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UKs Equal Pay Day aims to create a fair and equal society

UK's Equal Pay Day aims to create a fair and equal society

 November 06, 2017

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Despite the Equal Pay Act in 1970, women still earn less than men in Britain today. The current gender pay gap means women effectively stop earning relative to men on a day in November. This day is referred to as Equal Pay Day and varies according to the actual pay gap each year.& In 2017, Equal Pay Day is on Friday 10th November - the same day as last year.

The gender pay gap is not closing

The UK's Office for National Statistics has published data showing the gender pay gap is not closing. The average for full-time workers stands at 14.1%, a figure that hasn’t changed in the last three years. The gender pay gap is persisting, and so must we because woman must not be discriminated against at work for having a child. The Fawcett Society launches a campaign to mark Equal Pay Day. They urge politicians and employers to make a #PayGapPledge to close the gap for good. Equal Pay Day comes around once a year, but the gender pay gap exists every hour of every day. From 2018, UK employers with over 250 employees are required to report their gender pay gaps - a law that the Fawcett Society campaigned for. This provides an important opportunity to address the productivity gap because tackling workplace inequality could help 840,000 women into work and allow them to reach their full potential.

Gender equality is a moral and economic imperative

And according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report - the news is not good. Women will wait 217 years for pay gap to close and that “slow but steady progress” towards parity between men and women has actually halted. We should not be seeing progress towards gender parity shift go backwards. Gender equality is a moral and an economic imperative so proactive, urgent measures must be taken to address gender gaps across all countries worldwide.

Prime employers for women are striving for equal pay

  • David Barwell, Chief Executive of UK&I for AECOM, explains that “Workplace gender equality is such a multi-dimensional issue, but one which we are proactively addressing at AECOM. We are committed to ensuring pay equality, which is an important part of our wider Diversity and Inclusion strategy.  It remains our long-term aim to create an equal and fair workplace where our people feel valued and have every opportunity to thrive, grow and develop their career."
  • Schneider Electric focuses on gender parity across its worldwide presence. "By establishing dedicated executive-level groups, Schneider Electric is moving towards achieving greater gender parity throughout all of its regions," says Francesca Stone, Diversity and Inclusion Lead and Senior Talent Aquisition Specialist at Schneider Electric. In fact, via the HeForShe initiative, 40+ Country Presidents have now signed the Women Empowerment Principles and now share their commitments and best practices. Stone explains that Schneider Electric is getting to the bottom of the gender pay gap issue. "The Schneider Electric HR department annually compares the salaries of men and women in equal positions and where gaps are found, conducts a thorough analysis to understand and rectify the issue. By the end of 2017, 85% of Schneider Electric employees will work in countries with this gender pay equity plan," comments Francesca.
  • The University of Sheffield conducts Equal Pay Reviews that compare the pay of men and women doing work of equal value. The aim of their reviews is to identify any gender pay gaps, and to make recommendations that work towards closing any pay gaps that could not be explained by grounds other than gender. The University’s reviews are also extended to investigate gender pay gaps by ethnicity and disability. The Review provides clear evidence of the importance of supporting University wide activities focusing on the progression of gender equality. The University's picture for the overall gender pay gap has improved over time. Like most of the higher education sector, the University had a ‘leaky pipeline’ of female academic staff. To address this, the University began to actively pursue a strategy to improve the representation of female academic staff. 

Support the #EqualPayDay campaign

Here are some practical ideas around what you can do to make a change:
- have a conversation at work about pay and find out what your colleagues earn
- if your organisation employs over 250 people, ask your employer what they are doing to comply with UK's gender pay gap reporting rules that require them to publish their gender pay gap 
- write to your MP and ask them what they and their party are doing to close the gender pay gap.

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