New Directions: Policy Conflicts and Fresh Campaigns, 1976–8

  • David Bouchier


Two factors helped decide what direction the movement would take in Britain. The Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Acts had shifted the focus of the economic campaigns away from legislation towards enforcement, and a sharply worsening economy and the erosion of the welfare state undermined the remaining social demands. The dissatisfaction with the new equal rights legislation which had been vigorously expressed from the start would continue to grow through the 1970s. In the first six months of 1976 only 31 out of 110 equal pay cases taken to the tribunals succeeded, and only 5 out of 20 sex discrimination cases. The EOC in particular was consistently attacked for timidity, male bias, elitism and its too-close ties with government and industry. Although given wide powers to investigate discrimination and promote equality, it did not take up the issues aggressively. It funded mainly narrow, policy-oriented research, and was unwilling even to touch hot issues like child care.


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Copyright information

© David Bouchier 1983

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  • David Bouchier

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