The Great Repeal Bill, which will allow Britain to exit the EU, poses a “threat to our equality laws” according to a number of women’s rights groups.
Formally known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, was being discussed in Parliament last week. The Bill will allow the UK government to “amend, repeal and improve” existing EU laws when they are written into domestic law.
In order for the government to be able to enact these new laws as quickly as possible, the government will have powers that do not involve the usual Parliamentary scrutiny process.
However, a number of women’s rights groups fear that this means the government could roll back the advances made with gender equality.
Chief Executive of The Fawcett Society, Sam Smethers said, “The great repeal bill presents a real threat to our equality laws.”
“We want a guarantee written into the bill that there will be no weakening of protections.”
“We also want our laws to keep pace with EU legislation.”
“We cannot allow the clock to be turned back on women’s rights.”
“Our vision is that the UK becomes the best place to be a woman.”
“What vision does the government have?”
The Fawcett Society launched the #FaceHerFuture campaign with organisation across the UK calling for women’s rights to be protected after Brexit. The campaign is calling for current rights to not be weakened as a result of the Brexit negotiations.
Michael Ford, a professor of employment law at the University of Bristol Law School, has also voiced concerns that the Bill could weaken gender discrimination laws.
He said, “The whole legal edifice is vulnerable.”
Currently, women are protected under a number of laws including the Equal Pay Act and the Equality Act 2010. Women are also entitled to a right to maternity leave, to employment tribunals and protection from gender discrimination.