Renfrewshire Council

Sex equality

Significant legislative changes have been introduced to ensure equality for both genders since the 1970s.

The Equal Pay Act 1970 (Amended) gives an individual the right to the same contractual pay and benefits as a person of the opposite sex in the same employment, where the man and the woman are doing like work, work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study, or work that is proved to be of equal value.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 makes it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sex. Sex discrimination is unlawful in employment, education, advertising or when providing housing, goods, services or facilities. It is unlawful to discriminate because someone is married, either in employment or in advertisements for jobs.

The Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 seek to prevent sex discrimination relating to gender reassignment. They clarify the law for transsexual people in relation to equal pay and treatment in employment and training.

The purpose of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is to provide transsexual people with legal recognition in their acquired gender. Legal recognition follows from the issue of a full gender recognition certificate by a gender recognition panel.

All the above legislation has been brought together by the newly introduced Equality Act 2010 and placed a legal responsibility on public authorities to eliminate discrimination and harassment and promote equality of opportunity between men and women.

This duty applies to Renfrewshire Council in all of its functions, including policy-making, service provision and employment matters. It also applies to services and functions which are contracted out.

As part of the duty, public authorities are required to take action to eliminate harassment, discrimination in employment and vocational training, for people undergoing gender reassignment.

Also, the new Act has specifically clarified that it is unlawful to discriminate against a woman because she is breastfeeding. This means that any service, goods or facilities provider need to allow women to breastfeed if they wish to do so.

Violence against women is a very serious issue. It damages the lives of women and children. Domestic violence is the biggest killer of women aged 19 to 44 across the world - greater than war, cancer or traffic accidents.

Violence against women is a consequence of continuing inequality between men and women, and it is also a barrier to achieving equality. Renfrewshire Council sees tackling violence against women as essential in meeting the gender equality.