The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was created in October 2007 when the Women and Equality Unit, based within the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), was converted into an independent department headed by Harriet Harman, as Minister for Women and Equality and Lord Privy Seal. It has lead responsibility for the Government's overall strategy and priorities on gender equality issues within the UK government, together with a responsibility to provide advice on all other forms of equality (including age, race, sexual orientation, religion or belief, 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 GEO's work includes: leading the development of a more integrated approach on equality across Government to increase opportunities for all; taking forward the Minister for Women's priorities; taking forward work on the Equality Bill; sponsoring the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Women's National Commission; and supporting the work of the National Equality Panel. The GEO also leads on the Government's international obligations to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; as well as the Government's obligations to implement the EU Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men. The GEO's work also includes responsibilities for the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 and the protections under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.
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