engage magazine issue 001 spring \'06 - Page 37

NEWS FOCUS 37 News / Female Employees What they had to say: TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber: “Although Black and Asian women have come a long way at work, employer attitudes and prejudices are still holding them back. Faced with a double whammy of discrimination because of their gender and their colour, it’s no small wonder that true equality at work is still some years away.” “Many Black and Asian women are keen to get into work, but feel they lack the necessary skills. The announcement in last month’s Budget that the Government is to introduce measures to help low-skilled women access suitable training will help a great deal, but Black and Asian female jobseekers could still do with more help finding good, quality affordable childcare.” Equal Opportunities Commission, Chair, Jenny Watson: “The Women and Work Commission has reminded us again of the continuing pay gap that women face. But it is particularly disturbing that this gap is larger for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women than for White women and that they, and Black Caribbean women, also face higher levels of job segregation and fewer opportunities to progress to more senior positions.” The ‘Black women and employment’ report makes several recommendations: • The TUC believes if union equality reps were given a statutory right to take time away from their jobs to concentrate on making UK workplaces fairer places for everyone the trade union fight against inequality at work would be even more effective. • Black and Asian women need to be given greater access to training opportunities at work and help with finding good quality and reasonably priced childcare. • The Government should make greater use of positive public procurement policies so that companies that have positive records of tackling discrimination and promoting race equality are looked on favourably when public contracts are put out to tender. “We welcome the government’s commitment to close both the gender pay gap and the ethnic minority employment gap. Taking account of the specific circumstances faced by ethnic minority women in the workplace can help to achieve these goals and can also ensure that employers are better able to draw on the skills and talents of all women.” Sandra Jacobs (African Caribbean), legal executive, City law firm: “Despite having more qualifications and experience than some of my (White) colleagues who I work directly with, I find that time and time again I am being overlooked for promotion. It has got to the point that I am seriously considering leaving the firm I work for. I know that I am not going to progress within my career here and feel sad to know that it is really due to the colour of my skin.” Rahana Ali (Indian), recruitment adviser: “It’s a shame that in this day and age if you’re not White then you are not given the same opportunities as your (White) colleagues. I’ve had a hard time finding a job in the field that I would like to and am qualified to work in, which is IT. As a woman I have faced discrimination, especially because I guess, IT is mainly a male-dominated field, and then I have also faced discrimination due to my culture, I believe.” A full copy of ‘Black women and employment can be found at www.tuc.org.uk/ extras/bwae.pdf SPRING ISSUE 2006 engage