than 70 percent had been asked by clients to avoid hiring pregnant women or even those of childbearing age.

Dr Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society, said, “The report highlights that, of all groups, mothers experience the most discrimination in the labour market.

“This explodes the myth that today’s women have it all.”

Another report, Persistent Employment Disadvantage, produced by the department of trade and industry shows that racism still prevents people from gaining work.

It used analysis of people from 20 to 59 years of age.

Some minority groups, particularly people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin, have very low employment rates. This is especially true for Bangladeshi and Pakistani women.

This has not changed much during the last 30 years. Unemployed Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are also much less likely to re-enter employment when unemployed than other non-employed women.

The report said, “Three groups stand out with particularly large employment penalties – mothers, disabled people and Muslim women.

“Of all social groups it is only disabled people who are equally as unlikely to move into employment as Muslim women.”


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Sat 10 Mar 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2041
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