Welcome to the weekly round-up of equality and diversity news. Highlights from last week include – Birmingham City Council’s women employees win the equal pay case, Mind is rewarding sensitive media portrayal of mental health problems, increase in the number of Islamic schools in England and UK’s growing income inequality.
Let’s start with the good news. Women, who worked as cooks, cleaners, caterers and care staff for the Birmingham City Council have won a Court of Appeal decision on equal pay claims. The women argued that they were excluded from getting the bonuses handed out to employees in traditionally male dominated jobs. Linda Manders, 59, who worked for the council for 10 years said: “Not being able to claim the pay I was entitled to is simply not right and this judgment helps me and others like me who may now be able to recover what they should have been paid over many years.”
This award ceremony won’t be your usual dose of glam. The mental health charity Mind is awarding sensitive media portrayal of mental health and illnesses. Spanning everything from dramas and documentaries to student journalism and new media content, the awards recognise the importance that the media has in influencing attitudes towards the much-misunderstood area of mental health. Some notable nominees include East Enders, Casualty, Holby City and documentary on X-Factor’s judge Tulisia’s life as a teenager.
The Guardian reports that demand for Islamic education in England is growing fast and more Islamic schools are springing up to meet that need. Some of these schools operate in an unconventional manner and local authorities are concerned that more of these schools are opening up without completing various formalities. Yet others are concerned that such an education is very divisive and should be discontinued. The phenomenon, nevertheless, raises interesting questions about how far conventional education in England meets the needs of various communities and whether it needs to be made more flexible.
Meanwhile, word has come in that income inequality is growing faster in the UK than in any other rich country. According to a new report by OECD, UK’s income inequality has been growing since the mid-1970s owing to the rise of a financial services elite who through education and marriage have concentrated wealth into the hands of a tiny minority. The annual average income in the UK of the top 10% in 2008 was just under £55,000, about 12 times higher than that of the bottom 10%, who had an average income of £4,700.
Finally, a note to say that this week the Guardian is publishing results of the riots research (‘Reading the Riots’) it undertook with LSE. It hopes to reveal the causes of the riots.
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