The Fawcett Society has campaigned for greater gender equality for many years, and has just published a comprehensive study of the legal regime surrounding sex discrimination.  The wide-ranging report looks at employment law, criminal law, the effect of social media geolocation features, and prostitution, amongst other things - all asking a central question: is the current regime fit for purpose.

From an employment law perspective, the report makes a number of interesting suggestions.  The report is worth reading in full, but the headlines include a call for:

- a new constitutional right to equality (as already features in article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights);

- civil penalties for non-compliance with the gender pay gap reporting regime;

- mandatory equal pay audits for larger employers;

- an extension to the protection enshrined in the legislation governing family-friendly leave, so that women and men are protected for six months after returning from leave;

- an increase in the rates for statutory maternity, paternity and shared parental pay;

- increasing statutory paternity leave from 2 to 6 weeks; and

- the reintroduction of specific protection for harassment from third parties.

Many of these policy proposals would need primary legislation, the Parliamentary time for which may be hard to find given the complexities of Brexit.  But many deserve serious scrutiny, and might be useful improvements to the current system.