During the Victorian period, the patriarchal views that wereembedded in post-war Britain had resulted in women’s inequality in the way theywere treated. This was often reflected through society’s attitudes towardswomen in the work place. However, many women had been protesting poor wages anddangerous work conditions back in 1888, however the Equal pay Act was onlyenforced in 1970. As a protest against the poor conditions women had to work inand the low wages that they were paid, 1,400 women at Bryant & May go on astrike at the Matchstick factory. Annie Besant, a socialist,had decided to investigate the working conditions at the factory. She hadquestioned several girls who worked at the factory.

Besant surprisinglycompared the factory that the young girls worked in to a “prison-house” and haddescribed them as “white wage slaves”, “undersized”, “helpless” and”oppressed”. Working at the factory had threatened the girls’ health andharmed them in many ways, it had increased their chances of diseases such as “PhossyJaw”, which had been a constant threat for the people working in poorconditions at the factory. She also observed that they often got “occasionalblows” from the foreman, which in today’s day and age would be classified asphysical abuse.

The Equal pay Act was implemented many yearslater in 1970. This Act was to ensure that both man and women would get paidan equal amount for the same equal amount of work and employment. This consisted of the ban of indirect and directdiscrimination.

Direct discrimination is when someone directly and openlydiscriminate against someone, in this case a women. On the other hand indirectdiscrimination is when someone is treated the same way as everyone else,however it has a worse effect on them than to the people around them because ofwho they are, and leaves them at a disadvantage.An amendment of the Equality Act was put in place in 2010. However, the latest official statistics show that the “Average pay for full-time female employees is still9.4% lower than for full-time male employees.” Nevertheless, we cannot makequick assumptions that women are getting paid less than men for the same amountof work. It also goes on to say that we have improved by 17.4% since 1997.


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