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Formerly known as BAME Recruitment

10 Mar 2023

Diversity Lens - Issue 165

Does International Women's Day have to be wrapped up in capitalism? Is it about the 'aesthetic' more than anything else? This is what I've been asking myself this week whilst being bombarded with businesses posting floral embossed odes to their female employees, and a litany of themed sales emails. The most eye-raising one I received was from a car company applauding the women use their services, what was yours? It is clear most of this messaging is designed to fill a quota, to tick off a marketing checklist. But I believe they can be served by more authentic means.

In this column from Nilanjana Bhowmick, she hits the nail on the head: We don’t need discount vouchers for International Women’s Day. We need equal rights.
Meanwhile, the gender pay gap bot is doing the meaningful work. Check it out!



"Women Are the Shock Absorbers of the Cost of Living Crisis. They Need Our Help"

 Angela Rayner

We tend to think the movement for women's equality is steadily moving in a forward trajectory. However, there are a growing number of indicators that this might no longer be the case.

The UK is consistently falling down the international league table for women in work.
This year we have dropped five places to just 14th on the list which measures women’s employment outcomes. Moreover the gender pay gap has widened by 2.4%. Angela Rayner identifies some of the key factors for this reversal in gender equity: the cost of living crisis, parental and caring duties, and lack of menopause support.

As "shock absorbers" of the cost of living crisis, Rayner argues, women are the first to go without food, heating, and clothing in order to provide for their loved ones first. When you consider that women occupy 69% of low-paid and insecure jobs, the disproportionate effect of the squeeze is clear.

The government have recently scrapped plans to further protect pregnancy and maternity discrimination, as well as extended parental leave for neonatal care. Rayner, who cared for her mother from age 10 and became a parent at 16, is acutely aware of the precarious position women at work now occupy.



Charity Boss at Centre of Royal Race Row Steps Down Over Abuse

Ngozi Fulani, the founder of Sistah Space, a UK organisation that supports African and Caribbean women who have experienced domestic abuse, has temporarily resigned and said that Buckingham Palace didn't help her after a race row. In November 2021, the late Queen's lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, repeatedly asked Fulani where she "really came from" at a reception at the palace to talk about violence against women. Hussey immediately stepped down from her honorary role, and later apologised in person to Fulani during a meeting at Buckingham Palace in December. However, Fulani claims the charity has suffered due to the incident, and the palace has not intervened with any support. Buckingham Palace reiterated its apology.

Campaign Calls For Gender Apartheid to be Crime Under International Law

A group of Afghan and Iranian women are urging international law to recognise gender apartheid as a crime. In an open letter, they claim that current laws prohibiting discrimination against women do not cover the institutionalised practises that lower women's status in societies like Iran and Afghanistan. International law recognises apartheid as a crime, but it only pertains to racial, not gender, groups. The letter's authors, who include international lawyers, contend that Afghanistan and Iran do not fit the legal definition of apartheid as a crime against humanity. This campaign aims to increase the range of tools available to mobilise global action against and ultimately put an end to gender apartheid.

Suzy Eddie Izzard Has Wanted to Use Her New Name Since Age 10

Eddie Izzard will now also go by the name Suzy. The comedian came out as trans in the 80s and started using she/her pronouns in 2019, but has wanted to be called Suzy since she was a child. Izzard says “people can choose what they want” with regards to her name and pronouns during a recent recording of The Political Party podcast. As well as opening up about her gender identity journey, Suzy shared her intention to continue her bid to be an MP in Sheffield, after she was unsuccessful last year.

EU Tells UK Its Asylum Plan “Violates International Law”

Ylva Johansson, European Home Affair’s Commissioner, has warned Home Secretary Suella Braverman that she thinks the Illegal Migration Bill is violating international law. This is the latest backlash to the bill, the aim of which is to make it easier to detain and deport people arriving in the country illegally. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) have said the bill would amount to an “asylum ban." Braverman has disagreed with the commissioner and “asked her to read the detail of the bill once it was published” and PM Rishi Sunak has defended the policy, saying that “stopping the boats is not just my priority, it’s the people’s priority.” 



Black Coaches Being Denied Career Progression by ‘Broken Rungs’ in System, Study Finds

The Black Football Partnership (BFP), which is made up of current and former professional footballers, has put out its annual report. In it, they talk about how racism in the game needs to be dealt with more seriously. The report calls on the FA to do more to address the underrepresentation of black captains, coaches, officials, and administrators in football. The BFP also draws attention to the lack of diversity in football media, where black professionals are frequently left out of roles as commentators and pundits. The BFP seek to address the structural problems that contribute to racial discrimination and promote racial equality within the sport.

French Firms Prioritising Gender Equality Also Reap Higher Return

According to a recent study, French businesses that value gender equality are more likely to prosper financially. The study looked at data from more than 500 French companies and found that those with more women on their leadership teams did better in terms of profit and stock price than those without. The study also emphasised the value of having a diverse leadership team because it was discovered that businesses with both gender and nationality diversity performed even better.
France have recently introduced a mandatory gender equality criteria which, if failed, excludes companies access to public contracts.

Lack of Affordable Childcare Forcing UK Women Out of Work

PwC’s annual women in work index reveals that rising childcare costs are forcing many women out of work in the UK. In 2021, childcare costs were shown to be up to a third of the income of a UK family on an average wage. In comparion, childcare costs in Germany sit at an average 1% of household income.

The UK gender pay gap also became wider in 2021 by 2.4% taking it to 14.4%. According to Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC, this increase would mean a woman entering the workforce now at 18 years of age would not see pay equality in her working lifetime. PwC suggested that fathers being able to take more time off after childbirth could allow up to 730,000 women to remain in full time employment, over a 20-year analysis period.

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