Government Equalities Office

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Government Equalities Office Logo.svg
Department overview
Formed October 2007
Jurisdiction England
Headquarters London, England
Annual budget £65 million in 2011-12 [1]
Minister responsible

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) is part of the Department for Education (DfE) of HM Government. It was created in October 2007 when the Women and Equality Unit, based within the Department for Communities and Local Government was converted into an independent department. The department was subsequently merged into the Home Office, before transferring to the DCMS on 4 September 2012 following a Cabinet reshuffle. In July 2014, it was transferred to the Department for Education in that Cabinet reshuffle.

It has lead responsibility for gender equality within the UK government, together with a responsibility to provide advice on all other forms of equality (including age, race, sexual orientation and disability) to other UK government departments. The day-to-day responsibility for policy on these issues was not transferred to GEO when it was created.

The Equalities Office currently leads the Discrimination Law Review, which developed the Equality Act 2010 that replaced previous anti-discrimination legislation.


The Government Equalities Office Ministers are as follows: [2]

Minister Rank Portfolio
The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP Minister for Women and Equalities (also Secretary of State for Education) Overall responsibility for the Government Equalities Office, policy on women, policy on sexual orientation and transgender equality, cross-government equality strategy and legislation [3]
Caroline Dinenage MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State women and the economy, including women on boards and reducing the gender pay gap, challenging cultural stereotypes, stopping violence against women and girls, domestic, international and EU, commitments on equality including the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), supporting the Secretary of State on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) policy


The budget for the Equalities Office reached £76 million in 2010-11. Following the spending review this is set to decrease each year, to £47.1 million in 2014-15.[4]


In June 2011 it emerged that female staff at the Equalities Office received 7.7% more pay then males on average. The information came to light following a Freedom of Information request by MP Dominic Raab. The enquiry also revealed that almost two thirds of the department's 107 staff were female. Raab criticised the department for double standards, stating "It undermines the credibility of the equality and diversity agenda, if bureaucrats at the government equalities office are preaching about unequal representation and the pay gap, whilst practising reverse".[5] The differences between the genders became marked from 2008 under the leadership of Harriet Harman with the pay gap almost doubling from that time and six out of seven new jobs going to women.[6]


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Coordinates: 51°29′53″N 0°08′33″W / 51.4981°N 0.1424°W / 51.4981; -0.1424