Lynne Featherstone MP promotes equality for job applicants

For immediate release

NPG launch

NPG launch

July 17th 2009

Lynne Featherstone MP promotes equality for job applicants with the “no name” application form

Lynne Featherstone the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and the Liberal Democrat’s Equality spokesperson, has tabled an amendment to the government’s Equality Bill calling on names to be taken off job application forms.

The Solicitor General, Vera Baird MP QC, who is leading on the Bill in the House, has indicated that the amendment is likely to be accepted in due course despite opposition from some quarters. She said they were looking into the research that had been conducted on this particular issue.

Lynne Featherstone MP told Women’s Parliamentary Radio that the original proposal came about because two of her interns with the family names of Hussain and Patel had spoken to her of their inability to get through the job recruitment process.

Lynne told Executive Producer of, Boni Sones, that she was optimistic that her “Featherstone” amendment would succeed:

“My hope is that it will become mandatory throughout firms over a certain level of employees. I think it will make a huge step change to that bias which exists  in the selection process. Work in American has shown, that the issue is not about racism or ageism or sexism it is more to do with brain patterns, that the person reading the CV has, so they will accept what is familiar and reject what is not familiar. That is what we are trying to do, to get through that first hurdle, then it is down to you at the interview.”

Lynne continued: “Vera Baird QC MP has admitted that the research that is being done on this has shown significant discrimination. If this is the case, then I cannot imagine that a Labour government, who are generally very good on equality, would not bring it into best practice in the public sector.”

Ms Featherstone MP said thatshe would re-table her amendment at the next stage of the Bill as it passes through the Commons.

The Conservative’s have opposed the Equality Bill, but Ms Featherstone MP said that she wished some of its provisions, including those on the gender pay gap had gone further and that she was concerned that a Conservative government may ditch the implementation of this particular provision as it is not due to be implemented until 2013.

She said: “The date of 2013 when the gender pay gap provisions will kick in, makes me wonder will the Tories really go up against the CBI who are against it? That could leave women with that kind of pay gap for another 40 years.”

She went on to pay tribute to the Labour government for implementing the Bill:

“We support the Bill but we wish it had come in 12 years ago, not just now. But congratulattions to the Labour government for bringing it forward. Of course I want to push them forward, I think there are some significant omissions, particularly on equal pay, but the Bill is hugely important and it will help people to get out of a real poverty trap.”


NPG launch

NPG launch

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