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Gender equality out of reach, a quarter of women fear

One in four British women believes gender equality is impossible to achieve, according to a new study.

And nine out of 10 are not optimistic that gender equality can be achieved in the next five years, a survey of more than 1,000 women by money payments firm Western Union also reveals.

Most of those polled said men and boys still believed they were superior to women, adding that society expected women to take on more responsibilities than men.

The report, to mark International Women's Day, said the results were "sobering" and showed that business leaders, citizens and parents had a long way to go to achieve gender equality.

:: Construction giant Balfour Beatty announced a range of initiatives aimed at tackling the gender gap in its industry, including signing up to the Young Women's Trust to help more women undertake a construction apprenticeship.

:: Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists said: "International Women's Day is a good opportunity to reflect on the problems women, including women journalists, face at work because of discrimination, bullying, recruitment habits and insufficient checks on employment practices.

"Women are expected to bear the brunt of childcare and family duties.

"That is why employers should be more flexible in agreeing hours and terms that allow them to juggle a career and family."

Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening said: "This International Women's Day there is much to celebrate.

"We have seen the gender pay gap in the UK fall to its lowest level, and have more women sitting on the boards of Britain's top businesses than ever before."

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