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Feisty Women Welcomes Parliamentary Report

Feisty Women, a campaigning charity for women over 60, has taken heart from a report published this week (July 30) by the Women and Equalities Select Committee in the House of Commons.

The report - Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)- took evidence over the past year and backs up claims the charity has made, that women over 60 were subjected to age and sex discrimination by DWP in 2011 because changes to state pension age ignored requirements of the 2010 Equality Act. The Select Committee report illustrates starkly across the board that the Equality Act of 2010 is not being enforced. The report raises serious questions over the effectiveness of the EHRC.

Feisty Women, was originally set up by Anne Rendall and Ann Porter just over a year ago, to campaign against unfair changes to state pension age for women born in the fifties.

After seeking legal advice from a local firm of solicitors, they have now appointed Brian Napier QC to give a legal Opinion about the prospects of success of securing compensation because of indirect discrimination.

Chair of Feisty Women, Ann Porter said “This report absolutely vindicates our position. It is exactly in line with the research we have done, which shows clearly that the DWP did not comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)

All public sector organisations must comply with this before making policy changes. We’ve carefully studied the documents used at the time to make the case for “equalising” state pension age. It’s clear to us that the equality impact assessment undertaken is fundamentally flawed. A mechanism that is supposed to ensure fair play has done the opposite and created blatant discrimination against women.

The burden of enforcement of the law has fallen on the shoulders of individual women rather than EHRC, with all the cost and personal risk this entails. The injustice takes our breath away.’

Co-founder Anne Rendall said “We are delighted that the Select Committee agrees with our view. Importantly, it also insists that the EHRC steps up to the mark and does what it is supposed to do by enforcing the Equality Act.

We’ve been fundraising for some time now to raise the legal costs needed if our QC agrees we have a case. We sincerely hope this report means that the EHRC will look at our substantial evidence and perhaps, as the committee suggests, use its enforcement powers to fund the discrimination cases - so that individuals and poorly resourced groups do not have to take the risks.

We've already been in discussion with the Scottish Human Rights Commission and are meeting Scottish Government Ministers in the coming weeks to see what action they might take to act on the recommendations in the report.

Meantime, we have a website www.feistywomen.co.uk where all of our information and latest news can be found and where people and organisations who support our quest can donate.

Link to the committee report: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/news-parliament-2017/equality-act-role-of-ehrc-report-published-17-19/

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