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House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee – Women in the Workplace

First Report of Session 2013–14. “In a Report published today, the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee calls on the Government to do more to tackle female under-representation in certain sectors of the economy.  As well as addressing the worrying lack of comprehensive careers advice, the Government should set targets for encouraging women into apprenticeship sectors where they are currently under-represented, says the Report.  The Committee also urges the Government to take concerted action to improve female representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Employees should be entitled to ask for flexible working from the outset, not only after they have been in a job for six months, says the Report.  Additionally, the Government should establish a voluntary Code of Practice to highlight best practice in the provision of quality part-time and flexible working, and must dispel the myth that any type of flexible working is problematic and cannot work.  The Report also urges the Government to reconsider its decisions to introduce fees for pregnancy discrimination cases, and to ‘call time’ on the undertaking of Equality Impact Assessments.  It further recommends that the questionnaire procedures in discrimination cases and the Public Sector Equality Duty should be retained in their current forms.  The Committee notes that Government policy in these areas runs counter to its professed commitment to equality.”

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