Blog by Chief Commissioner Geraldine McGahey
Writing in her latest blog, Chief Commissioner Geraldine McGahey, marks International Women's Day 2023.
Let’s support our pregnant employees and those on maternity leave and eradicate sex discrimination at work
Every year the Equality Commission supports and celebrates ‘International Women’s Day’. It is a dedicated date in our annual calendar when we mark the achievements of women across our society, reflect how far we have come and remind ourselves just how far we still have to go to achieve equality for women here.
We know that things have improved significantly for women including in employment. It seems ludicrous to think that, in my lifetime, the so-called ‘marriage bar’ in the Civil Service and local government, meant that many women had to leave their job when they got married. There is no doubt that the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Order in July 1976 offered much needed protections and changed the situation for women for the better.
But here we are, more than 45 years later, and sex discrimination complaints to the Commission consistently account for over 1 in 4 of all complaints we receive and 27% of those are about potential pregnancy and maternity discrimination.