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Jade Quirke
Jade Quirke
Family Solicitor
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Brexit puts women’s rights at risk
Date:24 JUL 2018
Third slide
Brexit threatens the equality and human rights protections women rely on under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010), according to a review into the state of women’s rights in the UK conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). These protections span from employment rights to protections in domestic abuse cases. The review highlights the UK’s uncertain position regarding the protections under EqA 2010, in which the Government has promised the protections will apply once the UK has left the EU but ‘this political commitment is not included’ in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.
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The EHRC review, the biggest of its kind, examines the progress on women's rights across 2013-18 in Britain and puts forward recommendations to the UK and Welsh Governments on areas including:
  • strengthening the status of international human rights in domestic law;
  • gender-based violence, harassment and abuse;
  • access to civil justice;
  • human trafficking and modern slavery;
  • social welfare; and
  • opportunities in work and education.

The review raises the concern that any equality and human rights protections introduced under the EU after Brexit could not be bound in UK law. Additionally, as the commitment to maintain existing protections has not been enshrined in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, existing ones are also at risk of removal.

This raises concerns over the safety of protections for women over issues such as domestic abuse, violence, employment equality, and funding for women’s services. Therefore, the review recommends that the government ensures:
  • ‘there is no regression in the respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights’
  • the loss of EU funding ‘does not undermine the UK’s equality and human rights infrastructure, including the already scarce funding available to specialist services, such as those that support women survivors of violence and domestic abuse’
Read the Pressing for progress: women’s rights and gender equality in 2018 report in full here.
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