New U.K. Rules To Help Bridge The Gender Pay Gap

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The British Prime Minister, David Cameron has brought forward rules to make firms with more than 250 workers reveal whether they pay men more than women. This new legislation forces big companies to publish details of what they pay men and women, and is a big step forward in the fight to close the gender pay gap. 

A study by the statistics agency Eurostat found that the U.K. has the sixth-highest pay gap between men and women in the European Union, and is behind countries including Italy and Poland. In the U.K., the gap currently stands at 19.1% for full- and part-time workers, meaning a woman on average earns around 80p for every £1 earned by a man. The gap is more pronounced when you look higher up to senior managerial and leadership roles. Professional women aged 40-plus are hit hardest, as they earn 35 per cent less than men in comparable, full-time roles. The reasons behind the disparity in gender pay are numerous; some of them are complex. There have been various voluntary attempts by businesses to close the gap, with limited success.

One of the main solutions is to have a real culture change, where businesses must make the working environment and conditions more pro-women with flexible working arrangements, greater support for those caring for children or relatives and mentoring by senior managers. These are strong initiatives to help employees of both sexes. Change the culture and it will go a long way to closing the gender pay gap.

Till now in the U.K., there has been a voluntary approach for companies to publish their gender pay gap for their workers. The CBI, the industry group representing major businesses, said it would rather continue with the voluntary approach and argues the information “could be misleading”. However, it pledged to work with the government to try to ensure flexibility in how the new rules are applied to each company.

On a more global note, gender inequalities are still large and persistent in all countries. UN Women has said worldwide women are paid less than men; women in most countries earn on average only 60 to 75 per cent of men’s wages. It is calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 per cent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed - it is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion. Let’s close the gap.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia