30 years after the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act [SDA], there is still discrimination. The rights of individuals do not oblige organisations to promote equality. The GED will bring about real change in the culture of organisations as the onus will be on organisations to promote equality, rather than on individuals to highlight discrimination. The general duty applies to all functions of every public authority. This includes councils, schools, hospitals and police authorities as well as central government departments. The definition of a public authority is 'any person who has functions of a public nature' which is the same approach taken within the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and the Human Rights Act 1998. Because this definition is used the organisations covered by the general duty are not set out in a list.

The gender duty applies directly to certain private or voluntary sector bodies when they are carrying out public functions on behalf of the state. Public service providers and public sector employers will have to think about policies they develop and the services they deliver with the different needs of women and men in mind. Public service providers will need to look at who uses their services. Public authorities will also have to look at their employment policies to see how they affect women and men

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