New Gender Equality Duty
Promoting Equality: Aberdeenshire Council
UNISON has taken part in Aberdeenshire Council's Gender Equality
Scheme Development Group which was charged with developing a Gender
Equality Scheme that meets the requirements of the new Gender
Equality Duty. This came into force on 29th June 2007, put back
from the original date of 7th April.
The council's scheme was put out for consultation on Arcadia and
lotus notes and members had until 15th June to make comment.
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair was the UNISON representative on the
group. "The Duty puts a big responsibility on the council to
make sure that its working practices and the services it provides
are free from discrimination and gender bias and ensure equal opportunity
for men and women. The council must publish an action plan which
should be reviewed every 3 years, setting out how they will do this,"
"UNISON is committed to equal opportunities and is pleased
to take part in the development group. It is important that the
scheme delivers genuine improvements in gender equality within the
council and in the services it provides."
The group consulted with staff and service users on what the council
can do to get rid of harrassment and discrimination on the grounds
of gender and how it can promote genuine equality. A questionnaire
was sent out through lotus notes to employees to get their views,
and these now form a basis of the new scheme.
"This was UNISON members opportunity to tell the council of
your experiences as an employee and a service user of Aberdeenshire
Council, and to identify what they can do better to promote gender
equality and to get rid of harrassment and discrimination,"
"It is important to remember that discrimination can be direct
ie when men and women are treated differently, but it can also be
indirect, where men and women are treated the same but this disadvantages
one gender. An example of this could be when all employees are expected
to start work at 5am. This will be more difficult for women with
child care responsibilities. If there is no good reason for such
an early start and flexibility is refused, this is indirect discrimination."
For further information on the Gender Equality Duty go to: