The Equal Opportunities Commission was constituted under Part VI of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. It was set up as an independent statutory body with the following powers:
to work towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sex or marriage;
to promote equality of opportunity for women and men;
to keep under review the Sex Discrimination Act and the Equal Pay Act;
and to provide legal advice and assistance to individuals who have been discriminated against.
On 1 October 2007 the three equality commissions (the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission, and the Equal Opportunities Commission) merged into the new Equality and Human Rights Commission.