International Institutions and Domestic Reform: Equal Pay and British Membership in the European Economic Community

International Institutions and Domestic Reform: Equal Pay and British Membership in the European... Abstract Despite having been overlooked in the standard histories of the UK and the European Community, gender politics and gender policies played a significant role in Britain's applications for membership in the EEC in the 1960s. Joining the European Community required that Britain comply with Article 119 on equal pay for equal work. A combination of domestic feminist and labour movement activism, the commitment of unions and parties, and the internationalization of formal commitments to women's rights constituted internal and external pressures for the passage of an Equal Pay Act in 1970. The article argues that the formal legislative commitment to gender pay equality, changing public attitudes towards women's employment, and European membership impacted further domestic social policy reform and slowly began to shift government attitudes towards gender equality. Despite recent criticism, the European Union has been widely recognized as a global leader in the promotion of gender equality norms.1 Indeed, Article 119 of the 1957 Treaty of Rome formally required Member States to establish gender pay equality, a path-breaking initiative that led to numerous directives, resolutions, and jurisprudence.2 Like other Member states, Britain was subject to European standards and the effort to comply with many Treaty requirements featured prominently in Britain’s decade-long effort to join the European Economic Community (EEC) in the 1960s. Yet, scholars have largely ignored the importance of equal pay in Britain’s path to membership; nor has European pressure featured in discussions of Britain’s Equal Pay Act of 1970.3 Historians have documented feminist and labour activism in favour of gender pay equality, but what role did compliance with this new European standard play in preparations for membership? As Britain began negotiations with EEC representatives, complying with the Rome Treaty brought wage equality to the forefront of government discussions about membership, deeply preoccupied British officials, and facilitated the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1970. This article analyses how Britain’s successive applications for membership in the EEC pushed a diverse group of actors including officials in the Ministry of Employment and Productivity, Department of Social Security, Foreign Office, the Treasury, and members of Parliament to accept the need for equal pay legislation, despite initial resistance.4 It makes three general arguments. First, gender politics and gender-based policies played a far more significant role in Britain’s preparation for membership in the EEC than scholars have recognized. Although officials viewed compliance with Article 119 as an unwelcome complication, the decision to join the EEC in the 1960 s required them to take equal pay seriously during the application period. Secondly, growing British feminist and labour movement activism for equal pay, the advocacy of unions and parties, and women’s political interventions, alongside government initiatives, provided critical support for the creation of a domestic legal framework. Although the prospect of EEC membership was not the only factor, British officials and politicians found themselves caught between both domestic and external pressures for reform. Thirdly, government officials’ discussions of equal pay in the context of the EEC negotiations revealed the limits of the British social policy paradigm. Once Britain joined the EEC, European membership drove further policy reform and in turn led to a perceptible shift in thinking about the relationship between gender, work, and family. A ‘Reluctant European’ From the late 1940 s until the early 1960 s, Britain kept its distance from the European Community, fearful of diminishing its sovereignty and concerned about maintaining economic and political ties to the empire and Commonwealth.5 By 1961 however, the perception of relative economic decline made joining the EEC increasingly appealing and Britain applied for membership. After the French rejected their first and second applications in 1963 and 1967, Britain again sought membership following De Gaulle’s resignation in 1969, finally joining in 1973.6 Throughout successive applications during the 1960 s, compliance with Article 119 provoked intense debate within the government as well as among employers and civil society groups. This debate occurred in the context of women’s steadily increasing labour force participation in the post-war years, from 33 per cent of the working population in 1951 to 35 per cent in 1961, to 37 per cent in 1966, and to 38 per cent in 1971.7 The proportion of married women aged 15–59 years in paid employment also grew from 26 per cent in 1951, to 35 per cent in 1961, and to 49 per cent in 1971.8 The proportion of part-time women workers (as a percentage of all women in the labour force) simultaneously increased steadily from 12 per cent in 1951 to 26 per cent in 1961 and to 35 per cent in 1971 and partly accounted for the increase of all employed women.9 Although some historians have documented the growing acceptance of women’s (especially married women’s) paid work in the 1950 s and 1960 s, others have shown continued support for the male breadwinner model in employment practices and social policy.10 The widely publicized views of psychologists such as John Bowlby on the negative effects of working mothers’ absence on child development implied that women who worked outside the home were bad mothers.11 Although the government encouraged women’s paid employment to address the post-war labour shortage, it also encouraged them to leave high wage defence industries for low wage work in textiles; gender segregation and discrimination at work were widespread.12 Moreover, Britain’s relatively poor history of promoting equal rights did not make compliance with European Community norms easy or obvious. Women had demanded equal pay since the nineteenth century, but until the 1960 s, they had few allies within the ranks of either organized labour or the political parties. Parliament voted twice to equalize the pay of public sector workers, but Conservative Prime Ministers (Stanley Baldwin in 1936 and Winston Churchill in 1944) called for votes of confidence that reversed these initiatives.13 Although the Labour Party endorsed equal pay in 1944, once in power from 1945, it backed down, fearful of imposing too great a burden on the economy. Thanks to a renewed campaign on the part of Conservative Members of Parliament Thelma Cazalet-Keir and Mavis Tate, women public sector workers benefited from legislation in 1954 to raise their wages incrementally to parity with men’s wages by 1961.14 Meanwhile, in the private sector, women’s wages lagged behind men’s wages to an astonishing degree: women earned 54 per cent of men’s wages in 1960, less than French women (64 per cent) or Dutch women (between 65 and 75 per cent).15 Internal pressure for reform mounted. In 1961, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) formally supported wage parity for all workers, and the 1963 Working Women’s Charter issued by the TUC Women’s Conference demanded equal pay for work of equal value, improved job opportunities, and training.16 Developing international equality norms in the 1950 s and 1960 s bolstered these initiatives. In 1951 the International Labor Organization (ILO) issued its Convention 100 on Equal Pay mandating equal pay for work of equal value, and over the next 10 years the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women issued a series of conventions on women’s rights. The European Social Charter in 1961 asserted the right to work in safe and healthy conditions, the rights to unionization, to strike, and bargain collectively, along with optional clauses on equal pay, social security, and the prohibition of child labour.17 Yet Britain remained resistant to accepting such international agreements, only ratifying the ILO’s 1951 Equal Pay Convention in 1971. Although it signed the European Social Charter in 1962, Britain explicitly opted out of the clause guaranteeing the right of men and women to equal pay.18 These developments illustrated Britain’s distance from international initiatives on gender equality even as it attempted to join the European Community. Ultimately Britain’s equal pay legislation constituted less the acceptance of an EEC norm than the instrumental pursuit of national self-interest. Defining Equal Pay At each successive application for EEC membership, debates within the Ministry of Employment and Productivity, the Department of Social Security, the Treasury, and the Foreign Office revealed the urgency to comply with Community norms on gender pay equality. Yet what did ‘equal pay’ mean to these interlocutors? The term did not imply acceptance of gender equality more broadly and indeed it carried different meanings for different actors. The foreign ministers negotiating the Treaty of Rome had debated whether to follow the ILO’s formulation of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ or the concept of ‘equal pay for equal work,’ ultimately accepting the latter formulation.19 British ministerial officials also debated the meaning of the term and revealed how assumptions about gender structured the labour market and job classifications. Early in these discussions, the Conservative government, backing employers’ interests, supported the notion of equal pay for equal work, a definition that would permit gender-based job segregation and job classifications to continue. Writing in 1962, one official in the Department of Employment and Productivity boldly pointed to the advantages to employers of such a formulation, ‘only jobs indiscriminately performed by men and women need carry the same rate…jobs traditionally carried out by women only [can] continue to carry the existing women’s rate although it would presumably have to be rechristened the rate for the job’.20 So long as gender job segregation existed, equal pay need not apply. Labour movement activists took a different view. Echoing the 1963 Working Women’s Charter, speakers at the 1967 TUC Women’s Conference directly addressed compliance with the Treaty of Rome. They criticized Article 119 and called for adopting the ILO’s formulation of equal pay for work of equal value, in line with the TUC’s position. One speaker noted the restrictive interpretation of ‘same work’ that had led employers and governments in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy to address wage equality only when ‘men and women performed exactly the same task, under the same conditions, in the same firm or even in the same plant or workshop’.21 Another worried that if Article 119 was applied narrowly, ‘3 million women in the UK would be left out because they were not doing what could be classified as the same work as men’.22 Thus Britain’s application for membership in the EEC provided an opportunity for feminist labour activists to press their case for a particular definition of equal pay. The problem of defining equal pay also appeared in a joint inquiry into wage differentials between men and women conducted by the Department of Employment and Productivity, TUC officials, and the Confederation of British Industries (CBIs) in 1969.23 Firms’ interpretations varied enormously and included, ‘jobs performed interchangeably, jobs comparable to others done by men; jobs done by men in particular firms or elsewhere in the industry; jobs where an agreed male rate was specified, where men and women might not be doing exactly the same work…’24 Some employers argued that indirect costs should be figured into ‘equal pay’; others argued for job evaluation and equal pay for work of equal value as ‘a more realistic basis for introducing equal pay’. They mentioned ‘the higher overheads attached to the employment of women and the need to take account of this when assessing “equal value” of work…[some] expressed strong opinions about the lesser value of women employees in terms of returns on recruitment and administrative costs, training and provision of facilities’. Women, they argued, typically aimed at ‘a fixed level of earnings with consequent failure to respond to incentive schemes’ and were unwilling to work overtime. They also cited women’s tendency to retire earlier than men, greater absenteeism and interruptions to their working lives and high turnover. Some believed that ‘in the event of equal pay women would take advantage of their higher rates of pay to work shorter hours’. Such assumptions about women workers failed to recognize how decades of gender-based socialization and discrimination influenced women’s professional choices.25 Although by October 1969, Treasury officials recommended the phrase ‘the same or broadly similar work’ to be faithful to the EEC definition while also providing some flexibility for employers, differences over the definition of equal pay persisted, up to the ratification of the bill.26 The debate over equal pay in Government likewise revealed strong reservations about its consequences. Debating Wage Equality British ministerial officials’ discussions of compliance with Article 119 in the 1960 s demonstrated their fears that equal pay would place the British economy on a path to decline and would place new demands on the British welfare state. They also revealed the persistence of decades-old assumptions about women’s dependence on male breadwinners even as increasing numbers of women entered paid employment. Although public opinion allegedly supported equal pay for men and women, government officials viewed the idea with scepticism and anxiety.27 And the fact that the original ‘Six’ Members of the EEC had not achieved pay equality led some officials to soft pedal the Treaty requirement. Alongside arguments that evoked increasing labour costs, inflation, the harm to productivity and hostility of employers and male workers, the potential effect of equal pay on the British welfare state repeatedly appeared as a stumbling block, demonstrating how closely gender, wages, work, and family were linked to British social policy. All demonstrated how fundamentally ideas about gender, work, the family, and welfare were tied up with larger questions about the British economy and potential membership in the EEC. The negotiating briefs and ministerial reports that government officials prepared under the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan displayed both anxieties about the need to observe the letter of the Treaty of Rome and a reluctance to do so, particularly since none of the six original Member States had achieved equal pay. France had mandated equal pay briefly after the war and the principle appeared in the Preambles of the Constitutions of the Fourth and Fifth Republics, but in 1950 backed away from supporting it. Germany and Italy both incorporated the principle into their post-war constitutions, but had no legislation or means of enforcement. Over the course of the early 1960s, the European Commission agreed to accept Member States’ formal promise to observe Article 119 (as opposed to demonstrating implementation) to make the EEC fully operational. Thus, during the first application, British officials, well aware of the European partners’ weak commitment, instructed their negotiators to do only what was ‘absolutely necessary’ to comply with Article 119; many preferred to leave the matter to the market and to negotiation between industry and labour, rather than legislate.28 An official in the Department of Employment and Productivity urged them to avoid, at all costs, ‘any larger commitments than those required by the letter of the Treaty of Rome. For instance, any attempt to extend equal pay to men and women doing work of equal value would be unacceptable’.29 Yet as negotiations proceeded, Treasury and Labour ministry officials progressively recognized that despite the non-compliance of the original six Member States, they had to take the matter seriously. Anxieties about gender pay equality as a problem of the cost to employers and the government loomed large in their discussions.30 In 1962 a Labour Ministry official estimated the cost at between £300 and £400 million, between 4 and 5 per cent of the wages and salary bill. This was hardly a trivial issue; despite growth in the 1950 s and 1960 s, compared to other EEC members, the British economy lagged between 1950 and the 1970 s on measures of gross domestic product growth, labour productivity, and industrial production.31 The potential resistance of male workers led another official from the Ministry of Labour to argue that wage equality ‘will give no joy to [the] male employees and the problem will be to get people to face up to it….’.32 Indeed, the gender dynamics of raising women’s wages weighed heavily in officials’ reports. Concerns about the difficulties of introducing equal pay led Treasury officials to propose maintaining job segregation, reproducing the very practices that had served to maintain gender discrimination for decades. As one official argued, ‘With a little ingenuity, employers…might be able to segregate most of their women workers.…thus avoiding the necessity for increasing their wages [my emphasis]’.33 Others implied that legislation would infringe upon freedom of contract and would interfere with the statutory wage regulation by Wages Councils and Boards, a position shared by many British employers and by at least some in the organized labour movement.34 Still others feared that EEC membership, combined with equal pay would force Britain to adopt a more robust welfare state. These concerns showed how debates about gender, wage equality, and work were linked to British social policy. If equal pay was introduced, they claimed, men would demand increased social security payments ‘not related to the job but to other social considerations’, because ‘the financial responsibilities of men are greater than those of women’.35 John Walley, Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, likewise believed that ‘It might encourage other legislative ambitions with a social content in the wages field, e.g. severance pay, sick pay, period of notice’ or to the ‘reshaping of our own social services along continental lines, especially… family allowances’.36 Others unashamedly revealed the gender biases and limits of existing British social policy, noting that married women’s lower rates of contribution to pension funds (if they contributed at all) and differential benefits from their husbands’ contributions would be ‘hard to justify’ once equal pay was introduced.37 Department of Social Security officials argued that the lower mandatory retirement age for women, combined with their greater life expectancy meant that, ‘women would constitute… a yet greater strain on funds if pensions were also equalized’. There was ‘more likely to be an outcry in favour of equal retiring ages for men and women’, but it was unlikely that women’s retirement age would be brought up to men’s, rather men’s retirement age would be lowered, placing even more pressure on budgets.38 These officials recognized that discrimination against married women, frequently denied membership in pension schemes under the ages of 25 or 30 years, would have to end if equal pension rights were established.39 Such comments not only revealed assumptions about the gender of breadwinners but the extent to which British social policy in the 1960 s differed from that of its European neighbours. In this context, it was not surprising that Labour Ministry officials who met with EEC representatives in April 1962 were relieved that EEC negotiators seemed to recognize the difficulties of implementing equal pay and acknowledge it ‘as an exercise in the practicable rather than the achievement of an ideal’.40 Keen to send the right signals to the EEC, the British counselled caution with respect to both trade unions and employers. Negotiator E. W. Maude noted in June 1962 that ‘to keep up the tempo of negotiations… the Lord Privy Seal was obliged to tell the 6 [original members] that the UK was prepared to support equal pay’, but he was concerned that this ‘not leak out before the TUC and the British employers’ confederation [have] found out about it’.41 Similar levels of resistance, caution, and efforts to limit the costs to Britain lingered in subsequent applications, although signs of changing attitudes could be seen.42 Following the French veto of Britain’s application in 1963, the Labour Party, although divided about the wisdom of joining the EEC, in a special effort to recruit women, made equal pay a part of its 1964 election platform and once in power set up an interdepartmental committee to study it.43 The newly appointed Discrimination Against Women Study Group made recommendations in favour of equal pay to the Party’s National Executive Committee and in 1967 the Women’s Conference of the TUC urged legislation and British ratification of ILO Convention 100.44 In joint meetings between July 1966 and 1967, the TUC and the CBIs continued to disagree about how to define equal pay.45 But by spring 1967, Ministry of Employment and Productivity officials urged both parties to prepare a joint resolution to enable the government to move forward with the EEC negotiations. Although the CBI and the TUC both preferred that wages be negotiated through collective agreements, both recognized that legislation was inevitable. Meeting with the CBI in July 1968 Barbara Castle, newly appointed Minister for Employment and Productivity, well known as a Eurosceptic, acknowledged that equal pay was necessary but would have be phased in gradually, taking account of the economic situation.46 During this period, labour conflict added internal pressure for government action on the issue, and in some sectors, employers implemented equal pay. Labour Conflict and Internal Pressure During the period that Britain negotiated EEC membership, domestic labour unrest highlighted continued gender tensions over work and wages. In a handful of strikes male textile workers and bus drivers fought to maintain gender segregation.47 In the famous 1968 strike against the Ford Motor Assembly plant at Dagenham, women protested a re-grading scheme that would pay them 15 per cent less than men in the same category. Women strikers did not invoke the equal pay dimension of the EEC, but concerned that revising the grading scheme might place some women in grades higher than men’s and diminish men’s status, their male allies supported equal pay instead. Employers raised women’s salaries to 92 per cent of men’s.48 Yet in some areas, old assumptions about gender and work that guided wage agreements began to fade, particularly in the public sector. By 1966, women in administrative, technical and clerical posts in some areas of public transport, the railway industry, and textiles won equal pay.49 In 1967, the Transport and General Workers’ Union and the National Union of Public Employees, joined in a motion at the TUC Women’s Conference, condemning the government for omitting equal pay from its incomes policy and urged women workers to press for the abolition of women’s rates. The British Railways Board agreed in October 1967 that equal pay for equal work should apply in railway workshops.50 And in September 1968 the Joint Negotiating Council for Banking announced a national pay scale in banking, and wage increases of 7 per cent for men and 10.5 per cent for women. Although this increase constituted a strategic measure designed to remedy a shortage of bank employees by attracting new female staff to banks, it brought women bank employees closer to wage parity.51 These developments bolstered the growing support for equal pay as did pressure throughout 1967 and 1968 from women’s groups such as the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, the National Federation of Professional Workers, the Liverpool Assembly of Women, and the League of Jewish Women, as well as unions such as the Chesterfield Branch Clerical and Administrative Workers’ Union and the Newcastle and District Trades Council.52 Although neither women workers nor women in professional organizations evoked the equal pay dimension of the EEC, both groups’ claims for pay equality contributed to the growing internal pressure on government to comply with Article 119 of the Rome Treaty. The prospect of equal pay as a requirement of EEC membership moreover remained far more of a preoccupation for government officials preparing the negotiations. Treasury officials remained fearful that wage equality would be an economic and social disaster. They predicted an inflationary spiral, a balance of payments deficit of as much as £650 million, a negative effect on the family, increased unemployment, and damaged relations between government and employers.53 Some predicted that employers would raise men’s wages to restore wage differentials.54 Even a supporter of wage equality, Harold Walker, Labour Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department of Employment and Productivity, while acknowledging that equal pay would constitute ‘a major piece of social reform’ and remove the ‘cheap labour tag from women,’ blamed women’s lack of initiative for their failure to be employed in highly paid jobs.55 ‘This situation will only change when women themselves take a new attitude towards employment in higher paid trades and professions…’. Although Walker promoted job training, he revealed a traditional gender bias in voicing scepticism that women would take advantage of it for, ‘it must be admitted that lengthy training is unlikely to appeal to many girls who are looking forward to marriage and the raising of a family or employers who are looking for a reasonable return in terms of years of service or their investment in training’.56 He noted that some employers might attempt to raise women’s output by introducing machinery and thereby create some unemployment, but ‘some of the women displaced might return to their domestic duties’.57 Yet the need for legislation grew more urgent in the context of Britain’s third application to the EEC in April 1969. This was the broader setting in which Barbara Castle introduced equal pay legislation in February 1970. Legislating Equal Pay By 1969 ministry officials had come to accept the inevitability of legislation on equal pay as key to entering the EEC. As one official within the Department of Employment and Productivity stated, ‘[t]he UK cannot jeopardize its bargaining position in negotiations…by being very far behind the Community on equal pay’.58 Within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) a ‘speaking note’ for Castle observed, ‘equal pay… will become an inescapable commitment if we succeed in entering the EEC… For Her Majesty’s Government to take publicly a line that ran counter to the Rome Treaty would risk equal pay being raised by the Community in the negotiations…we do not want this’.59 Others emphasized avoiding any mention of equal pay by the Community negotiators ‘We can avoid this by doing all we can to appear to…meet the requirements of Article 119 in a reasonable period’. Even Treasury officials began to see that it was ‘not practicable for the Government to take an attitude which would put it out of line with most European countries of the EEC’.60 Still, the anxieties of officials in the Department of Employment and Productivity, the Treasury, and the Foreign Office shaped the final form of the Equal Pay Bill that Castle presented to Parliament in February 1970. In the summer of 1969, Department of Employment and Productivity officials meeting with representatives of the Treasury again raised the question of the definition of equal pay, proposing ‘a…narrow definition, i.e. to refer to the same or broadly similar work’, consistent with their efforts to do the bare minimum to comply with Article 119.61 The Bill thus appeased employers fearful of reduced wage flexibility. Accepting the CBI’s preferred definition, equal pay for equal work, the Bill’s wording, ‘equal pay for the same or broadly similar work’ enabled employers to continue segregating work by gender and avoid increasing women’s pay.62 On the other hand, in cases where a job evaluation scheme had shown jobs to be of equal value, it would be unlawful for the terms and conditions of employment to differ for men and women. Castle also compromised on the implementation date. Against the CBI’s demand for 7 years (to gradually phase in equal pay, giving employers time to regrade jobs) and the TUC’s demand for 3 years, Castle settled on 5 years. Finally, although she intended to include equal pensions in the bill, Castle bowed to the concerns of those in her party who feared that doing so would be too divisive, given concerns about the costs of expanding the British welfare state.63 Though not a supporter of the EEC, Castle was a strong defender of women’s rights and a supporter of equal pay. The bill she presented to Parliament reflected the tensions in her position. Building on almost a decade of study within the ministries on the importance of equal pay for Britain’s membership in the EEC, she used Britain’s third application strategically to argue the case for the law.64 In September 1969, responding to the argument that since other European Members had failed to establish gender pay equality Britain need not comply, she dryly pointed out in Cabinet, ‘the EEC countries accepted the equal pay obligation by their assent to Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome [;]…the [British] government’s proposals [are] intended to insure that the UK did not fall behind the EEC in this respect’.65 Again, at the Labour Party conference that month, she urged legislation to enable the Britain to come into line with ‘developing practice of members of the countries of the European Economic Community’.66 In Parliament, Castle revealed her fundamental belief in gender pay equality, famously arguing for the economic rationality of equal pay as the correction of an injustice and an efficient use of human capital.67 Castle’s argument provoked reactions from Members of Parliament who revealed their persistent assumptions of women’s dependence on male providers and once more evoked the threat of changes to the British welfare state. Conservative male Members cynically predicted that not only would employers be likely to restore previous pay differentials but ‘in some jobs, conditions of women’s superior productivity would lead to the unemployment of men’.68 One derided the bill as a form of ‘social engineering’, and a threat to men’s position in the family, arguing, ‘Men carry and must always carry the main economic burden of the community… .Such folly can only lead to the French position of massive [family] allowances…’.69 Even some Labour Members of Parliament worried about the possibility that women would be fired or would not be hired at all and voiced anxieties about the masculinization of women.70 Yet such arguments failed to carry the day; others saw equal pay as one step towards changing social attitudes. Labour Member Dr Shirley Summerskill proposed that the government quickly pass anti-discrimination legislation to complement the Equal Pay Act to ‘create a climate of opinion and alter peoples’ views of what is permissible behaviour’.71 The passage of the Equal Pay Act in May 1970, to be fully implemented in 1975, resolved one of the outstanding obstacles to British membership in the EEC. It also spurred the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975, under discussion since the late 1960s. But once equal pay became law, and Britain joined the EEC, did EEC membership continue to have an impact on further British policy reform and on attitudes towards the relationship between gender, family, and work? What Changed? If joining the EEC helped to push forward British legislation on equal pay, neither the EEC nor the Equal Pay Act radically transformed the gender paradigm according to which employers had operated for decades. Women made some 2,500 equal pay claims in the first 2 years of its implementation, leading to over a thousand cases brought before Industrial Tribunals. Although women’s wages rose to 76 per cent of men’s wages by 1977, they stagnated thereafter.72 Although some officials began to accept women’s employment and some Conservative women supported equal pay, many male Conservative officials’ view of equal remuneration as incompatible with government wages policy legitimized employers’ refusal to comply with the law. While the Conservative government, back in office in 1970, gave lip service to equal pay and monitored employers’ compliance with the Act, collective agreements continued to specify lower wages for women working in jobs similar to men’s.73 Conservatives blamed wage increases in industries where women were prominent for rising prices, suggesting that wage equality would cause inflation.74 One Treasury official worried about ‘the most startling increases in women’s rates… a time when we are searching for all means to limit the growth in costs’. The same official wished to see ‘how far certain jobs can be properly regarded as women’s work and not as a common grade.’75 Some employers simply insisted that their industries were ‘men’s industries’.76 Moreover the 5-year gap between the passage of the law and its implementation arguably gave employers time to regrade jobs to reinforce gender segregation and many undoubtedly did.77 Conservative Secretary of State for Employment Robert Carr successfully resisted appeals from the TUC and from Labour and Conservative women in Parliament to accelerate implementation of the new law by introducing an interim order that women’s pay rise to at least 90 per cent of men’s rates by the end of 1973. Carr partially justified his position by framing equal pay as a trade-off between male and female rates. The TUC was ‘by no means enthusiastic about the idea, as they recognize that… equal pay can only be implemented at the expense of male rates in real terms’. In Parliament, Minister of State Robin Chichester-Clark further revealed the extent of resistance in asserting that ‘there is no evidence that women are being exploited on a large scale’.78 And the benchmark 1972 Office of Manpower Economics (OME) Report on equal pay noted the persistence of ‘definite ideas about which jobs belonged to men and which to women…in so far as these restrictions are based on deep-rooted traditions and assumptions about appropriate roles for women, it seems unlikely that the Act alone will do much if anything to remove them…’.79 Indeed, the Act hardly produced radical changes in employers’ or Conservative government officials’ assumptions about gender.80 The fact that Britain’s entry into the EEC in 1973 coincided with a period of economic difficulty and anti-inflationary wage restraint and price controls also made it easier for some government officials and employers to ignore women’s right to equal pay. Despite Labour government officials’ efforts to promote wage equality once back in office in 1974, employers used government wage policy to avoid complying with the Act and believed that increasing women’s wages would deprive men of increases. In a telling statement of the perceived gender dynamics of equality measures, the first Annual Report of the Equal Opportunities Commission, established under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, asserted as much. ‘In conditions of stringency, the plea for equality is sternly resisted on the grounds that there is no merit in robbing Peter to pay Pauline…’.81 Reluctant to deprive men of even modest increases, many employers continued to reclassify jobs so that they no longer appeared ‘broadly similar’, or created ‘red circle’, protected pay categories for men that enabled them to earn more than women at the same jobs.82 But this was not the whole story. Despite the persistence of discriminatory practices, Britain was now subject to EEC scrutiny and the obligation to transpose EEC legislation into British law led to further domestic policy reform on gender equality at work. Shortly after joining the EEC, in 1973 the European Commission criticized Britain, along with Denmark and the Irish Republic, for failing to take steps to end wage discrimination.83 In a report examining the extent to which new members had transposed EEC principles into national practice, the Commission pointed to two issues: the persistence of differential classifications and wage scales for male and female workers in collective agreements, and the stark differences between social security regimes for men and women.84 The Commission affirmed its broad interpretation of pay in Article 119: ‘pay shall mean the ordinary or basic minimum wage or salary or any other consideration whether in cash or in kind which the worker receives either directly or indirectly in respect of his employment from his employer’.85 It referred to a recent judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that, while excluding statutory social security schemes as ‘pay,’ implied that negotiated, complementary social security systems could be construed as ‘pay’ under Article 119.86 Earlier concerns about the implications of EEC membership for the British welfare estate now reappeared. The Commission’s criticism also came, as its Social Questions Working Group debated a new Directive on Equal Pay that would formalize the legal status of Article 119. The proposed Directive incorporated a broad interpretation of pay that included ‘wage related allowances or benefits’ that could include social security.87 The prospect of amending British legislation to equalize social security schemes for men and women worried government officials in the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) and Employment who argued that Britain had conformed to the letter of Article 119 and that the Equal Pay Act had specifically excluded pensions. They strongly resisted extending equality to pension schemes; one even wondered whether the government could persuade the EEC of Britain’s ‘considerations against strict equality of pension rights which remain Departmental policy since the time of the Equal Pay Bill’.88 A Department of Health and Social Services report on the draft Directive submitted to the Commission in November 1973 stated, ‘…it looks as if the Commission takes the view that the draft directive…would require [Member States] to legislate before 31 December 1975 to compel occupational schemes to change any provisions contrary to the principle of equal pay’. The DHSS stated that if this was really the effect of the proposed Directive, then it was ‘completely unacceptable’. With a new Social Security Act (1973) scheduled to be implemented, ‘it is completely out of the question to require fundamental changes in …occupational pension schemes at the very time when stability is vital to the success of the operation [of the new domestic law]….we must oppose [it] as strongly as possible and Ministers will have to be briefed accordingly’.89 DHSS officials pressured their counterparts in the Department of Employment who were more favourable to equal pensions ‘not to imply any UK support for the proposition that either Article 119 or the draft Directive should be interpreted as having any application to occupational pensions…’.90 Equally irritating to government officials was the inclusion of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ in the final version of the Directive, which officials believed ‘would impose stricter requirements than [the Treaty of Rome] and because the precision of the wording of our [Equal Pay Act] would make it difficult for us to fudge the issue’.91 Although British representatives participated in the Working Group drafting the Directive, they failed to impose a narrow interpretation of pay. Moreover, in its review of the draft Directive in April 1974, the European Parliament pointed to the urgent need to review gender differences in pensions that resulted from wage and other forms of discrimination.92 These steps, in addition to the Commission’s censure of Britain’s lack of progress on equal pay and social security stimulated further domestic reforms in the direction of gender pay equality.93 A Labour Green Paper published in March 1974 after Labour had returned to government addressed the problem of unequal pensions and demonstrated the influence of EEC membership in arguments for reform. Discussing the Social Security Act, the Paper pointed to how the Act had ‘not yet brought us [Britain] up to the standard of many of the other EEC countries and of Sweden’, where ‘men and women receive equal benefits for equal contributions’.94 British resistance to the broader employment-related dimensions of gender equality indeed made it an outlier among its European Community counterparts. Although in dropping pensions from the Equal Pay Bill in 1970 Barbara Castle had promised to introduce legislation on pensions subsequently, membership in the EEC became as much a driver of efforts to expand the British welfare state as a domestic commitment to gender equality at work. Debate on the shape of reform continued within the Labour Party as well as among Conservatives in government. The Conservatives’ 1973 Social Security Act permitted married working women to contribute to the National Insurance Fund at a reduced rate, and thus provided lower benefits to women. These provisions came under withering criticism from Labour allies who argued that the Conservative policy would harm EEC efforts at social harmonization and perpetuate gender discrimination.95 One government official within the Department of Employment also foresaw a rebuke from the EEC unless it established equal pension regimes. ‘This would be especially embarrassing since we have been pressing for the inclusion in the EEC Social Action Program of measures to remove discrimination between men and women throughout the field of employment and training’. This official urged that equal pensions be incorporated into the Sex Discrimination Bill then in debate.96 In fact, in the discussion of the Bill in Parliament in November 1973, Labour Member William Hamilton made a strong argument for expanding the British welfare state in respect to paid maternity leave to ‘bring us into line with the Common Market…one of the main arguments for going into the Common Market was that we would harmonize our social security benefits, which in many cases, on the Continent, are superior to ours’.97 Hamilton also argued for gender equality in pension schemes, aware that Britain’s social policies were weaker than those of other European Member States. Although neither paid maternity leave nor equal pensions were included under the Sex Discrimination Act, subsequent legislation addressed both issues directly. Once Labour returned to government in 1974, Castle, as Secretary of State for Social Services, took steps to amend existing social legislation, and Labour’s ‘Social Contract’ promoted employment equality beyond equal pay.98 In debating further legislation, Members of Parliament demonstrated the pressure on Britain to come into line with other EEC countries. These efforts also revealed a shift in thinking about the position of British women (and especially married women) as workers. The Social Security Amendment Bill of 1974 attempted both to fulfil Castle’s earlier promise to eliminate gender discrimination in pensions. Alongside increasing pensions, the Bill aimed to eliminate the gender discrimination embedded in the 1973 Social Security Act which had come under criticism from the European Commission. The new Bill required that married working women contribute, just as men did, implicitly recognizing married women’s independence as wage-earners. Debating the Bill in the House of Commons in 1974, Conservative Members attacked it for imposing too great a financial burden on married women, and depriving them of a choice, but did not question the legitimacy of married women’s work or argue for their dependence on men, as many had done earlier. Robert Boscawen, for example, although he could not admit that married women might want to work (‘they work because they need to increase the family income’), spoke for retaining the ‘married woman’s option’ ‘[because] they want their independence’ and should have the choice of whether to contribute. Boscawen implied that given that women and men did not earn equal pay, requiring married women to contribute at the same level as men would deprive families of necessary income.99 Conservative Kenneth Clarke echoed that married women’s choice to abstain from contributing at the full rate was ‘not an old-fashioned notion of dependence on their part. It is practical common sense, bearing in mind the finances of their husbands’.100 Although adopting the language of choice and independence may have been a strategy to win over women’s advocates in Parliament, it suggested how the terms of discussion had begun to shift towards recognition of the fact of married women’s employment, under the influence of European and now British initiatives. The Labour Government’s Employment Protection Bill likewise sought to bring Britain into line with EEC countries while also demonstrating government officials’ growing recognition of women’s and mother’s status as legitimate workers. The Act provided the first paid maternity leave in Britain and provided for the reinstatement of women in the same job following maternity leave, along with strengthening trade unions, collective bargaining, and worker representation.101 The Act constituted a historic recognition that women could be mothers and workers simultaneously. Speaking in the House of Lords in August 1975, Labour Lord Douglas Houghton praised the Bill’s provisions for maternity leave and pay as an enhancement of the Sex Discrimination Bill, whose opportunities could not be realized ‘unless we are to deal with women as mothers …We are told that we are very much behind the rest of Europe in this respect and that other countries have gone much further and faster than ourselves’.102 Conservative (Baronness) Joan Vickers, speaking in support of paid maternity leave, also compared the relatively weak British welfare state to continental European social policies. Vickers worried that ‘if the employers have to pay equal pay and [maternity leave pay],…they will discriminate against…particularly younger women and…will take on women who are not of child-bearing age’. Vickers pointed to European norms and practices in speaking for the Bill, referencing the 1972 EEC Report on the Employment of Women: ‘Maternity should be viewed as a social function and not as an occupational disadvantage’. As Vickers point out, ‘now that we are in the EEC…all other countries except Southern Ireland and ourselves make legal provision for leave, generally about 14 weeks, and for maintenance of income and compensation for loss of earnings’. Vickers argued that Britain’s maternity leave policy should follow that of other EEC countries that gave their benefits through state social security schemes, rather than impose additional burdens on employers.103 For both Houghton and Vickers, the EEC provided a model for equal opportunity that obligated Britain to catch up and showed again how British membership in the EEC influenced further government initiatives that gradually broadened the scope of the British welfare state. Conclusion Although historians have paid little attention to it, Britain’s obligation to comply with Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome in joining the EEC, combined with pressure from women’s rights advocates within Britain, produced a major debate in government over the relationship between gender, work, family, and social policy and drove reform on a fundamental dimension of labour relations. Yet the pressure of European membership hardly ended with the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 or with Britain’s accession to the EEC in 1973. European membership continued to drive policy reform in the early 1970 s, as Britain found itself under the obligation to transpose European Directives into national legislation and meet the standards of other European members. Although long resistant to expanding the British welfare state along continental lines, the pressure of European institutions led Britain to take steps in precisely that direction, with legislation equalizing pension schemes and establishing paid maternity leave along with protections for pregnant workers. Indeed, membership in the European Community required that Britain adopt more ‘woman friendly’ policies in the early years of membership. Yet legislation constituted only one dimension of the transmission of transnational norms. Another concerned how EEC membership facilitated learning about gender equality and how the discourses of government officials on the relationship between women, work, marriage, and family evolved. Although employers continued to resist equal pay and found ways to avoid it, government officials’ and Members of Parliament’s views began to evolve. In contrast to the reluctance with which British government officials viewed the need for meeting the EEC requirement of equal pay in the 1960 s, by the mid-1970 s, Labour officials and some Conservatives gradually had begun to acknowledge the need to make it possible for women to be both mothers and workers. The requirement that Britain accepts EEC standards and brings its social policies into line with other Member States could be seen to influence the assumptions of government officials and political leaders about the relationship between gender, work, and family. These actors began to show signs of acknowledging the legitimacy of women—including the legitimacy of married women and mothers—as economic actors in a period in which the EEC itself made significant steps in the direction of gender equality. Footnotes 1 For critiques of the recent European Union record on gender equality, see Anna Van der Vleuten, The Price of Gender, Equality. Member States and Governance in the European Union (Aldershot, 2007); Catherine Hoskyns, Integrating Gender: Women, Law and Politics in the European Union (London, 1996); Sophie Jacquot, Egalité au Nom du Marché? (Brussels, 2014). 2 Treaty of Rome, <http://www.hri.org/docs/Rome57/Part3Title08.html> As the Article stated, ‘“[P]ay” means the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives, directly or indirectly, in respect of his employment from his employer…Equal pay without discrimination based on sex means: (a) that pay for the same work at piece rates shall be calculated on the basis of the same unit of measurement; (b) that pay for work at time rates shall be the same for the same job’. 3 See Steven Fielding, The Labour Governments 1964-1970, Volume 1: Labour and Cultural Change (Manchester, 2003). Feminist scholars have downplayed the EEC’s influence on Britain’s Equal Pay Act. Kay M. Fraser, Some or Different. Equal Politics in the Workplace (Aldershot, 1999); Elizabeth M. Meehan, Women’s Rights at Work: Campaigns and Policy in Britain and the United States (London, 1985), 85–97. 4 The Ministry of Labour was known as the Ministry of Employment and Productivity between 1968 and 1970 and subsequently became the Ministry of Employment. 5 Alan Milward, The UK and the European Community, Volume 1. The Rise and Fall of a National Strategy (London, 2002). 6 See for example, David Gowland and Arthur Turner, Reluctant Europeans: Britain and European Integration 1945-1998 (Harlow, 2000); Hugo Young, This Blessed Plot. Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (London, 1999). On the complex history of Britain’s relationship to the EEC, see also Brian Harrison, Seeking a Role. The United Kingdom 1951-1970 (Oxford, 2009); Milward, The UK and the European Community; Stephen George, Britain and European Integration Since 1945 (Oxford, 1991). 7 Pat Thane, ‘Towards Equal Opportunities? Women in Britain since 1945’, in Terry Gourvish and Alan O’Day, Britain Since 1945 (London, 1991), 194. Percentages are derived from Table 9.2 ‘Census and Departmental Estimates of Working Population. Great Britain 1951-1981’. As Thane suggests (193) these data may underestimate both male and female activity. A sample of national insurance data yields these figures for women’s labour force participation: 34 per cent in 1951, 36 per cent in 1961, 40 per cent in 1966, and 39 per cent in 1971 (there are no comparable figures for 1981). 8 Dierdre McClosky, ‘Paid Work’, Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, ed., Women in Twentieth Century Britain (Harlow, 2001), 170. 9 Figures on part-time women workers from Lewis, 65 (Table 3). 10 Helen McCarthy, ‘Women, Marriage and Paid Work in Post-war Britain’, Women’s History Review, 26 (2017), 46–61; Susan Pedersen, Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State in Britain and France, 1914-1945 (Cambridge, 1993), 293–356. McClosky, 168; Jane Lewis, ‘The Failure to Expand Childcare Provision and to Develop a Comprehensive Childcare Policy during the 1960s and 1970s’, Twentieth Century British History, 24 (2013), 249–74. 11 Bowlby, Child Care and the Growth of Love (London, 1953); Denise Riley, War in the Nursery (London, 1983). Jane Lewis argues, ‘[William Beveridge’s] conviction that adult women would normally be economically dependent on their husbands became embodied in the post-war social security legislation which in turn had a prescriptive effect’. Lewis, Women in Britain Since 1945: Women, Family, Work and the State in the Post-War Years (Oxford, 1992), 21. However Beveridge believed that because most married women did not work outside of the home in 1942, that social insurance should take that into account. Beveridge, Social Insurance and Allied Services. A Report by Sir William Beveridge (New York, 1942), 49 (para. 107). I thank Pat Thane for this more nuanced version of Beveridge’s plan. 12 Thane, Britain Since 1945, 191, 196. (Lady) Nancy Seear, Veronica Roberts, and John Brock, A Career for Women in Industry? (London, 1964). 13 Harold Smith, ‘The Problem of “Equal Pay for Equal Work” in Great Britain During World War II’, Journal of Modern History, 53 (1981), 652, 655, 658; Helen Glew, Gender, Rhetoric and Regulation. Women’s Work in the Civil Service and the London County Council, 1900-1955 (Manchester, 2016); Meehan, Women’s Rights at Work, 64. 14 Harold L. Smith, ‘The Politics of Conservative Reform: The Equal Pay Issue 1945-1955’, The Historical Journal, 35 (1992), 401–415. Anne Perkins, Red Queen (London, 2003), 327; Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Women in Twentieth Century Britain, 196. In 1961 55 per cent of public sector workers were women. Rebecca M. Blank, ‘Public Sector Growth and Labour Market Flexibility’ in Blank, ed., Social Protection Versus Economic Flexibility. Is There a Trade Off? (Chicago, 1994), 228, 237. On the story of the Conservative support for equal pay, see Alan Potter, ‘The Equal Pay Campaign Committee: A Case Study of a Pressure Group’, Political Studies, 5 (1957), 49–64; Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, ‘Explaining the Gender Gap. The Conservative Party and Women’s Vote, 1945-1964’, in Martin Francis, and Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, eds, The Conservatives and British Society 1880-1990 (Cardiff, 1996). 15 See unsigned draft memorandum, 1 September 1961, LAB [Ministry of Labour] 10/1616 Equal Pay Aspects of the EEC, The National Archives, Kew (hereafter TNA). On the wage gap in the Netherlands, see Archives du Conseil des Ministres CM2 1961, 370, Document de la Commission V CM2 1289/61 concernant l’égalité de rémunération entre la main d’œuvre masculin et féminin. Situation juridique dans les six pays de la CEE, 12; on France, Olivier Marchande and Claude Thélot, Le Travail en France 1800-2000 (Paris, 1997). German women’s pay was about 45 per cent of men’s. Ute Frévert, Women in German History (New York; Oxford, 1989), 277. 16 Letter to George Woodcock, General Secretary of the TUC from the Minister of Labour 30 July 1961, LAB 10/1616, TNA. TUC, ′Equal Pay in the Common Market. Progress Report′,. Women in Trade Unions: Survey and Report of the 37th Annual Conference of the Representatives of Trade Unions Catering for Women Workers (London, 1967). 17 See Helen Laville, ‘“Woolly, Half-baked and Impractical?” British Responses to the Commission on the Status of Women and the Convention on the Political Rights of Women 1947-1967’, Twentieth Century British History, (2011), 1–23. 18 See Trades Union Congress. 1962. ‘Annual Report’ (London, 1962), 202. <http://www.unionhistory.info/britainatwork/emuweb/objects/nofdigi/tuc/imagedisplay.php?irn=6015817&reftable=ecatalogue&refirn=6015699> accessed 14 March 2017; American Consulate, Strasbourg, France. Foreign Service Dispatch No. 106, 4 November 1955 to Department of State, Washington, D.C. on Britain’s concerns about the European Social Charter. I thank Professor Mai’a Cross for sharing this document. 19 See: <www.ec.europe/archives/emu_history/documents/treaties/rometreaty2.pdf> accessed 14 March 2017. 20 Unsigned draft memorandum 9 March 1962, ‘Draft Paper to Ministers on the Equal Pay Obligation of the Treaty of Rome’, LAB 10/1616, TNA. My emphasis. 21 Interventions of Miss M. Dehareng and Miss G. P Wood, in TUC, Equal Pay in the Common Market, 45–46 and 54. 22 Intervention of Miss Chipchase, in TUC, Equal Pay in the Common Market, 55. 23 ‘Joint Inquiry into Equal Pay by Department of Employment and Productivity, the TUC and the Confederation of British Industries’, T [Treasury] 328/338 ‘Equal Pay 1969’, TNA. Letter from Mr Barrows, FCO to A. M. Morgan, Department of Employment and Productivity in LAB 13/2616, TNA. 24 ‘Joint Inquiry into Equal Pay’, 43. 25 ‘Joint Inquiry into Equal Pay’, 46. 26 See Confidential Memo of the Cabinet Management Committee, H. D. Walsh 25 July 1969 in T 328/339 ‘Equal Pay 1969’. TNA; Letter from C. A. Larson (Department of Employment and Productivity) to J. A. Robinson (FCO) 2 October 1969 in FCO 30/270 ‘Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome’, TNA. 27 On public opinion, see McCarthy, ‘Women, Marriage and Paid Work’. See also, Anonymous, ‘Barbara’s Winner—Equal Pay’ in The Evening Standard, 8 August 1969 on public opinion surveys carried out by the Opinion Research Centre, showing that 79 per cent of respondents supported equal pay in 1969. 28 Memorandum from Mr Simons to Mr Larson, 8 September 1961, LAB 10/1616, TNA. 29 Memorandum from Mr Simons to Mr Larson, 8 September 1961; Note for the Chairman, signed JGO 19 February 1962, T 311/399 Common Market Negotiations 6th Meeting Equal Pay, TNA. 30 Memorandum of H. A. Harding to Mr Mark 9 February 1962, T 311/399, TNA; Note for the Chairman, signed JGO, 19 February 1962, T 311/399, TNA. 31 M. W. Kirby ‘The Economic record since 1945’, in Gourvish and O’Day, 11–13. 32 Unsigned memorandum 14 February 1962, LAB 13/1634, UK/EEC Negotiations on Equal Pay 1961–64, TNA. 33 Unsigned memorandum 9 March 1962, LAB 10/1616, TNA. 34 Unsigned memoranda 9 March 1962 and 29 March 1962, LAB 10/1616, TNA, and Ministry of Labour Report, Implications of the Introduction of Equal Pay Should the United Kingdom Join the European Economic Community, 6 April 1962, T 311/32 Incomes Policy, TNA. 35 Unsigned memorandum 9 March 1962, LAB 10/1616, TNA; unsigned memorandum from Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (DCH Abbott) to the Secretary (Muller) 18 April 1962 on the consequences of equal pay, T 311/32, TNA. 36 Memorandum from John Walley of the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance 20 February 1962 to Sir T. Padmore, Minister of Labour, T 311/399, TNA. 37 Unsigned memorandum by Ministry of Labour revised 17th April 1962, T 311/32, TNA; unsigned memorandum 29 March 1962 on Equal Pay, LAB 10/1616, TNA. See also Memorandum 24 May 1962 from Barnes to the Solicitor LAB 10/ 1724, Common Market: Consideration of Equal Pay Legislation, TNA. Barnes’ estimates of the overall costs of equal pay varied between 350 million pounds to 450 million pounds. 38 Report of B. E. Fensome, ‘Equal Pay for Women’, 2 September 1969, T 227/3106 ‘Implementation of Equal Pay for Women’, TNA. Unequal retirement ages and pensions brought British cases before the ECJ on several occasions. See for example, Foster v. British Gas (ECJ Case C188/89), Warrington and Humphries v. Lloyd’s Bank (ECJ Case 69/80), and Barber v. Guardian Royal Exchange (ECJ Case C-262/88). 39 Report from B. E. Fensome, Cabinet. Ministerial Committee on Social Security, SS (70) 34 and 35 Treatment of Pension Rights Under the Equal Pay Bill, 12 May 1970, T 227/3106, ‘Implications of Equal Pay for Women’, TNA; Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 27 May 1970, 1788. An equal pension law passed in 1974. 40 Ministry of Labour report of 6 April 1962, T 311/32, TNA. 41 Memorandum from E. W. Maude 18 June 1962, Common Market Negotiations Committee. Equal Pay, T 311/32, TNA. 42 See for example, Background notes on equal pay and the EEC, PQ [Parliamentary Questions] 1803/1969, TNA. 43 On the Labour Party’s appeal to women, see Fielding, 113 ff. 44 TUC. Equal Pay in the Common Market. Progress Report. 45 See for example, letter of 7 April 1967 from H. S. J. De Haas, Assistant Director of Labour and Social Affairs of the CBI to P. A. Mawson, Ministry of Labour; Letter of 19 April 1967 from P. A. Mawson’s letter to Miss E. Chipchase, Assistant, Organization Department, TUC, LAB 10/3131 ‘Equal Pay: Joint meetings with Trade Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry 1967’, TNA. 46 D. B. Smith, Note for the Record. Meeting with the CBI, 23 July 1968, LAB 10/2878 Joint Meetings of CBI and TUC, TNA. 47 Wilson, ‘Gender, Race, and the Ideal Labour Force’, in Louise Ryan and Wendy Webster, eds, Gendering Migration: Masculinity, Femininity and Ethnicity in Post-War Britain (London, 2008), 92–4. 48 See Court of Inquiry on strike of sewing machinists at Dagenham 1968, 27 June 1968 and 3 July 1968, LAB 10/3312, TNA; Court of Inquiry Conclusions, LAB10/3313, TNA. 49 ‘Progress in Narrowing Differentials’, November 1966, LAB 10/2878, TNA. This report claimed that women’s wages were rising faster than men’s wages between 1956 and 1966 and that women’s rate in engineering had risen from 78.7 to 88.8 per cent of men’s rates and in footwear manufacture from 73.8 to 81.9 per cent of men’s rate. See also letter from British Railways Board to J. T. Bird, Esquire, Ministry of Transport, 3 August 1966 and ‘Equal Pay in the Electricity Supply Industry’, 10 August 1966, LAB 10/2878, TNA. 50 Memo of P. A. Mawson to Mr Sullivan 30 November 1967, LAB 10/3131 TNA. 51 John Elliott, ‘Bank Rise is Big Step Towards Equal Pay’, Financial Times 28 September 1968 and reports from Transport Holding Company and the British Railways Board to J. T. Bird in the Ministry of Transport 17 August 1966 and 3 August 1966, respectively, on the status of equal pay in these services in LAB 112/34 ‘Equal Pay. Correspondence with the Women’s National Committee and press clippings’, TNA. See report on Equal Pay in the Electricity Supply Industry from the Ministry of Power [sic] Electricity Division, LAB 10/2878, TNA. 52 See correspondence with these organizations as well as letters from individual women to Ray Gunter, Labour Minister in 1967 and Barbara Castle from April 1968, LAB 10/2396, ‘Department of Employment and Productivity. Industrial Relations Files, Equal Pay, Correspondence with outside organizations’, TNA. On public support, see ‘Barbara’s Winner—Equal Pay’, Evening Standard (8 August 1969), showing that 79 per cent of respondents to surveys supported equal pay, in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women. Notes and Papers’, TNA. 53 H. D. Walsh, thought it would have clearly ‘undesirable effects’, but that given the government’s commitment to it, he did not advise that the Chancellor of the Exchequer oppose it. Walsh, Cabinet Management Committee, ‘Equal Pay. Memorandum by the First Secretary’. T 328/338 ‘Equal Pay 1969’, TNA; Report of R. G. Lavalle, ‘Equal Pay for Women’ 2 September 1969, T 227/3106 ‘Implementation of Equal Pay for Women’, TNA. 54 Secret memorandum from H. D. Walsh to the Chancellor [of the Exchequer], 3 September 1969, T 328/339 ‘Economic effects of equal pay’, TNA. 55 Extracts from a speech by Walker to the Annual Conference of the Women’s Advisory Committee of the Scottish TUC, East Kilbride. Department of Employment and Productivity Press Notice, 22 November 1969 in LAB 13/2616. 56 Walker to the Annual Conference. 57 Walker to the Annual Conference. 58 A. M. Morgan C. M. G. Department of Employment and Productivity 22 May 1969, FCO 30/270, Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome, TNA. 59 J. A. Robinson ‘Speaking Note’, 3 September 1969, FCO 30/270, TNA. 60 Memorandum from F. E. Figgures to Mr Hancock, 3 September 1969, T328/399, TNA. 61 Confidential Memo on Equal Pay for Women. Notes of a Meeting Held in Mr Locke’s Room, DEP, 1st August 1969, in T 328/338 Equal Pay, 1969, TNA. Interestingly, the Bill went beyond Article 119 by providing not only for equal pay but also for equal treatment ‘in terms and conditions of employment’, thus anticipating the EEC 1976 Equal Treatment Directive. 62 See, for example, Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 9 February 1970, c.958–959, intervention of Mr Ronald Bell, Conservative MP. 63 See Letter from Barbara Castle to Richard Crossman, Secretary of State for Social Services, 13 January 1970 and letter from J. A. Atkinson to M. C. Raff, Department of Employment and Productivity 19 January 1970 as well as other correspondence advising against including pensions in the bill in LAB 111/11 Department of Employment and Productivity and Department of Employment Incomes and Prices Division. Equal Pay Bill. Pension Rights, TNA. See also Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 9 February 1970, 915–916. 64 In 1954 Castle had jointly sponsored the equal pay bill for civil servants. 65 ′Cabinet report′, 24 September 1969, T328/399, TNA. 66 Extracts from Castle’s speech to the Labour Party Conference, 29 September 1969, T328/399, TNA. 67Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 9 February 1970, 924. 68Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 965, 967, Intervention of Robert Carr. 69Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 966–967, Intervention of Mr Ronald Bell. 70Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 792–973, Intervention of Jill Knight, Labour MP. 71Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 978, Intervention of Dr Shirley Summerskill, Labor MP. 72 The 1972 Office of Manpower Economics (OME) Report found that 68 per cent of collective agreements signed in 1970 specified lower wages or lower minimum wages for women working in jobs similar to men’s. OME, Equal Pay Report (London, 1972); ‘Progress Towards Equal Pay’, Extracts from Department of Employment Gazette (August, 1974) in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women Notes and Papers’, TNA. In 1976, women’s wages in Britain were among the lowest of EEC Members. Equal Opportunities Commission, Annual Report (London, 1976), 31. 73 See Department of Employment request to chief negotiating bodies in industries where the gender pay differential was more than 20 per cent and letters from various employers (the Fiberboard Packing Case Employers’ Association, the National Joint Industrial Council of the Asbestos Manufacturing Industry, for instance) responding to the request in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women. Notes and Papers’, TNA. 74 Letter from Harold Copeman, Treasury Undersecretary, to Ronald Macintosh, Department of Employment, 16 July 1971, T 342/234 TNA. 75 Letter from James Prior, Minister of State, Treasury to Robert Carr, Secretary of State for Employment (undated, but stamped by the Treasury 21 May 1971), T 342/234 TNA. 76 See, for example, Memorandum from O. J. Kellaway, 16 June 1972 in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women Notes and Papers’, TNA. On continued resistance to equal pay, see Ross Davies, ‘Still Signs of Male Hostility to Equal Pay Act’, Times (28 August 1975): 25, and Davies ‘Get Familiar with the Equal Pay Act’, Times (1 September 1975): 15. 77 A CBI pamphlet issued in August 1970 effectively endorsed regrading. ‘What is required is the use of job descriptions or classifications which make it clear that jobs previously gathered into one category in fact involve very different occupations and types of work’. ‘Equal Pay Notes for Guidance’ CBI Employment Advisory Service, No. 9. (28 August 1970), 3, in LAB 17/490, TNA. On the reclassification of women’s semi-skilled jobs at the rate of unskilled men’s jobs, see Susan Puddefoot, ‘Can We Make Equal Pay Work?’ Times (17 January 1973), 8. 78 Undated letter from Robert Carr stating that he was persuaded by DWG Wass’ letter of 31 July 1972 not to issue an order for accelerated implementation. T342/234 ‘Economic Effects of the Introduction of Equal Pay’, TNA. Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 840, 4 July 1972, 232–234. See also ‘Equal Pay Report to be Published Shortly’, Times (5 July 1972), 9; ‘Parliament Package Would Have Assisted Equal Pay’, Times (8 November 1972), 2. Maurice Macmillan (incoming Secretary of State for Employment) also rejected appeals for an order several months later. Macmillan claimed that there was no evidence that employers were seeking to evade the Equal Pay Act. Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 845, 7 November 1972, 804–806. See also ‘Hopes of Concession for Women Dashed’, Times (18 January 1973), 6; Editorial, ‘Equal Pay Problems’, Times (13 June 1973), 21; intervention of Dr Shirley Summerskill and Chichester Clark’s response, Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 866, 14 December 1973, 907–912. 79 From OME, Equal Pay Report, cited by Puddefoot. 80 In 1971 Conservatives proposed abolishing the wages councils now tasked with monitoring compliance with the Equal Pay Act, although this did not happen. Letter of James Prior to Robert Carr, Secretary of State for Employment (undated, but stamped by the Treasury 21 May 1971), T 342/234 TNA. 81Times Labour Reporter, ‘Employers Accused of Avoiding Equal Pay’, Times (3 June 1977), 3. 82 Robert Parker, ‘Employers Accused of Dodging on Equal Pay’, Times (22 May 1976), 2; Anonymous, ‘Women Car Inspectors Win Same Rates as Men at Vauxhall’, Times (23 March 1977), 9. 83 See Commission of the European Communities. ‘Draft of the Report of the Commission to the Council on the Application of the Principle of Equal Pay…in Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Situation on 31 December 1973’, Brussels 20 February 1974 in BN 80/8 Department of Health and Social Security. Insurance Division K and Social Security Policy Group…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay, TNA; Anonymous, ‘EEC Criticizes Britain on Pay Discrimination’, Times (25 July 1974), 5. 84 See CEE. Report on Application, 31 December 1973, in TNA B 80/8, 10–19. 85 My emphasis. 86 CEE. Report on Application, 31 December 1973, in B 80/8, 8, 9, 20, 21, TNA. Discussions of gender inequalities in British social security systems began in the fall of 1973 when the European Commission inquired on the application of equal pay. The ECJ ruling 80/70 concerned the case of Gabrielle Defrenne, a Belgian airline stewardess who complained of the unequal pensions offered by the Belgian airline, Sabena. 87 See ‘Proposal for a Council Directive on the Approximation of the Laws of ‘Member States for Men and Women Contained in Article 119 of the EEC Treaty’ in BN8/80 Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA. 88 See, for example, H. Davies, Department of Health and Social Security 24 October 1973 to Mr Fennell in BN 80/8 ‘Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA. See also letter from J. W. Mackley (Department of Employment) to P. Fennell 31 October 1973 on Proposed EEC Directive on Equal Pay in BN 80/8 ‘Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA, with hand written note from E. W. Wittemore stating that reforming pensions would ‘throw the occupational scheme into a turmoil which is quite unacceptable…’. 89 Undated ‘Note’ (very likely from November 1973) on Articles 3 and 4 of the Draft Directive in BN 80/8 TNA. See also ‘Note of a Meeting Held on 21 November 1973 at Alexander Fleming House to Discuss the Implication for Pensions of the Draft Directive on Equal Pay’, with representatives from DHSS and the Department of Employment, in BN 80/8, TNA. The participants agreed to press for redrafting the Directive to ensure that the scope of Article 119 would not be expanded. 90 Memo from E. W. Wittemore (DHSS) to C. A. Larsen, Department of Employment 7 December 1973 in BN 80/8, TNA. 91 See Letter from Dennis Sullivan, Department of Employment to Geoffrey Berg, Esquire in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2 July 1974 in BN 80/8, TNA. 92 Memo from E. G. Burdsall to D. S. Beaumont ‘Draft Directive on Equal Pay—Resolution of the European Parliament’, 3 June 1974 in BN 80/8 ‘Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA. 93 See Council Directive 75/117 EEC on Equal Pay. 94 Excerpts of untitled Green Paper, March 1974 in LAB 111/11, Department of Employment and Productivity and Department of Employment Incomes and Prices Division, TNA. 95 See Letter from Secretary of State for Employment [Robert Carr] to Sir Keith Joseph, Secretary of State for Social Services 25 January 1971 in LAB 111/11, TNA. Carr advocated minimal reforms that would ‘satisfy the protagonists of equal rights’ and ‘would enable us to withstand pressure for any more direct method for securing equality in this field’. See Anonymous, ‘Government’s Pension Policy Could Harm EEC Social Security Plans, Professor Says’, Times 10 November 1971, reporting on the interventions of Professor Richard Titmuss and an EEC advisor to the Commission at a conference on social policy and the Common Market and Dryden Gilling-Smith, ‘What to Do About Widows’, in Financial Times 2 November 1971. 96 See Memorandum by the Secretary of State for Employment, ‘Draft Paper for Home and Social Affairs Committee: Equal Opportunities for Men and Women: Pensions’, undated but preceded by an attached note by Mrs D. M. Kent, 29 January 1974 in LAB 111/11, TNA. The Memorandum strongly encouraged the incorporation of equal occupational pensions into equal opportunities legislation and pointed to the EEC implications, particularly the ECJ decision that opened the possibility of including occupational pension schemes as part of pay. 97 Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 863, 2 November 1973, 535. Hamilton further proposed that parental leave be extended to men. 98 On Labour’s commitment to pension reform, see for example, Letter from Peter Fennell to J. W. Mackley, Department of Employment, 18 April 1974 in BN 80/8 TNA. On Labour’s further initiatives to promote equal pay, see Memorandum from the Secretary of State for Employment of 24 April 1975 to Ron Howard, General Secretary of the Labour Party, LAB 8/3778 ‘Documents Related to the Drafting of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Bill, TNA. See also Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 884, 21 January 1975, 269. 99Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 876, 1 July 1974, 72–75. 100Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 876, 51–53. 101Parliamentary Debates (Commons) Intervention of Minister of State, Department of Employment, Mr Albert Booth, 886, 13 February 1975, 664–669. 102Parliamentary Debates (Lords), 363, 7 August 1975, 1901–03. France passed maternity leave legislation in 1913 and provided paid maternity leave in 1928. 103Parliamentary Debates (Lords), 363, 7 August 1975, 1903–07. See also the intervention of Labour Lord George Wigg in this session, 1908–09. © The Author [2017]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Twentieth Century British History Oxford University Press

International Institutions and Domestic Reform: Equal Pay and British Membership in the European Economic Community

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© The Author [2017]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
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Abstract

Abstract Despite having been overlooked in the standard histories of the UK and the European Community, gender politics and gender policies played a significant role in Britain's applications for membership in the EEC in the 1960s. Joining the European Community required that Britain comply with Article 119 on equal pay for equal work. A combination of domestic feminist and labour movement activism, the commitment of unions and parties, and the internationalization of formal commitments to women's rights constituted internal and external pressures for the passage of an Equal Pay Act in 1970. The article argues that the formal legislative commitment to gender pay equality, changing public attitudes towards women's employment, and European membership impacted further domestic social policy reform and slowly began to shift government attitudes towards gender equality. Despite recent criticism, the European Union has been widely recognized as a global leader in the promotion of gender equality norms.1 Indeed, Article 119 of the 1957 Treaty of Rome formally required Member States to establish gender pay equality, a path-breaking initiative that led to numerous directives, resolutions, and jurisprudence.2 Like other Member states, Britain was subject to European standards and the effort to comply with many Treaty requirements featured prominently in Britain’s decade-long effort to join the European Economic Community (EEC) in the 1960s. Yet, scholars have largely ignored the importance of equal pay in Britain’s path to membership; nor has European pressure featured in discussions of Britain’s Equal Pay Act of 1970.3 Historians have documented feminist and labour activism in favour of gender pay equality, but what role did compliance with this new European standard play in preparations for membership? As Britain began negotiations with EEC representatives, complying with the Rome Treaty brought wage equality to the forefront of government discussions about membership, deeply preoccupied British officials, and facilitated the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1970. This article analyses how Britain’s successive applications for membership in the EEC pushed a diverse group of actors including officials in the Ministry of Employment and Productivity, Department of Social Security, Foreign Office, the Treasury, and members of Parliament to accept the need for equal pay legislation, despite initial resistance.4 It makes three general arguments. First, gender politics and gender-based policies played a far more significant role in Britain’s preparation for membership in the EEC than scholars have recognized. Although officials viewed compliance with Article 119 as an unwelcome complication, the decision to join the EEC in the 1960 s required them to take equal pay seriously during the application period. Secondly, growing British feminist and labour movement activism for equal pay, the advocacy of unions and parties, and women’s political interventions, alongside government initiatives, provided critical support for the creation of a domestic legal framework. Although the prospect of EEC membership was not the only factor, British officials and politicians found themselves caught between both domestic and external pressures for reform. Thirdly, government officials’ discussions of equal pay in the context of the EEC negotiations revealed the limits of the British social policy paradigm. Once Britain joined the EEC, European membership drove further policy reform and in turn led to a perceptible shift in thinking about the relationship between gender, work, and family. A ‘Reluctant European’ From the late 1940 s until the early 1960 s, Britain kept its distance from the European Community, fearful of diminishing its sovereignty and concerned about maintaining economic and political ties to the empire and Commonwealth.5 By 1961 however, the perception of relative economic decline made joining the EEC increasingly appealing and Britain applied for membership. After the French rejected their first and second applications in 1963 and 1967, Britain again sought membership following De Gaulle’s resignation in 1969, finally joining in 1973.6 Throughout successive applications during the 1960 s, compliance with Article 119 provoked intense debate within the government as well as among employers and civil society groups. This debate occurred in the context of women’s steadily increasing labour force participation in the post-war years, from 33 per cent of the working population in 1951 to 35 per cent in 1961, to 37 per cent in 1966, and to 38 per cent in 1971.7 The proportion of married women aged 15–59 years in paid employment also grew from 26 per cent in 1951, to 35 per cent in 1961, and to 49 per cent in 1971.8 The proportion of part-time women workers (as a percentage of all women in the labour force) simultaneously increased steadily from 12 per cent in 1951 to 26 per cent in 1961 and to 35 per cent in 1971 and partly accounted for the increase of all employed women.9 Although some historians have documented the growing acceptance of women’s (especially married women’s) paid work in the 1950 s and 1960 s, others have shown continued support for the male breadwinner model in employment practices and social policy.10 The widely publicized views of psychologists such as John Bowlby on the negative effects of working mothers’ absence on child development implied that women who worked outside the home were bad mothers.11 Although the government encouraged women’s paid employment to address the post-war labour shortage, it also encouraged them to leave high wage defence industries for low wage work in textiles; gender segregation and discrimination at work were widespread.12 Moreover, Britain’s relatively poor history of promoting equal rights did not make compliance with European Community norms easy or obvious. Women had demanded equal pay since the nineteenth century, but until the 1960 s, they had few allies within the ranks of either organized labour or the political parties. Parliament voted twice to equalize the pay of public sector workers, but Conservative Prime Ministers (Stanley Baldwin in 1936 and Winston Churchill in 1944) called for votes of confidence that reversed these initiatives.13 Although the Labour Party endorsed equal pay in 1944, once in power from 1945, it backed down, fearful of imposing too great a burden on the economy. Thanks to a renewed campaign on the part of Conservative Members of Parliament Thelma Cazalet-Keir and Mavis Tate, women public sector workers benefited from legislation in 1954 to raise their wages incrementally to parity with men’s wages by 1961.14 Meanwhile, in the private sector, women’s wages lagged behind men’s wages to an astonishing degree: women earned 54 per cent of men’s wages in 1960, less than French women (64 per cent) or Dutch women (between 65 and 75 per cent).15 Internal pressure for reform mounted. In 1961, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) formally supported wage parity for all workers, and the 1963 Working Women’s Charter issued by the TUC Women’s Conference demanded equal pay for work of equal value, improved job opportunities, and training.16 Developing international equality norms in the 1950 s and 1960 s bolstered these initiatives. In 1951 the International Labor Organization (ILO) issued its Convention 100 on Equal Pay mandating equal pay for work of equal value, and over the next 10 years the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women issued a series of conventions on women’s rights. The European Social Charter in 1961 asserted the right to work in safe and healthy conditions, the rights to unionization, to strike, and bargain collectively, along with optional clauses on equal pay, social security, and the prohibition of child labour.17 Yet Britain remained resistant to accepting such international agreements, only ratifying the ILO’s 1951 Equal Pay Convention in 1971. Although it signed the European Social Charter in 1962, Britain explicitly opted out of the clause guaranteeing the right of men and women to equal pay.18 These developments illustrated Britain’s distance from international initiatives on gender equality even as it attempted to join the European Community. Ultimately Britain’s equal pay legislation constituted less the acceptance of an EEC norm than the instrumental pursuit of national self-interest. Defining Equal Pay At each successive application for EEC membership, debates within the Ministry of Employment and Productivity, the Department of Social Security, the Treasury, and the Foreign Office revealed the urgency to comply with Community norms on gender pay equality. Yet what did ‘equal pay’ mean to these interlocutors? The term did not imply acceptance of gender equality more broadly and indeed it carried different meanings for different actors. The foreign ministers negotiating the Treaty of Rome had debated whether to follow the ILO’s formulation of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ or the concept of ‘equal pay for equal work,’ ultimately accepting the latter formulation.19 British ministerial officials also debated the meaning of the term and revealed how assumptions about gender structured the labour market and job classifications. Early in these discussions, the Conservative government, backing employers’ interests, supported the notion of equal pay for equal work, a definition that would permit gender-based job segregation and job classifications to continue. Writing in 1962, one official in the Department of Employment and Productivity boldly pointed to the advantages to employers of such a formulation, ‘only jobs indiscriminately performed by men and women need carry the same rate…jobs traditionally carried out by women only [can] continue to carry the existing women’s rate although it would presumably have to be rechristened the rate for the job’.20 So long as gender job segregation existed, equal pay need not apply. Labour movement activists took a different view. Echoing the 1963 Working Women’s Charter, speakers at the 1967 TUC Women’s Conference directly addressed compliance with the Treaty of Rome. They criticized Article 119 and called for adopting the ILO’s formulation of equal pay for work of equal value, in line with the TUC’s position. One speaker noted the restrictive interpretation of ‘same work’ that had led employers and governments in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy to address wage equality only when ‘men and women performed exactly the same task, under the same conditions, in the same firm or even in the same plant or workshop’.21 Another worried that if Article 119 was applied narrowly, ‘3 million women in the UK would be left out because they were not doing what could be classified as the same work as men’.22 Thus Britain’s application for membership in the EEC provided an opportunity for feminist labour activists to press their case for a particular definition of equal pay. The problem of defining equal pay also appeared in a joint inquiry into wage differentials between men and women conducted by the Department of Employment and Productivity, TUC officials, and the Confederation of British Industries (CBIs) in 1969.23 Firms’ interpretations varied enormously and included, ‘jobs performed interchangeably, jobs comparable to others done by men; jobs done by men in particular firms or elsewhere in the industry; jobs where an agreed male rate was specified, where men and women might not be doing exactly the same work…’24 Some employers argued that indirect costs should be figured into ‘equal pay’; others argued for job evaluation and equal pay for work of equal value as ‘a more realistic basis for introducing equal pay’. They mentioned ‘the higher overheads attached to the employment of women and the need to take account of this when assessing “equal value” of work…[some] expressed strong opinions about the lesser value of women employees in terms of returns on recruitment and administrative costs, training and provision of facilities’. Women, they argued, typically aimed at ‘a fixed level of earnings with consequent failure to respond to incentive schemes’ and were unwilling to work overtime. They also cited women’s tendency to retire earlier than men, greater absenteeism and interruptions to their working lives and high turnover. Some believed that ‘in the event of equal pay women would take advantage of their higher rates of pay to work shorter hours’. Such assumptions about women workers failed to recognize how decades of gender-based socialization and discrimination influenced women’s professional choices.25 Although by October 1969, Treasury officials recommended the phrase ‘the same or broadly similar work’ to be faithful to the EEC definition while also providing some flexibility for employers, differences over the definition of equal pay persisted, up to the ratification of the bill.26 The debate over equal pay in Government likewise revealed strong reservations about its consequences. Debating Wage Equality British ministerial officials’ discussions of compliance with Article 119 in the 1960 s demonstrated their fears that equal pay would place the British economy on a path to decline and would place new demands on the British welfare state. They also revealed the persistence of decades-old assumptions about women’s dependence on male breadwinners even as increasing numbers of women entered paid employment. Although public opinion allegedly supported equal pay for men and women, government officials viewed the idea with scepticism and anxiety.27 And the fact that the original ‘Six’ Members of the EEC had not achieved pay equality led some officials to soft pedal the Treaty requirement. Alongside arguments that evoked increasing labour costs, inflation, the harm to productivity and hostility of employers and male workers, the potential effect of equal pay on the British welfare state repeatedly appeared as a stumbling block, demonstrating how closely gender, wages, work, and family were linked to British social policy. All demonstrated how fundamentally ideas about gender, work, the family, and welfare were tied up with larger questions about the British economy and potential membership in the EEC. The negotiating briefs and ministerial reports that government officials prepared under the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan displayed both anxieties about the need to observe the letter of the Treaty of Rome and a reluctance to do so, particularly since none of the six original Member States had achieved equal pay. France had mandated equal pay briefly after the war and the principle appeared in the Preambles of the Constitutions of the Fourth and Fifth Republics, but in 1950 backed away from supporting it. Germany and Italy both incorporated the principle into their post-war constitutions, but had no legislation or means of enforcement. Over the course of the early 1960s, the European Commission agreed to accept Member States’ formal promise to observe Article 119 (as opposed to demonstrating implementation) to make the EEC fully operational. Thus, during the first application, British officials, well aware of the European partners’ weak commitment, instructed their negotiators to do only what was ‘absolutely necessary’ to comply with Article 119; many preferred to leave the matter to the market and to negotiation between industry and labour, rather than legislate.28 An official in the Department of Employment and Productivity urged them to avoid, at all costs, ‘any larger commitments than those required by the letter of the Treaty of Rome. For instance, any attempt to extend equal pay to men and women doing work of equal value would be unacceptable’.29 Yet as negotiations proceeded, Treasury and Labour ministry officials progressively recognized that despite the non-compliance of the original six Member States, they had to take the matter seriously. Anxieties about gender pay equality as a problem of the cost to employers and the government loomed large in their discussions.30 In 1962 a Labour Ministry official estimated the cost at between £300 and £400 million, between 4 and 5 per cent of the wages and salary bill. This was hardly a trivial issue; despite growth in the 1950 s and 1960 s, compared to other EEC members, the British economy lagged between 1950 and the 1970 s on measures of gross domestic product growth, labour productivity, and industrial production.31 The potential resistance of male workers led another official from the Ministry of Labour to argue that wage equality ‘will give no joy to [the] male employees and the problem will be to get people to face up to it….’.32 Indeed, the gender dynamics of raising women’s wages weighed heavily in officials’ reports. Concerns about the difficulties of introducing equal pay led Treasury officials to propose maintaining job segregation, reproducing the very practices that had served to maintain gender discrimination for decades. As one official argued, ‘With a little ingenuity, employers…might be able to segregate most of their women workers.…thus avoiding the necessity for increasing their wages [my emphasis]’.33 Others implied that legislation would infringe upon freedom of contract and would interfere with the statutory wage regulation by Wages Councils and Boards, a position shared by many British employers and by at least some in the organized labour movement.34 Still others feared that EEC membership, combined with equal pay would force Britain to adopt a more robust welfare state. These concerns showed how debates about gender, wage equality, and work were linked to British social policy. If equal pay was introduced, they claimed, men would demand increased social security payments ‘not related to the job but to other social considerations’, because ‘the financial responsibilities of men are greater than those of women’.35 John Walley, Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, likewise believed that ‘It might encourage other legislative ambitions with a social content in the wages field, e.g. severance pay, sick pay, period of notice’ or to the ‘reshaping of our own social services along continental lines, especially… family allowances’.36 Others unashamedly revealed the gender biases and limits of existing British social policy, noting that married women’s lower rates of contribution to pension funds (if they contributed at all) and differential benefits from their husbands’ contributions would be ‘hard to justify’ once equal pay was introduced.37 Department of Social Security officials argued that the lower mandatory retirement age for women, combined with their greater life expectancy meant that, ‘women would constitute… a yet greater strain on funds if pensions were also equalized’. There was ‘more likely to be an outcry in favour of equal retiring ages for men and women’, but it was unlikely that women’s retirement age would be brought up to men’s, rather men’s retirement age would be lowered, placing even more pressure on budgets.38 These officials recognized that discrimination against married women, frequently denied membership in pension schemes under the ages of 25 or 30 years, would have to end if equal pension rights were established.39 Such comments not only revealed assumptions about the gender of breadwinners but the extent to which British social policy in the 1960 s differed from that of its European neighbours. In this context, it was not surprising that Labour Ministry officials who met with EEC representatives in April 1962 were relieved that EEC negotiators seemed to recognize the difficulties of implementing equal pay and acknowledge it ‘as an exercise in the practicable rather than the achievement of an ideal’.40 Keen to send the right signals to the EEC, the British counselled caution with respect to both trade unions and employers. Negotiator E. W. Maude noted in June 1962 that ‘to keep up the tempo of negotiations… the Lord Privy Seal was obliged to tell the 6 [original members] that the UK was prepared to support equal pay’, but he was concerned that this ‘not leak out before the TUC and the British employers’ confederation [have] found out about it’.41 Similar levels of resistance, caution, and efforts to limit the costs to Britain lingered in subsequent applications, although signs of changing attitudes could be seen.42 Following the French veto of Britain’s application in 1963, the Labour Party, although divided about the wisdom of joining the EEC, in a special effort to recruit women, made equal pay a part of its 1964 election platform and once in power set up an interdepartmental committee to study it.43 The newly appointed Discrimination Against Women Study Group made recommendations in favour of equal pay to the Party’s National Executive Committee and in 1967 the Women’s Conference of the TUC urged legislation and British ratification of ILO Convention 100.44 In joint meetings between July 1966 and 1967, the TUC and the CBIs continued to disagree about how to define equal pay.45 But by spring 1967, Ministry of Employment and Productivity officials urged both parties to prepare a joint resolution to enable the government to move forward with the EEC negotiations. Although the CBI and the TUC both preferred that wages be negotiated through collective agreements, both recognized that legislation was inevitable. Meeting with the CBI in July 1968 Barbara Castle, newly appointed Minister for Employment and Productivity, well known as a Eurosceptic, acknowledged that equal pay was necessary but would have be phased in gradually, taking account of the economic situation.46 During this period, labour conflict added internal pressure for government action on the issue, and in some sectors, employers implemented equal pay. Labour Conflict and Internal Pressure During the period that Britain negotiated EEC membership, domestic labour unrest highlighted continued gender tensions over work and wages. In a handful of strikes male textile workers and bus drivers fought to maintain gender segregation.47 In the famous 1968 strike against the Ford Motor Assembly plant at Dagenham, women protested a re-grading scheme that would pay them 15 per cent less than men in the same category. Women strikers did not invoke the equal pay dimension of the EEC, but concerned that revising the grading scheme might place some women in grades higher than men’s and diminish men’s status, their male allies supported equal pay instead. Employers raised women’s salaries to 92 per cent of men’s.48 Yet in some areas, old assumptions about gender and work that guided wage agreements began to fade, particularly in the public sector. By 1966, women in administrative, technical and clerical posts in some areas of public transport, the railway industry, and textiles won equal pay.49 In 1967, the Transport and General Workers’ Union and the National Union of Public Employees, joined in a motion at the TUC Women’s Conference, condemning the government for omitting equal pay from its incomes policy and urged women workers to press for the abolition of women’s rates. The British Railways Board agreed in October 1967 that equal pay for equal work should apply in railway workshops.50 And in September 1968 the Joint Negotiating Council for Banking announced a national pay scale in banking, and wage increases of 7 per cent for men and 10.5 per cent for women. Although this increase constituted a strategic measure designed to remedy a shortage of bank employees by attracting new female staff to banks, it brought women bank employees closer to wage parity.51 These developments bolstered the growing support for equal pay as did pressure throughout 1967 and 1968 from women’s groups such as the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, the National Federation of Professional Workers, the Liverpool Assembly of Women, and the League of Jewish Women, as well as unions such as the Chesterfield Branch Clerical and Administrative Workers’ Union and the Newcastle and District Trades Council.52 Although neither women workers nor women in professional organizations evoked the equal pay dimension of the EEC, both groups’ claims for pay equality contributed to the growing internal pressure on government to comply with Article 119 of the Rome Treaty. The prospect of equal pay as a requirement of EEC membership moreover remained far more of a preoccupation for government officials preparing the negotiations. Treasury officials remained fearful that wage equality would be an economic and social disaster. They predicted an inflationary spiral, a balance of payments deficit of as much as £650 million, a negative effect on the family, increased unemployment, and damaged relations between government and employers.53 Some predicted that employers would raise men’s wages to restore wage differentials.54 Even a supporter of wage equality, Harold Walker, Labour Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department of Employment and Productivity, while acknowledging that equal pay would constitute ‘a major piece of social reform’ and remove the ‘cheap labour tag from women,’ blamed women’s lack of initiative for their failure to be employed in highly paid jobs.55 ‘This situation will only change when women themselves take a new attitude towards employment in higher paid trades and professions…’. Although Walker promoted job training, he revealed a traditional gender bias in voicing scepticism that women would take advantage of it for, ‘it must be admitted that lengthy training is unlikely to appeal to many girls who are looking forward to marriage and the raising of a family or employers who are looking for a reasonable return in terms of years of service or their investment in training’.56 He noted that some employers might attempt to raise women’s output by introducing machinery and thereby create some unemployment, but ‘some of the women displaced might return to their domestic duties’.57 Yet the need for legislation grew more urgent in the context of Britain’s third application to the EEC in April 1969. This was the broader setting in which Barbara Castle introduced equal pay legislation in February 1970. Legislating Equal Pay By 1969 ministry officials had come to accept the inevitability of legislation on equal pay as key to entering the EEC. As one official within the Department of Employment and Productivity stated, ‘[t]he UK cannot jeopardize its bargaining position in negotiations…by being very far behind the Community on equal pay’.58 Within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) a ‘speaking note’ for Castle observed, ‘equal pay… will become an inescapable commitment if we succeed in entering the EEC… For Her Majesty’s Government to take publicly a line that ran counter to the Rome Treaty would risk equal pay being raised by the Community in the negotiations…we do not want this’.59 Others emphasized avoiding any mention of equal pay by the Community negotiators ‘We can avoid this by doing all we can to appear to…meet the requirements of Article 119 in a reasonable period’. Even Treasury officials began to see that it was ‘not practicable for the Government to take an attitude which would put it out of line with most European countries of the EEC’.60 Still, the anxieties of officials in the Department of Employment and Productivity, the Treasury, and the Foreign Office shaped the final form of the Equal Pay Bill that Castle presented to Parliament in February 1970. In the summer of 1969, Department of Employment and Productivity officials meeting with representatives of the Treasury again raised the question of the definition of equal pay, proposing ‘a…narrow definition, i.e. to refer to the same or broadly similar work’, consistent with their efforts to do the bare minimum to comply with Article 119.61 The Bill thus appeased employers fearful of reduced wage flexibility. Accepting the CBI’s preferred definition, equal pay for equal work, the Bill’s wording, ‘equal pay for the same or broadly similar work’ enabled employers to continue segregating work by gender and avoid increasing women’s pay.62 On the other hand, in cases where a job evaluation scheme had shown jobs to be of equal value, it would be unlawful for the terms and conditions of employment to differ for men and women. Castle also compromised on the implementation date. Against the CBI’s demand for 7 years (to gradually phase in equal pay, giving employers time to regrade jobs) and the TUC’s demand for 3 years, Castle settled on 5 years. Finally, although she intended to include equal pensions in the bill, Castle bowed to the concerns of those in her party who feared that doing so would be too divisive, given concerns about the costs of expanding the British welfare state.63 Though not a supporter of the EEC, Castle was a strong defender of women’s rights and a supporter of equal pay. The bill she presented to Parliament reflected the tensions in her position. Building on almost a decade of study within the ministries on the importance of equal pay for Britain’s membership in the EEC, she used Britain’s third application strategically to argue the case for the law.64 In September 1969, responding to the argument that since other European Members had failed to establish gender pay equality Britain need not comply, she dryly pointed out in Cabinet, ‘the EEC countries accepted the equal pay obligation by their assent to Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome [;]…the [British] government’s proposals [are] intended to insure that the UK did not fall behind the EEC in this respect’.65 Again, at the Labour Party conference that month, she urged legislation to enable the Britain to come into line with ‘developing practice of members of the countries of the European Economic Community’.66 In Parliament, Castle revealed her fundamental belief in gender pay equality, famously arguing for the economic rationality of equal pay as the correction of an injustice and an efficient use of human capital.67 Castle’s argument provoked reactions from Members of Parliament who revealed their persistent assumptions of women’s dependence on male providers and once more evoked the threat of changes to the British welfare state. Conservative male Members cynically predicted that not only would employers be likely to restore previous pay differentials but ‘in some jobs, conditions of women’s superior productivity would lead to the unemployment of men’.68 One derided the bill as a form of ‘social engineering’, and a threat to men’s position in the family, arguing, ‘Men carry and must always carry the main economic burden of the community… .Such folly can only lead to the French position of massive [family] allowances…’.69 Even some Labour Members of Parliament worried about the possibility that women would be fired or would not be hired at all and voiced anxieties about the masculinization of women.70 Yet such arguments failed to carry the day; others saw equal pay as one step towards changing social attitudes. Labour Member Dr Shirley Summerskill proposed that the government quickly pass anti-discrimination legislation to complement the Equal Pay Act to ‘create a climate of opinion and alter peoples’ views of what is permissible behaviour’.71 The passage of the Equal Pay Act in May 1970, to be fully implemented in 1975, resolved one of the outstanding obstacles to British membership in the EEC. It also spurred the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975, under discussion since the late 1960s. But once equal pay became law, and Britain joined the EEC, did EEC membership continue to have an impact on further British policy reform and on attitudes towards the relationship between gender, family, and work? What Changed? If joining the EEC helped to push forward British legislation on equal pay, neither the EEC nor the Equal Pay Act radically transformed the gender paradigm according to which employers had operated for decades. Women made some 2,500 equal pay claims in the first 2 years of its implementation, leading to over a thousand cases brought before Industrial Tribunals. Although women’s wages rose to 76 per cent of men’s wages by 1977, they stagnated thereafter.72 Although some officials began to accept women’s employment and some Conservative women supported equal pay, many male Conservative officials’ view of equal remuneration as incompatible with government wages policy legitimized employers’ refusal to comply with the law. While the Conservative government, back in office in 1970, gave lip service to equal pay and monitored employers’ compliance with the Act, collective agreements continued to specify lower wages for women working in jobs similar to men’s.73 Conservatives blamed wage increases in industries where women were prominent for rising prices, suggesting that wage equality would cause inflation.74 One Treasury official worried about ‘the most startling increases in women’s rates… a time when we are searching for all means to limit the growth in costs’. The same official wished to see ‘how far certain jobs can be properly regarded as women’s work and not as a common grade.’75 Some employers simply insisted that their industries were ‘men’s industries’.76 Moreover the 5-year gap between the passage of the law and its implementation arguably gave employers time to regrade jobs to reinforce gender segregation and many undoubtedly did.77 Conservative Secretary of State for Employment Robert Carr successfully resisted appeals from the TUC and from Labour and Conservative women in Parliament to accelerate implementation of the new law by introducing an interim order that women’s pay rise to at least 90 per cent of men’s rates by the end of 1973. Carr partially justified his position by framing equal pay as a trade-off between male and female rates. The TUC was ‘by no means enthusiastic about the idea, as they recognize that… equal pay can only be implemented at the expense of male rates in real terms’. In Parliament, Minister of State Robin Chichester-Clark further revealed the extent of resistance in asserting that ‘there is no evidence that women are being exploited on a large scale’.78 And the benchmark 1972 Office of Manpower Economics (OME) Report on equal pay noted the persistence of ‘definite ideas about which jobs belonged to men and which to women…in so far as these restrictions are based on deep-rooted traditions and assumptions about appropriate roles for women, it seems unlikely that the Act alone will do much if anything to remove them…’.79 Indeed, the Act hardly produced radical changes in employers’ or Conservative government officials’ assumptions about gender.80 The fact that Britain’s entry into the EEC in 1973 coincided with a period of economic difficulty and anti-inflationary wage restraint and price controls also made it easier for some government officials and employers to ignore women’s right to equal pay. Despite Labour government officials’ efforts to promote wage equality once back in office in 1974, employers used government wage policy to avoid complying with the Act and believed that increasing women’s wages would deprive men of increases. In a telling statement of the perceived gender dynamics of equality measures, the first Annual Report of the Equal Opportunities Commission, established under the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, asserted as much. ‘In conditions of stringency, the plea for equality is sternly resisted on the grounds that there is no merit in robbing Peter to pay Pauline…’.81 Reluctant to deprive men of even modest increases, many employers continued to reclassify jobs so that they no longer appeared ‘broadly similar’, or created ‘red circle’, protected pay categories for men that enabled them to earn more than women at the same jobs.82 But this was not the whole story. Despite the persistence of discriminatory practices, Britain was now subject to EEC scrutiny and the obligation to transpose EEC legislation into British law led to further domestic policy reform on gender equality at work. Shortly after joining the EEC, in 1973 the European Commission criticized Britain, along with Denmark and the Irish Republic, for failing to take steps to end wage discrimination.83 In a report examining the extent to which new members had transposed EEC principles into national practice, the Commission pointed to two issues: the persistence of differential classifications and wage scales for male and female workers in collective agreements, and the stark differences between social security regimes for men and women.84 The Commission affirmed its broad interpretation of pay in Article 119: ‘pay shall mean the ordinary or basic minimum wage or salary or any other consideration whether in cash or in kind which the worker receives either directly or indirectly in respect of his employment from his employer’.85 It referred to a recent judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that, while excluding statutory social security schemes as ‘pay,’ implied that negotiated, complementary social security systems could be construed as ‘pay’ under Article 119.86 Earlier concerns about the implications of EEC membership for the British welfare estate now reappeared. The Commission’s criticism also came, as its Social Questions Working Group debated a new Directive on Equal Pay that would formalize the legal status of Article 119. The proposed Directive incorporated a broad interpretation of pay that included ‘wage related allowances or benefits’ that could include social security.87 The prospect of amending British legislation to equalize social security schemes for men and women worried government officials in the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) and Employment who argued that Britain had conformed to the letter of Article 119 and that the Equal Pay Act had specifically excluded pensions. They strongly resisted extending equality to pension schemes; one even wondered whether the government could persuade the EEC of Britain’s ‘considerations against strict equality of pension rights which remain Departmental policy since the time of the Equal Pay Bill’.88 A Department of Health and Social Services report on the draft Directive submitted to the Commission in November 1973 stated, ‘…it looks as if the Commission takes the view that the draft directive…would require [Member States] to legislate before 31 December 1975 to compel occupational schemes to change any provisions contrary to the principle of equal pay’. The DHSS stated that if this was really the effect of the proposed Directive, then it was ‘completely unacceptable’. With a new Social Security Act (1973) scheduled to be implemented, ‘it is completely out of the question to require fundamental changes in …occupational pension schemes at the very time when stability is vital to the success of the operation [of the new domestic law]….we must oppose [it] as strongly as possible and Ministers will have to be briefed accordingly’.89 DHSS officials pressured their counterparts in the Department of Employment who were more favourable to equal pensions ‘not to imply any UK support for the proposition that either Article 119 or the draft Directive should be interpreted as having any application to occupational pensions…’.90 Equally irritating to government officials was the inclusion of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ in the final version of the Directive, which officials believed ‘would impose stricter requirements than [the Treaty of Rome] and because the precision of the wording of our [Equal Pay Act] would make it difficult for us to fudge the issue’.91 Although British representatives participated in the Working Group drafting the Directive, they failed to impose a narrow interpretation of pay. Moreover, in its review of the draft Directive in April 1974, the European Parliament pointed to the urgent need to review gender differences in pensions that resulted from wage and other forms of discrimination.92 These steps, in addition to the Commission’s censure of Britain’s lack of progress on equal pay and social security stimulated further domestic reforms in the direction of gender pay equality.93 A Labour Green Paper published in March 1974 after Labour had returned to government addressed the problem of unequal pensions and demonstrated the influence of EEC membership in arguments for reform. Discussing the Social Security Act, the Paper pointed to how the Act had ‘not yet brought us [Britain] up to the standard of many of the other EEC countries and of Sweden’, where ‘men and women receive equal benefits for equal contributions’.94 British resistance to the broader employment-related dimensions of gender equality indeed made it an outlier among its European Community counterparts. Although in dropping pensions from the Equal Pay Bill in 1970 Barbara Castle had promised to introduce legislation on pensions subsequently, membership in the EEC became as much a driver of efforts to expand the British welfare state as a domestic commitment to gender equality at work. Debate on the shape of reform continued within the Labour Party as well as among Conservatives in government. The Conservatives’ 1973 Social Security Act permitted married working women to contribute to the National Insurance Fund at a reduced rate, and thus provided lower benefits to women. These provisions came under withering criticism from Labour allies who argued that the Conservative policy would harm EEC efforts at social harmonization and perpetuate gender discrimination.95 One government official within the Department of Employment also foresaw a rebuke from the EEC unless it established equal pension regimes. ‘This would be especially embarrassing since we have been pressing for the inclusion in the EEC Social Action Program of measures to remove discrimination between men and women throughout the field of employment and training’. This official urged that equal pensions be incorporated into the Sex Discrimination Bill then in debate.96 In fact, in the discussion of the Bill in Parliament in November 1973, Labour Member William Hamilton made a strong argument for expanding the British welfare state in respect to paid maternity leave to ‘bring us into line with the Common Market…one of the main arguments for going into the Common Market was that we would harmonize our social security benefits, which in many cases, on the Continent, are superior to ours’.97 Hamilton also argued for gender equality in pension schemes, aware that Britain’s social policies were weaker than those of other European Member States. Although neither paid maternity leave nor equal pensions were included under the Sex Discrimination Act, subsequent legislation addressed both issues directly. Once Labour returned to government in 1974, Castle, as Secretary of State for Social Services, took steps to amend existing social legislation, and Labour’s ‘Social Contract’ promoted employment equality beyond equal pay.98 In debating further legislation, Members of Parliament demonstrated the pressure on Britain to come into line with other EEC countries. These efforts also revealed a shift in thinking about the position of British women (and especially married women) as workers. The Social Security Amendment Bill of 1974 attempted both to fulfil Castle’s earlier promise to eliminate gender discrimination in pensions. Alongside increasing pensions, the Bill aimed to eliminate the gender discrimination embedded in the 1973 Social Security Act which had come under criticism from the European Commission. The new Bill required that married working women contribute, just as men did, implicitly recognizing married women’s independence as wage-earners. Debating the Bill in the House of Commons in 1974, Conservative Members attacked it for imposing too great a financial burden on married women, and depriving them of a choice, but did not question the legitimacy of married women’s work or argue for their dependence on men, as many had done earlier. Robert Boscawen, for example, although he could not admit that married women might want to work (‘they work because they need to increase the family income’), spoke for retaining the ‘married woman’s option’ ‘[because] they want their independence’ and should have the choice of whether to contribute. Boscawen implied that given that women and men did not earn equal pay, requiring married women to contribute at the same level as men would deprive families of necessary income.99 Conservative Kenneth Clarke echoed that married women’s choice to abstain from contributing at the full rate was ‘not an old-fashioned notion of dependence on their part. It is practical common sense, bearing in mind the finances of their husbands’.100 Although adopting the language of choice and independence may have been a strategy to win over women’s advocates in Parliament, it suggested how the terms of discussion had begun to shift towards recognition of the fact of married women’s employment, under the influence of European and now British initiatives. The Labour Government’s Employment Protection Bill likewise sought to bring Britain into line with EEC countries while also demonstrating government officials’ growing recognition of women’s and mother’s status as legitimate workers. The Act provided the first paid maternity leave in Britain and provided for the reinstatement of women in the same job following maternity leave, along with strengthening trade unions, collective bargaining, and worker representation.101 The Act constituted a historic recognition that women could be mothers and workers simultaneously. Speaking in the House of Lords in August 1975, Labour Lord Douglas Houghton praised the Bill’s provisions for maternity leave and pay as an enhancement of the Sex Discrimination Bill, whose opportunities could not be realized ‘unless we are to deal with women as mothers …We are told that we are very much behind the rest of Europe in this respect and that other countries have gone much further and faster than ourselves’.102 Conservative (Baronness) Joan Vickers, speaking in support of paid maternity leave, also compared the relatively weak British welfare state to continental European social policies. Vickers worried that ‘if the employers have to pay equal pay and [maternity leave pay],…they will discriminate against…particularly younger women and…will take on women who are not of child-bearing age’. Vickers pointed to European norms and practices in speaking for the Bill, referencing the 1972 EEC Report on the Employment of Women: ‘Maternity should be viewed as a social function and not as an occupational disadvantage’. As Vickers point out, ‘now that we are in the EEC…all other countries except Southern Ireland and ourselves make legal provision for leave, generally about 14 weeks, and for maintenance of income and compensation for loss of earnings’. Vickers argued that Britain’s maternity leave policy should follow that of other EEC countries that gave their benefits through state social security schemes, rather than impose additional burdens on employers.103 For both Houghton and Vickers, the EEC provided a model for equal opportunity that obligated Britain to catch up and showed again how British membership in the EEC influenced further government initiatives that gradually broadened the scope of the British welfare state. Conclusion Although historians have paid little attention to it, Britain’s obligation to comply with Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome in joining the EEC, combined with pressure from women’s rights advocates within Britain, produced a major debate in government over the relationship between gender, work, family, and social policy and drove reform on a fundamental dimension of labour relations. Yet the pressure of European membership hardly ended with the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 or with Britain’s accession to the EEC in 1973. European membership continued to drive policy reform in the early 1970 s, as Britain found itself under the obligation to transpose European Directives into national legislation and meet the standards of other European members. Although long resistant to expanding the British welfare state along continental lines, the pressure of European institutions led Britain to take steps in precisely that direction, with legislation equalizing pension schemes and establishing paid maternity leave along with protections for pregnant workers. Indeed, membership in the European Community required that Britain adopt more ‘woman friendly’ policies in the early years of membership. Yet legislation constituted only one dimension of the transmission of transnational norms. Another concerned how EEC membership facilitated learning about gender equality and how the discourses of government officials on the relationship between women, work, marriage, and family evolved. Although employers continued to resist equal pay and found ways to avoid it, government officials’ and Members of Parliament’s views began to evolve. In contrast to the reluctance with which British government officials viewed the need for meeting the EEC requirement of equal pay in the 1960 s, by the mid-1970 s, Labour officials and some Conservatives gradually had begun to acknowledge the need to make it possible for women to be both mothers and workers. The requirement that Britain accepts EEC standards and brings its social policies into line with other Member States could be seen to influence the assumptions of government officials and political leaders about the relationship between gender, work, and family. These actors began to show signs of acknowledging the legitimacy of women—including the legitimacy of married women and mothers—as economic actors in a period in which the EEC itself made significant steps in the direction of gender equality. Footnotes 1 For critiques of the recent European Union record on gender equality, see Anna Van der Vleuten, The Price of Gender, Equality. Member States and Governance in the European Union (Aldershot, 2007); Catherine Hoskyns, Integrating Gender: Women, Law and Politics in the European Union (London, 1996); Sophie Jacquot, Egalité au Nom du Marché? (Brussels, 2014). 2 Treaty of Rome, <http://www.hri.org/docs/Rome57/Part3Title08.html> As the Article stated, ‘“[P]ay” means the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives, directly or indirectly, in respect of his employment from his employer…Equal pay without discrimination based on sex means: (a) that pay for the same work at piece rates shall be calculated on the basis of the same unit of measurement; (b) that pay for work at time rates shall be the same for the same job’. 3 See Steven Fielding, The Labour Governments 1964-1970, Volume 1: Labour and Cultural Change (Manchester, 2003). Feminist scholars have downplayed the EEC’s influence on Britain’s Equal Pay Act. Kay M. Fraser, Some or Different. Equal Politics in the Workplace (Aldershot, 1999); Elizabeth M. Meehan, Women’s Rights at Work: Campaigns and Policy in Britain and the United States (London, 1985), 85–97. 4 The Ministry of Labour was known as the Ministry of Employment and Productivity between 1968 and 1970 and subsequently became the Ministry of Employment. 5 Alan Milward, The UK and the European Community, Volume 1. The Rise and Fall of a National Strategy (London, 2002). 6 See for example, David Gowland and Arthur Turner, Reluctant Europeans: Britain and European Integration 1945-1998 (Harlow, 2000); Hugo Young, This Blessed Plot. Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (London, 1999). On the complex history of Britain’s relationship to the EEC, see also Brian Harrison, Seeking a Role. The United Kingdom 1951-1970 (Oxford, 2009); Milward, The UK and the European Community; Stephen George, Britain and European Integration Since 1945 (Oxford, 1991). 7 Pat Thane, ‘Towards Equal Opportunities? Women in Britain since 1945’, in Terry Gourvish and Alan O’Day, Britain Since 1945 (London, 1991), 194. Percentages are derived from Table 9.2 ‘Census and Departmental Estimates of Working Population. Great Britain 1951-1981’. As Thane suggests (193) these data may underestimate both male and female activity. A sample of national insurance data yields these figures for women’s labour force participation: 34 per cent in 1951, 36 per cent in 1961, 40 per cent in 1966, and 39 per cent in 1971 (there are no comparable figures for 1981). 8 Dierdre McClosky, ‘Paid Work’, Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, ed., Women in Twentieth Century Britain (Harlow, 2001), 170. 9 Figures on part-time women workers from Lewis, 65 (Table 3). 10 Helen McCarthy, ‘Women, Marriage and Paid Work in Post-war Britain’, Women’s History Review, 26 (2017), 46–61; Susan Pedersen, Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State in Britain and France, 1914-1945 (Cambridge, 1993), 293–356. McClosky, 168; Jane Lewis, ‘The Failure to Expand Childcare Provision and to Develop a Comprehensive Childcare Policy during the 1960s and 1970s’, Twentieth Century British History, 24 (2013), 249–74. 11 Bowlby, Child Care and the Growth of Love (London, 1953); Denise Riley, War in the Nursery (London, 1983). Jane Lewis argues, ‘[William Beveridge’s] conviction that adult women would normally be economically dependent on their husbands became embodied in the post-war social security legislation which in turn had a prescriptive effect’. Lewis, Women in Britain Since 1945: Women, Family, Work and the State in the Post-War Years (Oxford, 1992), 21. However Beveridge believed that because most married women did not work outside of the home in 1942, that social insurance should take that into account. Beveridge, Social Insurance and Allied Services. A Report by Sir William Beveridge (New York, 1942), 49 (para. 107). I thank Pat Thane for this more nuanced version of Beveridge’s plan. 12 Thane, Britain Since 1945, 191, 196. (Lady) Nancy Seear, Veronica Roberts, and John Brock, A Career for Women in Industry? (London, 1964). 13 Harold Smith, ‘The Problem of “Equal Pay for Equal Work” in Great Britain During World War II’, Journal of Modern History, 53 (1981), 652, 655, 658; Helen Glew, Gender, Rhetoric and Regulation. Women’s Work in the Civil Service and the London County Council, 1900-1955 (Manchester, 2016); Meehan, Women’s Rights at Work, 64. 14 Harold L. Smith, ‘The Politics of Conservative Reform: The Equal Pay Issue 1945-1955’, The Historical Journal, 35 (1992), 401–415. Anne Perkins, Red Queen (London, 2003), 327; Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Women in Twentieth Century Britain, 196. In 1961 55 per cent of public sector workers were women. Rebecca M. Blank, ‘Public Sector Growth and Labour Market Flexibility’ in Blank, ed., Social Protection Versus Economic Flexibility. Is There a Trade Off? (Chicago, 1994), 228, 237. On the story of the Conservative support for equal pay, see Alan Potter, ‘The Equal Pay Campaign Committee: A Case Study of a Pressure Group’, Political Studies, 5 (1957), 49–64; Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, ‘Explaining the Gender Gap. The Conservative Party and Women’s Vote, 1945-1964’, in Martin Francis, and Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, eds, The Conservatives and British Society 1880-1990 (Cardiff, 1996). 15 See unsigned draft memorandum, 1 September 1961, LAB [Ministry of Labour] 10/1616 Equal Pay Aspects of the EEC, The National Archives, Kew (hereafter TNA). On the wage gap in the Netherlands, see Archives du Conseil des Ministres CM2 1961, 370, Document de la Commission V CM2 1289/61 concernant l’égalité de rémunération entre la main d’œuvre masculin et féminin. Situation juridique dans les six pays de la CEE, 12; on France, Olivier Marchande and Claude Thélot, Le Travail en France 1800-2000 (Paris, 1997). German women’s pay was about 45 per cent of men’s. Ute Frévert, Women in German History (New York; Oxford, 1989), 277. 16 Letter to George Woodcock, General Secretary of the TUC from the Minister of Labour 30 July 1961, LAB 10/1616, TNA. TUC, ′Equal Pay in the Common Market. Progress Report′,. Women in Trade Unions: Survey and Report of the 37th Annual Conference of the Representatives of Trade Unions Catering for Women Workers (London, 1967). 17 See Helen Laville, ‘“Woolly, Half-baked and Impractical?” British Responses to the Commission on the Status of Women and the Convention on the Political Rights of Women 1947-1967’, Twentieth Century British History, (2011), 1–23. 18 See Trades Union Congress. 1962. ‘Annual Report’ (London, 1962), 202. <http://www.unionhistory.info/britainatwork/emuweb/objects/nofdigi/tuc/imagedisplay.php?irn=6015817&reftable=ecatalogue&refirn=6015699> accessed 14 March 2017; American Consulate, Strasbourg, France. Foreign Service Dispatch No. 106, 4 November 1955 to Department of State, Washington, D.C. on Britain’s concerns about the European Social Charter. I thank Professor Mai’a Cross for sharing this document. 19 See: <www.ec.europe/archives/emu_history/documents/treaties/rometreaty2.pdf> accessed 14 March 2017. 20 Unsigned draft memorandum 9 March 1962, ‘Draft Paper to Ministers on the Equal Pay Obligation of the Treaty of Rome’, LAB 10/1616, TNA. My emphasis. 21 Interventions of Miss M. Dehareng and Miss G. P Wood, in TUC, Equal Pay in the Common Market, 45–46 and 54. 22 Intervention of Miss Chipchase, in TUC, Equal Pay in the Common Market, 55. 23 ‘Joint Inquiry into Equal Pay by Department of Employment and Productivity, the TUC and the Confederation of British Industries’, T [Treasury] 328/338 ‘Equal Pay 1969’, TNA. Letter from Mr Barrows, FCO to A. M. Morgan, Department of Employment and Productivity in LAB 13/2616, TNA. 24 ‘Joint Inquiry into Equal Pay’, 43. 25 ‘Joint Inquiry into Equal Pay’, 46. 26 See Confidential Memo of the Cabinet Management Committee, H. D. Walsh 25 July 1969 in T 328/339 ‘Equal Pay 1969’. TNA; Letter from C. A. Larson (Department of Employment and Productivity) to J. A. Robinson (FCO) 2 October 1969 in FCO 30/270 ‘Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome’, TNA. 27 On public opinion, see McCarthy, ‘Women, Marriage and Paid Work’. See also, Anonymous, ‘Barbara’s Winner—Equal Pay’ in The Evening Standard, 8 August 1969 on public opinion surveys carried out by the Opinion Research Centre, showing that 79 per cent of respondents supported equal pay in 1969. 28 Memorandum from Mr Simons to Mr Larson, 8 September 1961, LAB 10/1616, TNA. 29 Memorandum from Mr Simons to Mr Larson, 8 September 1961; Note for the Chairman, signed JGO 19 February 1962, T 311/399 Common Market Negotiations 6th Meeting Equal Pay, TNA. 30 Memorandum of H. A. Harding to Mr Mark 9 February 1962, T 311/399, TNA; Note for the Chairman, signed JGO, 19 February 1962, T 311/399, TNA. 31 M. W. Kirby ‘The Economic record since 1945’, in Gourvish and O’Day, 11–13. 32 Unsigned memorandum 14 February 1962, LAB 13/1634, UK/EEC Negotiations on Equal Pay 1961–64, TNA. 33 Unsigned memorandum 9 March 1962, LAB 10/1616, TNA. 34 Unsigned memoranda 9 March 1962 and 29 March 1962, LAB 10/1616, TNA, and Ministry of Labour Report, Implications of the Introduction of Equal Pay Should the United Kingdom Join the European Economic Community, 6 April 1962, T 311/32 Incomes Policy, TNA. 35 Unsigned memorandum 9 March 1962, LAB 10/1616, TNA; unsigned memorandum from Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance (DCH Abbott) to the Secretary (Muller) 18 April 1962 on the consequences of equal pay, T 311/32, TNA. 36 Memorandum from John Walley of the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance 20 February 1962 to Sir T. Padmore, Minister of Labour, T 311/399, TNA. 37 Unsigned memorandum by Ministry of Labour revised 17th April 1962, T 311/32, TNA; unsigned memorandum 29 March 1962 on Equal Pay, LAB 10/1616, TNA. See also Memorandum 24 May 1962 from Barnes to the Solicitor LAB 10/ 1724, Common Market: Consideration of Equal Pay Legislation, TNA. Barnes’ estimates of the overall costs of equal pay varied between 350 million pounds to 450 million pounds. 38 Report of B. E. Fensome, ‘Equal Pay for Women’, 2 September 1969, T 227/3106 ‘Implementation of Equal Pay for Women’, TNA. Unequal retirement ages and pensions brought British cases before the ECJ on several occasions. See for example, Foster v. British Gas (ECJ Case C188/89), Warrington and Humphries v. Lloyd’s Bank (ECJ Case 69/80), and Barber v. Guardian Royal Exchange (ECJ Case C-262/88). 39 Report from B. E. Fensome, Cabinet. Ministerial Committee on Social Security, SS (70) 34 and 35 Treatment of Pension Rights Under the Equal Pay Bill, 12 May 1970, T 227/3106, ‘Implications of Equal Pay for Women’, TNA; Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 27 May 1970, 1788. An equal pension law passed in 1974. 40 Ministry of Labour report of 6 April 1962, T 311/32, TNA. 41 Memorandum from E. W. Maude 18 June 1962, Common Market Negotiations Committee. Equal Pay, T 311/32, TNA. 42 See for example, Background notes on equal pay and the EEC, PQ [Parliamentary Questions] 1803/1969, TNA. 43 On the Labour Party’s appeal to women, see Fielding, 113 ff. 44 TUC. Equal Pay in the Common Market. Progress Report. 45 See for example, letter of 7 April 1967 from H. S. J. De Haas, Assistant Director of Labour and Social Affairs of the CBI to P. A. Mawson, Ministry of Labour; Letter of 19 April 1967 from P. A. Mawson’s letter to Miss E. Chipchase, Assistant, Organization Department, TUC, LAB 10/3131 ‘Equal Pay: Joint meetings with Trade Union Congress and Confederation of British Industry 1967’, TNA. 46 D. B. Smith, Note for the Record. Meeting with the CBI, 23 July 1968, LAB 10/2878 Joint Meetings of CBI and TUC, TNA. 47 Wilson, ‘Gender, Race, and the Ideal Labour Force’, in Louise Ryan and Wendy Webster, eds, Gendering Migration: Masculinity, Femininity and Ethnicity in Post-War Britain (London, 2008), 92–4. 48 See Court of Inquiry on strike of sewing machinists at Dagenham 1968, 27 June 1968 and 3 July 1968, LAB 10/3312, TNA; Court of Inquiry Conclusions, LAB10/3313, TNA. 49 ‘Progress in Narrowing Differentials’, November 1966, LAB 10/2878, TNA. This report claimed that women’s wages were rising faster than men’s wages between 1956 and 1966 and that women’s rate in engineering had risen from 78.7 to 88.8 per cent of men’s rates and in footwear manufacture from 73.8 to 81.9 per cent of men’s rate. See also letter from British Railways Board to J. T. Bird, Esquire, Ministry of Transport, 3 August 1966 and ‘Equal Pay in the Electricity Supply Industry’, 10 August 1966, LAB 10/2878, TNA. 50 Memo of P. A. Mawson to Mr Sullivan 30 November 1967, LAB 10/3131 TNA. 51 John Elliott, ‘Bank Rise is Big Step Towards Equal Pay’, Financial Times 28 September 1968 and reports from Transport Holding Company and the British Railways Board to J. T. Bird in the Ministry of Transport 17 August 1966 and 3 August 1966, respectively, on the status of equal pay in these services in LAB 112/34 ‘Equal Pay. Correspondence with the Women’s National Committee and press clippings’, TNA. See report on Equal Pay in the Electricity Supply Industry from the Ministry of Power [sic] Electricity Division, LAB 10/2878, TNA. 52 See correspondence with these organizations as well as letters from individual women to Ray Gunter, Labour Minister in 1967 and Barbara Castle from April 1968, LAB 10/2396, ‘Department of Employment and Productivity. Industrial Relations Files, Equal Pay, Correspondence with outside organizations’, TNA. On public support, see ‘Barbara’s Winner—Equal Pay’, Evening Standard (8 August 1969), showing that 79 per cent of respondents to surveys supported equal pay, in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women. Notes and Papers’, TNA. 53 H. D. Walsh, thought it would have clearly ‘undesirable effects’, but that given the government’s commitment to it, he did not advise that the Chancellor of the Exchequer oppose it. Walsh, Cabinet Management Committee, ‘Equal Pay. Memorandum by the First Secretary’. T 328/338 ‘Equal Pay 1969’, TNA; Report of R. G. Lavalle, ‘Equal Pay for Women’ 2 September 1969, T 227/3106 ‘Implementation of Equal Pay for Women’, TNA. 54 Secret memorandum from H. D. Walsh to the Chancellor [of the Exchequer], 3 September 1969, T 328/339 ‘Economic effects of equal pay’, TNA. 55 Extracts from a speech by Walker to the Annual Conference of the Women’s Advisory Committee of the Scottish TUC, East Kilbride. Department of Employment and Productivity Press Notice, 22 November 1969 in LAB 13/2616. 56 Walker to the Annual Conference. 57 Walker to the Annual Conference. 58 A. M. Morgan C. M. G. Department of Employment and Productivity 22 May 1969, FCO 30/270, Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome, TNA. 59 J. A. Robinson ‘Speaking Note’, 3 September 1969, FCO 30/270, TNA. 60 Memorandum from F. E. Figgures to Mr Hancock, 3 September 1969, T328/399, TNA. 61 Confidential Memo on Equal Pay for Women. Notes of a Meeting Held in Mr Locke’s Room, DEP, 1st August 1969, in T 328/338 Equal Pay, 1969, TNA. Interestingly, the Bill went beyond Article 119 by providing not only for equal pay but also for equal treatment ‘in terms and conditions of employment’, thus anticipating the EEC 1976 Equal Treatment Directive. 62 See, for example, Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 9 February 1970, c.958–959, intervention of Mr Ronald Bell, Conservative MP. 63 See Letter from Barbara Castle to Richard Crossman, Secretary of State for Social Services, 13 January 1970 and letter from J. A. Atkinson to M. C. Raff, Department of Employment and Productivity 19 January 1970 as well as other correspondence advising against including pensions in the bill in LAB 111/11 Department of Employment and Productivity and Department of Employment Incomes and Prices Division. Equal Pay Bill. Pension Rights, TNA. See also Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 9 February 1970, 915–916. 64 In 1954 Castle had jointly sponsored the equal pay bill for civil servants. 65 ′Cabinet report′, 24 September 1969, T328/399, TNA. 66 Extracts from Castle’s speech to the Labour Party Conference, 29 September 1969, T328/399, TNA. 67Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 9 February 1970, 924. 68Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 965, 967, Intervention of Robert Carr. 69Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 966–967, Intervention of Mr Ronald Bell. 70Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 792–973, Intervention of Jill Knight, Labour MP. 71Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 795, 978, Intervention of Dr Shirley Summerskill, Labor MP. 72 The 1972 Office of Manpower Economics (OME) Report found that 68 per cent of collective agreements signed in 1970 specified lower wages or lower minimum wages for women working in jobs similar to men’s. OME, Equal Pay Report (London, 1972); ‘Progress Towards Equal Pay’, Extracts from Department of Employment Gazette (August, 1974) in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women Notes and Papers’, TNA. In 1976, women’s wages in Britain were among the lowest of EEC Members. Equal Opportunities Commission, Annual Report (London, 1976), 31. 73 See Department of Employment request to chief negotiating bodies in industries where the gender pay differential was more than 20 per cent and letters from various employers (the Fiberboard Packing Case Employers’ Association, the National Joint Industrial Council of the Asbestos Manufacturing Industry, for instance) responding to the request in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women. Notes and Papers’, TNA. 74 Letter from Harold Copeman, Treasury Undersecretary, to Ronald Macintosh, Department of Employment, 16 July 1971, T 342/234 TNA. 75 Letter from James Prior, Minister of State, Treasury to Robert Carr, Secretary of State for Employment (undated, but stamped by the Treasury 21 May 1971), T 342/234 TNA. 76 See, for example, Memorandum from O. J. Kellaway, 16 June 1972 in LAB 17/490 ‘Equal Pay for Women Notes and Papers’, TNA. On continued resistance to equal pay, see Ross Davies, ‘Still Signs of Male Hostility to Equal Pay Act’, Times (28 August 1975): 25, and Davies ‘Get Familiar with the Equal Pay Act’, Times (1 September 1975): 15. 77 A CBI pamphlet issued in August 1970 effectively endorsed regrading. ‘What is required is the use of job descriptions or classifications which make it clear that jobs previously gathered into one category in fact involve very different occupations and types of work’. ‘Equal Pay Notes for Guidance’ CBI Employment Advisory Service, No. 9. (28 August 1970), 3, in LAB 17/490, TNA. On the reclassification of women’s semi-skilled jobs at the rate of unskilled men’s jobs, see Susan Puddefoot, ‘Can We Make Equal Pay Work?’ Times (17 January 1973), 8. 78 Undated letter from Robert Carr stating that he was persuaded by DWG Wass’ letter of 31 July 1972 not to issue an order for accelerated implementation. T342/234 ‘Economic Effects of the Introduction of Equal Pay’, TNA. Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 840, 4 July 1972, 232–234. See also ‘Equal Pay Report to be Published Shortly’, Times (5 July 1972), 9; ‘Parliament Package Would Have Assisted Equal Pay’, Times (8 November 1972), 2. Maurice Macmillan (incoming Secretary of State for Employment) also rejected appeals for an order several months later. Macmillan claimed that there was no evidence that employers were seeking to evade the Equal Pay Act. Parliamentary Debates (Commons) 845, 7 November 1972, 804–806. See also ‘Hopes of Concession for Women Dashed’, Times (18 January 1973), 6; Editorial, ‘Equal Pay Problems’, Times (13 June 1973), 21; intervention of Dr Shirley Summerskill and Chichester Clark’s response, Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 866, 14 December 1973, 907–912. 79 From OME, Equal Pay Report, cited by Puddefoot. 80 In 1971 Conservatives proposed abolishing the wages councils now tasked with monitoring compliance with the Equal Pay Act, although this did not happen. Letter of James Prior to Robert Carr, Secretary of State for Employment (undated, but stamped by the Treasury 21 May 1971), T 342/234 TNA. 81Times Labour Reporter, ‘Employers Accused of Avoiding Equal Pay’, Times (3 June 1977), 3. 82 Robert Parker, ‘Employers Accused of Dodging on Equal Pay’, Times (22 May 1976), 2; Anonymous, ‘Women Car Inspectors Win Same Rates as Men at Vauxhall’, Times (23 March 1977), 9. 83 See Commission of the European Communities. ‘Draft of the Report of the Commission to the Council on the Application of the Principle of Equal Pay…in Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Situation on 31 December 1973’, Brussels 20 February 1974 in BN 80/8 Department of Health and Social Security. Insurance Division K and Social Security Policy Group…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay, TNA; Anonymous, ‘EEC Criticizes Britain on Pay Discrimination’, Times (25 July 1974), 5. 84 See CEE. Report on Application, 31 December 1973, in TNA B 80/8, 10–19. 85 My emphasis. 86 CEE. Report on Application, 31 December 1973, in B 80/8, 8, 9, 20, 21, TNA. Discussions of gender inequalities in British social security systems began in the fall of 1973 when the European Commission inquired on the application of equal pay. The ECJ ruling 80/70 concerned the case of Gabrielle Defrenne, a Belgian airline stewardess who complained of the unequal pensions offered by the Belgian airline, Sabena. 87 See ‘Proposal for a Council Directive on the Approximation of the Laws of ‘Member States for Men and Women Contained in Article 119 of the EEC Treaty’ in BN8/80 Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA. 88 See, for example, H. Davies, Department of Health and Social Security 24 October 1973 to Mr Fennell in BN 80/8 ‘Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA. See also letter from J. W. Mackley (Department of Employment) to P. Fennell 31 October 1973 on Proposed EEC Directive on Equal Pay in BN 80/8 ‘Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA, with hand written note from E. W. Wittemore stating that reforming pensions would ‘throw the occupational scheme into a turmoil which is quite unacceptable…’. 89 Undated ‘Note’ (very likely from November 1973) on Articles 3 and 4 of the Draft Directive in BN 80/8 TNA. See also ‘Note of a Meeting Held on 21 November 1973 at Alexander Fleming House to Discuss the Implication for Pensions of the Draft Directive on Equal Pay’, with representatives from DHSS and the Department of Employment, in BN 80/8, TNA. The participants agreed to press for redrafting the Directive to ensure that the scope of Article 119 would not be expanded. 90 Memo from E. W. Wittemore (DHSS) to C. A. Larsen, Department of Employment 7 December 1973 in BN 80/8, TNA. 91 See Letter from Dennis Sullivan, Department of Employment to Geoffrey Berg, Esquire in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2 July 1974 in BN 80/8, TNA. 92 Memo from E. G. Burdsall to D. S. Beaumont ‘Draft Directive on Equal Pay—Resolution of the European Parliament’, 3 June 1974 in BN 80/8 ‘Department of Health and Social Security…International Matters. EEC Directive on Equal Pay’, TNA. 93 See Council Directive 75/117 EEC on Equal Pay. 94 Excerpts of untitled Green Paper, March 1974 in LAB 111/11, Department of Employment and Productivity and Department of Employment Incomes and Prices Division, TNA. 95 See Letter from Secretary of State for Employment [Robert Carr] to Sir Keith Joseph, Secretary of State for Social Services 25 January 1971 in LAB 111/11, TNA. Carr advocated minimal reforms that would ‘satisfy the protagonists of equal rights’ and ‘would enable us to withstand pressure for any more direct method for securing equality in this field’. See Anonymous, ‘Government’s Pension Policy Could Harm EEC Social Security Plans, Professor Says’, Times 10 November 1971, reporting on the interventions of Professor Richard Titmuss and an EEC advisor to the Commission at a conference on social policy and the Common Market and Dryden Gilling-Smith, ‘What to Do About Widows’, in Financial Times 2 November 1971. 96 See Memorandum by the Secretary of State for Employment, ‘Draft Paper for Home and Social Affairs Committee: Equal Opportunities for Men and Women: Pensions’, undated but preceded by an attached note by Mrs D. M. Kent, 29 January 1974 in LAB 111/11, TNA. The Memorandum strongly encouraged the incorporation of equal occupational pensions into equal opportunities legislation and pointed to the EEC implications, particularly the ECJ decision that opened the possibility of including occupational pension schemes as part of pay. 97 Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 863, 2 November 1973, 535. Hamilton further proposed that parental leave be extended to men. 98 On Labour’s commitment to pension reform, see for example, Letter from Peter Fennell to J. W. Mackley, Department of Employment, 18 April 1974 in BN 80/8 TNA. On Labour’s further initiatives to promote equal pay, see Memorandum from the Secretary of State for Employment of 24 April 1975 to Ron Howard, General Secretary of the Labour Party, LAB 8/3778 ‘Documents Related to the Drafting of the 1975 Sex Discrimination Bill, TNA. See also Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 884, 21 January 1975, 269. 99Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 876, 1 July 1974, 72–75. 100Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 876, 51–53. 101Parliamentary Debates (Commons) Intervention of Minister of State, Department of Employment, Mr Albert Booth, 886, 13 February 1975, 664–669. 102Parliamentary Debates (Lords), 363, 7 August 1975, 1901–03. France passed maternity leave legislation in 1913 and provided paid maternity leave in 1928. 103Parliamentary Debates (Lords), 363, 7 August 1975, 1903–07. See also the intervention of Labour Lord George Wigg in this session, 1908–09. © The Author [2017]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com

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Twentieth Century British HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2018

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