While corporate Britain strives to access the best and most diverse talent; create more inclusive environments and promote greater equity – why are women still paid less than men?
With the launch of International Equal Pay Day under the collective cry of ‘Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value’ and celebrated on 18th September; gender inequality, disadvantage and poverty means that ‘narrowing the gap’ for both pay and pensions has been slow.
Add to the mix, women of colour; with disabilities; immigrants and those caught in the ‘motherhood penalty’ trap, it could take until the year 2070 to close the global gender pay gap.
Endorsed by the United Nations, UN Women and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to name a few, there is a commitment to mainstream greater equality and empowerment for women and girls worldwide.
And to ensure no one is left behind, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is committed to the implementation of the Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030.
What Does This Mean?
A lifetime of historical, structural and income inequality means more women are retiring into poverty.
It is well documented that for women to financially survive, they are being pushed into the ‘informal’ economy; casual and part-time work, which tends to be more prevalent in developing rather than developed countries.
The Equality Act 2010 gives women (and men) a right to ‘equal pay for equal work’. The Court of Justice of the European Union has held that pay systems that are not transparent are ‘particularly at risk of being found to be discriminatory’.
Be aware that equal pay and gender pay gap reporting are not the same thing. The 'gender pay gap' is the difference in average earnings between women and men.
Thus, it is not just a legal requirement embedded in British and European Union law but a step towards a ‘fairer’ Britain.
What’s the Impact on the Ground?
It’s reported that men and women approach a company with the same level of salary expectations.
Despite this, a persistent gap remains between men and women.
In a recent poll conducted by the Fawcett Society to support their Equal Pay Day 2021 campaign, they found:-
61% women who have been asked about salary history say it damaged their confidence to negotiate for better pay.
58% of women said it made them feel like their low past salary was coming back to haunt them.
Just a quarter (24%) of people feel that pay should be based on past salary, compared to 80% for their skill and responsibilities and 77% for the value of the work they do.
Based on their findings, the Fawcett Society concluded ‘by ending the recruitment practice of asking for salary history, it will have a significant and positive effect on closing the gender and ethnicity pay gaps’now and in the future.