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The Extent of Gender Equality in the UK

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Gender equality is one of the controversial issues in current society. More women who have more opportunities for study or work can be seen in workplaces or university, whereas sex discrimination is still existing today, for example, sexual harassment in workplaces. This situation lea to ‘METOO’ movement. The movement that women start to report and share their experiences of sexual harassment from the Hollywood in 2017. Many women and men who had suffered use the hashtag ‘METOO’ to show their experiences being sexually harassed and to aim gender equality. (Kavanagh, 2017) According to ÉIRINN, (Gender equality in ireland, n.d.) gender equality means women and men have same rights and opportunities in all of the sectors, gender equality can be measured how many men and women are represented in sectors. However, women did not have right same as men in the past, such as women could not vote and take part in politics in the early 20th century.

To discuss in terms of gender equality, it needs to understand the history of the movement to obtain suffrage for women. The assignment is divided into three parts when it comes to gender equality. Part 1 is composed of the history of suffrage movement with their effort, and changes of British women’s role in the 20th century. There are issues that women face regarding the achievement of gender equality in the politics, industry, such as equal pay, this assignment will explain in part 2. In Part 3 indicates evaluation what institutions such as education, media, and commerce, could do to ensure greater equality in the future in relation to the UK.

History of suffragette movements and impacts

The suffragette movement was one of the significant steps to gender equality in the UK. In the nineteenth century, women did not have any place in politics and they also could not vote. The government considered that women did not need the vote because men would do in politics. Women’s main role was looking after their children and doing house-working. Some suffragettes claimed suffrage for women and created organisation for suffragette movement right of women to vote. These organisations for women’s suffrage emerged in between the 19th century and 20th century to fulfil women could vote for respect as human who has same rights. Part 1 of the assignment will discuss two suffragette movements with their efforts, a transition of British women’s role during World War and what suffragette lead to as achieving.

Many suffragettes made efforts getting right to vote same as men. One of the represent suffragette movement was National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies(NUWSS) that was founded in 1897. The leader was Millicent Fawcett, the NUWSS grew to 50,000 members by 1913. NUWSS was formed middle-class women and men, they protested peaceful methods without violence. Another movement is Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). It was founded in Manchester in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst. WSPU members were composed of only women, WSPU was decided to obtain the rights of women to vote. The slogan of WSPU was ‘Deeds not Words’, they showed their argument from 1912, they used violent in their methods of campaigning such as Law-breaking, violent protesting and hunger strikes as their strategies to show the government, they also printed newspapers that it called ‘Votes for Women’ were sold 20,000 copies per week. (BBC, 2014).

In addition, women showed the possibility that women could replace men during World War. Many men had to go to war as soldiers, therefore, between 1914 and 1918, around two million women had to replace men in diverse parts such as employment, resulting in an increase in the percentages of women in total employment from 24 percent 37 percent between 1914 and 1918. By working instead of men, women proved that they could do that not only looking after children or doing housework but also women can do working of men. These circumstances in the war became to change perspectives of the role of women in the UK. Moreover, by proving that women could work equal to men in the workplace and the arguments for the right to vote were reinforced. (Bourke, 2011)

The end of suffragette efforts, suffragette won the fight for the vote was over as Parliament passed the ‘Representation of the People Act’ in 1918. Therefore, women who over 30 by the WSPU could vote. Although it allowed around 8.5 million women who are over 30 votes, it accounted for only 40 percent of the total population of women in the UK. Many suffragettes still had not thought that is completed right to vote for women, therefore, suffragettes still claimed their completed argument. Finally, the ‘Equal Franchise Act’ passed in 1928 that women who over 21 were able to vote and women achieved to get the same right to vote as men. This law influenced that increase 15 million women were entitled from the government to vote. By passing the ‘Equal Franchise Act’, women rights increased, invented the contraceptive pill also might be a factor of increase women rights. According to Katharina Grimm(Grimm, 2014), Contraceptive pill was one of the great inventions in the 20th century to gender equality. Although, it was able to use in Britain to married women in 1961, and it took a further fifteen years for the pill to become available to single women, In 1971, the pill was introduced in the UK, after the appearance of contraceptive pill influenced birth rate, 47% of babies were born by women under the age of 25 while, in 2008, this percentage had fallen to 25%. The contraceptive pills might give those diverse opportunities for their better lives can work or study in society, to women. Its led to creating new laws ‘Equal Pay 2010’ and ‘Equal Act 2010’ to prevent discrimination and those laws apply into business and political areas.

Suffragette movement made efforts to get right to vote in suffragette organization such as NUWSS and WSPU, protested peaceful or violent methods. Their efforts helped to pass ‘Representation of the People Act’ and ‘Equal Franchise Act’, inventing of the contraceptive pill for providing opportunities for women, led to Equal Act 2010 and Equal Pay 2010 to minimise discrimination.

Efforts of people to gender equality

Nowadays, sex discrimination is still existing in the 21st century. In political or business areas, many women suffer when it comes to sex discrimination such as pay gap and sexual harassment in workplaces. It seems it is necessary to discuss the movement to seek gender equality with what diverse problems women faced today.

Even though women account for more than half of the total population, 42 percent of British workforce and 55 percent of university graduates in the UK, Women were shunned as a representative of political and business area. According to Abigail Player, women account for only 22 percent of MPs, 20 percent of university professors, 6.1 percent of FTSE 100 executive positions, and 3 percent of board chairpersons in the UK. This inequality is still reflected in pay gaps, despite the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1975, when it compares, women commonly less earn £140,000 in their working careers. (Player, 2013) The difference of pay gap between male and female is also one of a good example of sex inequality. According to May Bulman (Bulman, 2018), London shows a huge gender pay gap in the UK, as the average full-time annual pay £53,521 for men and £38,467 for women.

In addition, the case of sexual harassment in workplaces also a serious issue. It shows half of 63 percent of women who are victims had been claimed that they did not report their sexual harassment experiences in terms of sexual harassment at the Radio 5 live survey show.(BBC, 2017) These data show women have underestimated their abilities and they were suffered from gender inequality. However, women begin trying to overcome regarding discrimination, many people start contending these situations they faced in order to aim gender equality. For example, the hashtag ‘METOO’ movement. As I mentioned in the introduction, the hashtag ‘METOO” movement started from Alyssa Milano in 2017 to show their sexual harassment and to get gender equality, the hashtag ‘METOO’ movement encourage and help to show other similar experiences of other women. Women who have been harassed, share and report their experiences by doing ‘METOO’ movement.

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However, there are many changes today. In 2015 General Election, three of political parties Conservatives, Labour, and the SNP parties indicate the rise in the number and percent of women MPs elected. Labour party keeps leading on women’s representation at Westminster, with 99 women elected in 2015. It means a woman may occupy bigger percent in MPs. With regard to the current circumstances make diverse gender discrimination. On the other hand, to reduce and alleviate unequal pay gap, ‘Equality Act 2010’ have applied as a law in October 2010. The ‘Equality Act 2010’ gives women a right to equal pay for equal work and it helped to minimise and eliminate regulation regarding unequal pay between man and woman. It seems to support gender equality by applying the law or changing perspectives of people when it comes to the role of women. (Portal, Equal Pay, 2017)

In short, women do not have enough places in political and business areas today, whereas, people do not endure anymore their unfair regarding gender. Government and people, who faced inequality start to support gender equality, by applying ‘Equality Act 2010’ and sharing their experiences regarding sexual harassment as ‘METOO’ movement. It might mean people start to notice the gender inequality is a serious issue, people claim and report their discrimination and the government also started to support their support will be further advance step to gender equality.

Evaluation of diverse sectors when it comes to gender equality

Many people still are likely to have stereotypes of women and men, for example, their roles are fixed that women usually do housework and look after children as a mother and men work in a company as a father. Asda – Mum Is Behind It – Christmas 2012 that showed stereotype as the mother in the advertisement, she does look after her children, housework and clean up. On the other hand, women also can work in a company as a mother and men can do housework as a father, that is a usual gender stereotype regarding the role of gender that have been seen easily. Many people still are likely to have stereotypes of women and men, for example, their roles are fixed that women usually do housework and look after children as a mother and men work in a company as a father. Such stereotypes are reflected in current society, whereas, there are many institutions are making efforts to reduce and destroy gender inequality, such as media and education sector.

The education sector is a significant factor to form view of gender equality to students who begin to form a view when it comes to gender equality. The most common stereotype in school, boys are strong whereas girls are weak, therefore, boys need to protect girls. It might be the first step of gender inequality. In order to prevent forming sex discrimination students need to be educated that woman and man have same rights, they have only physical and biological difference and nobody could not invade each other rights. The education of a child may reduce stereotypes of gender and offering free childcare also a good solution. Not only children but students at the university are likely to need education of gender equality. It is relevant not only students but also teachers in order to support to gender equality, school seems to need to provide equal pay and fair representation to men and women such as more female and male head teachers and managers the same level in school.(Association, GEA – Gender and Education, 2013) Furthermore,

In case of media, it affects various effects to people through mobile phone, television and advertisement. Particularly advertisement, women are likely to be emphasized their body shape and mother seem to clean house and do shopping to buy groceries, it implies a woman is doing house-works as a mother. Such specific advertisement that shows specific gender roles that fixed may cause restricting the many choices and aspirations and opportunities to girls or teenagers who are starting to form their view and dream. According to Shan Ross,(ROSSG, 2017) such advertisements that may influence negative, are to be prohibited in the UK in 2018. A new regulation will be applied in the UK, ‘Advertising Standards Authority’ (ASA), which noticed more needed to be done to get to grips with advertisements featuring stereotypical gender roles.(ROSSG, 2017)

In workplaces, although women still underestimated compared with their abilities. According to Bain Brief, (Brief, 2013) he suggested that managers and executives, need to understand and help to develop the challenges which women faced in order to overcome traditional role that disturbs and avoids advance of women. Executives who help and support equality and the advance of women and many firms need to judge employee’s ability, not their gender, to provide employment and promotion. Those might be a solution and key to the success of the British gender equality.

In Short, Changed awareness may be the first step to gender equality. Our current society tries to reduce unconscious gender prejudices that cause implicit bias. However, each institution also makes effort toward gender equality such as supporting what they argue, besides, people who try to change people’s awareness of stereotypes when it comes to the fixed gender role.


Efforts to achieve gender equality, which started with the suffragette movement, are ongoing from the 19th century such as NUWSS and WSPU suffragette organization. These organisations constantly have claimed their argument, finally they have helped to give a fundamental right from the government that women could vote. Suffragette movements led to applying ‘Equal Act’ and ‘Equal Pay’ that to minimise gender inequality in current society. These movement was a one of factors to advance to gender equality.

A woman can be a representative of politics or a firm whereas there are few female representatives. Besides, many people have been affected from media or education when it comes to gender, meanwhile, some media still emphasized that a woman need to lose weights and woman does housework, its impact on negative that woman should be slim and does housework at home, to people. That means gender inequality still exists today. However, people noticed that need to alter when it comes to stereotypes in order to reduce sex discrimination. For example, the hash ‘METOO’ movement to report their experience that has been sexually harassed, it is influencing not only particular one country but also worldwide, by many people using the hashtag ‘METOO’. Moreover, education also a significant factor of gender equality, especially to children, it may need to teach basic information of genders such as a woman and a man to have same rights. The British government will be applying a new regulation to restrict some advertisements include gender inequality.

In my opinion, gender inequality is like a racism. it is ethically wrong for anyone to discriminate against someone by these biological parts such as gender and skin colour. Even if it takes a long time, people’s awareness and government support are needed to reduce gender inequality. Our current society has not been indifferent to such sex inequality anymore, these efforts will never be wasted and many people will be interested in them in the future.


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  2. BBC, 2014. The women’s suffrage movement. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 16 2 2018].
  3. BBC, 2017. ‘Half of women’ sexually harassed at work, says BBC survey. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 23 2 2018].
  4. Bourke, P. J., 2011. Women on the Home Front in World War One. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 18 2 2018].
  5. Brief, B., 2013. Gender equality in the UK: The next stage of the journey. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 28 2 2018].
  6. Bulman, M., 2018. Women in UK losing out on £140bn a year due to gender pay gap, figures show. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 24 2 2018].
  7. Gender equality in ireland, n.d. What is Gender Equality?. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 23 2 2018].
  8. Grimm, K., 2014. How Did The Contraceptive Pill Transform Society?. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 8 2 2018].
  9. Kavanagh, J., 2017. What is the Me Too hashtag and what does #MeToo have to do with Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein?. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 23 2 2018].
  10. Player, A., 2013. Economics blog Gender equality: why women are still held back. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 25 2 2018].
  11. Portal, Equal Pay, 2017. Equal Pay Portal. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 24 2 2018].
  12. ROSSG, S., 2017. ender stereotyping in UK adverts to be banned next year. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 28 2 2018].
  13., n.d. Women get the vote. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 19 2 2018].

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