Statistics relating to gays and lesbians are indeterminate, largely because of a lack of national surveys but, are estimated to stand between 5-7% (Salt and Miller, 2006). What these statistics and figures tell us is that the British labour force is an extremely diverse one and that the concern over diversity management and equality within organisations needs to be understood from this perspective.
Recognising the importance of equality and diversity issues in both the workplace and British society, the Guardian Unlimited has, in just the past week, published several articles on the topic. Of these articles, one in particular stands out. Published in the Money section of the newspaper, under the category of "the gender gap," this article, entitled "Equalising Opportunity" stands out for a number of reasons. Indeed, despite its extremely short length, this article, published on 5th January 2007, sheds light on a number of interesting facts and an important policy development regarding gender equality in the workplace. As regards the facts reported, the article mentions that even though the Equal Opportunity Commission has been attempting to close the pay gap ever since its foundation over three decades ago, the gap between male and female pay stands at a quite large 17%. In other words, despite legislature and in spite of the work of the EOC, female employees are still paid 17% less than their male colleagues for the same type of work and the same working hours.
A second important fact which the article sheds light on is the conflict between work and family. The economic stress and pressure on females is extremely severe and this means that, in the majority of cases, females seek employment out of necessity. Despite the fact, however, that female employees work full-time, they have additional duties imposed upon them by cultural gender stereotypes. Among these duties, as the article mentioned, is caring for elderly family members and housework responsibilities. This means that females besides holding full time jobs, British female employees have additional responsibilities which their male colleagues do not have. Accordingly, more and more British working women are putting off having children and families and some have decided against having children altogether. This decision is based on two facts. The first is that considering their lower pay, women, especially single women, cannot afford to have children and raise a family. The second is that considering their work responsibilities and the tasks that are traditionally assigned to them as women, housework and care for other family members, women do not have the time to have children and raise families. As the article quite clearly emphasises, "women are delaying having children, or giving up the idea altogether" (Equalising Opportunity,' 2007). In other words, there are far-reaching social consequences to pay inequality.
The article, as discussed in the above paragraphs, focuses on the consequences of pay inequality and the failure of the Equal Opportunity Commission to enforce the equal pay for equal work principle across Great Britain. Additionally, by highlighting the fact that the EOC has been reorganised and renamed the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, the article is emphasises gender equality as a human