Equality is good for society and business

Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, a book published by Penguin in March 2009. Until recently, most of the argument about the scale of income inequality in modern societies has been about fairness and unfairness. But it has recently become possible to compare the scale of income differences in different societies and see how the social fabric of society is affected by how much inequality there is. Read more

Ac Congress has pointed out for many years, the wealth gap has grown immensely in Ireland, as a small minority have made extraordinary amounts of money with the economic boom during the Celtic Tiger years. The growing income and wealth gap cannot continue if Ireland is to become a more meritocratic society, based on equal opportunities for all. Congress has pointed out that what has been happening is dangerous for society and for the economy. Read more on this from Congress Economic Advisor's (Paul Sweeney) Narrowing the Pay Gap (April 08).

This was confirmed by ICTU and TASC report on income inequality launched in Nov 2009. The Hierarchy of Earnings, Attributes and Privilege (H.E.A.P.) report, designed to present the facts about income inequality in Ireland in an accessible form. The report - which was authored by NUIG academics Professor Terrence McDonough and Jason Loughrey - comprises a poster illustrating the numbers of households at different income levels, broken down by occupational category and household type, together with an explanatory booklet. Read full press release and Full explanatory booklet available here

The business case for Equality

Three recent reports have made a strong case for equality and diversity being good for business performance.

The Business Impact of Equality and Diversity
2007 - by Kathy Monks - This publication provides a valuable and accessible review of the research evidence on the relationship between workplace initiatives on equality and diversity and organisational performance. It builds a compelling business case for investment in workplace equality and diversity.

New Models of High Performance Work Systems: The Business Case for Strategic HRM, Partnership and Diversity and Equality Systems - By Patrick C. Flood, Thaddeus Mkamwa, Cathal O'Regan James P. Guthrie, Wenchuan Liu, Claire Armstrong, Sarah MacCurtain - This report, published jointly by the Equality Authority and the National Centre for Performance and Partnership, examines the nature of management and workplace practices in Irish-based private sector companies. It finds compelling evidence that equality and diversity strategies, workplace partnership, and flexible working systems have a positive impact on labour productivity, innovation, and employee wellbeing.

A new (November 2011) ESRI / Equality Authority study looks at equality policies and flexible working arrangements in Irish workplaces. How prevalent are they? Do they have any benefits for workers and the organisations they work for? Has the recession changed the situation? The overall conclusion is that formal equality policies are associated with benefits for both employees and the organisations they work for. Also, not all flexible working arrangements promote work-life balance, and those that do may be associated with trade-offs in terms of rewards and autonomy.

Towards a New Prosperity - to look at how gender order affects Ireland's economy and prospects for recovery

This revelatory study, commissioned by the Leadership Initiative, offers a startling and invaluable insight: that reshaping gender order in Ireland is not only possible, but offers an innovative and tangible tool for expediting economic recovery and for generating a new era of sustainable prosperity.
The study looks closely at the specific economic and social costs of gender imbalance persisting in Irish society and how these impact negatively on Ireland's capacity to regenerate itself as a vibrant, competitive economy. In particular, it looks at how gender imbalance in education and employment (sectors with a high degree of
interconnectedness) is harmful to both males and females (in very different ways) and to the economy as a whole, and it highlights the clear and measurable benefits of gender order change.

Progress in gender equality leads to economic growth, says European Commission report

Brussels, 16 April 2012 - Improving equality between women and men is essential to the EU's response to the current economic crisis, according to the European Commission's latest annual report on gender equality. The report looks at progress over the past year in tackling the remaining gaps between women and men in employment, the economy and society in general. While some progress has been made in increasing the number of women in top jobs in business and in narrowing the gender pay gap, major challenges remain. EU countries need to get more women into the labour market if they are to meet the EU's overall objective of 75% employment rate for all adults by 2020. One of the way's of improving Europe's competitiveness is to obtain better balance between women and men in economic decision-making positions. Studies have shown that gender diversity pays off and companies with higher percentages of women on corporate boards perform better than those with all-male boards. More here

Achieving Economic Equality in Ireland - a Public Policy Imperative

Presentation by Paula Clancy (Director, TASC) for ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference, July 9th 2009. The TASC/ICTU Income Inequality Poster Project will graphically illustrate who gets how much. NEW TASC SURVEY SHOWS 85 % BELIEVE THAT WEALTH IS DISTRIBUTED UNFAIRLY IN IRELANDand Same proportion (85 %) believes Government should take active steps to reduce income inequality

Why inequality keeps rising: OECD publication

EC Compendium of Good Mainstreaming practice here