Sunday, August 01, 2010

Can a Government Budget Be Canned for Gender Discrimination?

That's an intriguing issue that may soon be decided in Britain.  The Cameron Conservatives are determined to slash about $16 billion (Cdn) in spending but MPs who approved the measure apparently didn't evaluate who would bear the brunt of those cuts.   A women's movement argues 72% of the cuts impact women exclusively and they're taking the government to court over it.   From The Sunday Observer:

...The Fawcett Society, which believes the plans "risk rolling back women's equality in the UK by a generation", is being represented by barristers from Matrix Chambers, which was co-founded by Cherie Booth, wife of the former prime minister Tony Blair. It follows research that suggested women would shoulder three quarters of the pain inflicted by the budget.

Karon Monaghan QC, one of the country's top equality and discrimination lawyers, will argue that by law MPs should have been able to look at such a study before voting on the budget. If there was any suggestion that moves would discriminate against women, then ministers would have had to take "urgent action" to mitigate the impact.

"This is not something we would do lightly," said Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society. "We are really concerned that the government did not carry out a gender equality assessment and we believe they did not. That is why we are seeking a judicial review."

Britain introduced a gender equality law three years ago that requires an equality impact assessment to be conducted before policy decisions are taken.   Sounds like not such a bad idea to me although the Brits do get carried away with some of this stuff.

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