‘Equality’ in all its various forms is a fast-disappearing dream. Or so the heading of the article suggests. Not necessarily according to the evidence. In the last 30 years or so since the post-Cold War world, huge strides have been made in the spheres of women’s rights, racism, equality and other areas here in the UK. 

There are now more female leaders in politics than ever before, enter Britain’s PM Theresa May and others. Such political ascendancy in the world should be regarded as a big achievement for women’s rights and for equality in general, furthering left-wing, liberal pro-feminist progressive agendas.

The domestic sphere and women’s economic empowerment

In the last 40 years or so since the 1970s the pay gap or gender gap between men and women in the UK workplace has steadily improved in gender parity. But the gap is not fully closed yet, with an approximate 18 per cent difference in pay between men and women in the UK, with women earning less on average than their male counterparts according to a Guardian newspaper article dated from last year. In a developed country such as the UK this is still a substantial pay gap, albeit one that has improved. More than four decades after the Equal Pay Act, there is some encouraging news in the report. The current 18 per cent gap in hourly wages is down from 23 per cent in 2003 and 28per cent in 1993, the IFS notes. At the same time, the newspaper’s research reveals there has been little improvement for graduates and women with A-levels. For the mid-level and highly educated, the gender wage gap is essentially the same as it was 20 years ago.

Other indexes featuring equality

Wealth, or economic inequality has globally increased since the 1970s with the richest owning more of the planet’s wealth and resources. There is a rise of a post-capitalist society or plutocracy of the rich/corporatist global elite of business people dominating; i.e., the super rich who are getting richer and the poor who are growing poorer whilst the middle class is being squeezed out. These power magnates lead in the ownership of raw materials, natural resources or resources/commodities, with little wealth redistribution coming down across society.

Oxfam says that a mere 85 richest people own the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion own. The richest 1 per cent own 48 per cent of global wealth, i.e., 1 per cent own 65 times as much as the poorest half. In Russia, 110 billionaires control 35 per cent of the nation’s wealth and 93 per cent of the country have assets of less than $10,000. This has been the case in both developed nations as well as in developing ones.

Education

Here equality is better in some areas, worse in others with rising student debts accumulating from university education. Both the US And UK more than other countries show a steady incline since the ’70s, especially since the increase in tuition fees here in the UK. The end to the old grant-based system has meant that our generation is less affluent. Though we are more socially mobile, there are less opportunities now than there were for the post-war baby boomers. More people are now in higher education than ever before, but with arguably less chances in life than their parents and much more competition between different classes and socio-economic groups.

Racial equality

Levels of racial equality has improved since the 1980s, but disparities between whites and ethnic minorities still exist. Black Caribbean and mixed white/black Caribbean pupils are three times more likely to be permanently excluded than the entire student population. Ethnic minority families are twice as likely to be unemployed or live in poverty compared to white families in Britain. Racism has been on the rise in Europe and in the UK, especially post-Brexit and with the rise of the neoconservative Trump presidency.

All-in-all the evidence shows a mixed picture. Some areas are sliding backwards, such as wealth disparity, while others are gaining strength especially in the women’s pay gap area. However, across the pond, fears of a chauvinist male-dominated Republican presidency have not assuaged questions that the most powerful country is yet to have a female leader.

Economic inequality and racism are still on the rise, though equality amongst the sexes has slowly improved here in the UK and elsewhere around the world. Equality, from a purely economic perspective, is fastly disappearing. There is a clear issue with middle class, graduate-level jobs which are becoming harder to secure in Britain than say 30 or 40 years ago.