Describe theĀ 'Sex Discrimination Act 1986' and give a simple example of what a student working with IT in a school/college should look out for?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Sex Discrimination Act of 1986 reads:

An Act to amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and sections 64 and 73 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978; to make provision with respect to requirements to discriminate in relation to employment which are contained in public entertainment licences; to provide for the removal of certain restrictions applying to the working hours and other working conditions of women; and to repeal the Baking Industry (Hours of Work) Act 1954.

Basically what this implies is that as recently as 1954, the UK women workforce was experiencing inequality in terms of work hours, pay, working conditions, working opportunities, retirement options, and benefit packages compared to men.

For this reason, the amendments made to the Act included not only changes to these conditions but, also changed the wording of the Act itself, as it changed the word "man" (which in itself was a qualifier) to "worker" as an inclusive collective.

Also, the Sex Discrimination Act stopped putting limits to the number of members a firm has to have as partners in order to include a female to be a partner as well. The limit used to be 5, and 6 would have made it illegal for a woman to become a partner in a firm. The SDA86 also put a stop to that and had that article removed.

There is also an amendment made for Equal Pay and retirement, both stating separately that being a woman should not be used against a worker to try and retire them early, fire them, or withhold retirement benefits. In other words, all the old practice in which women were considered second class citizens will now be officially over.

For a student with IT or any area this is a very clear message that the old roles of "boys and girls" have shifted. In a multicultural environment like is college, there may be some ethnic groups which will find it quite aggravating having to work with women, or will find it near-offensive that women try for the same opportunities as males. It does not happen as often in a learning environment, but it happens nonetheless. Therefore, any college student needs to learn to put their own views of women's rights to the side and concentrate in succeeding, even against "a girl" or anyone who has the same hunger for making it in a changing world.