The Woman and Equality Unit has published its consultation document
in respect of Part 3 of the Equality Bill which introduces a general
duty on public authorities to promote gender equality. The Equal
Opportunities Commission has proclaimed this duty to be "the most
important and exciting change to sex discrimination law for thirty
years – a real chance to change the climate and culture in which
policies are made."

The Government proposes three main duties on public authorities
being: the duty to draw up, consult, monitor and report on gender
equality goals and schemes; the duty to develop, publish and review a
policy on developing equal pay arrangements between men and women and
the duty to conduct, publish and consult on gender impact assessments.

It is hoped that the gender duty will come into effect in April 2007.

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