Equal Pay Day 2019: How much closer are we to closing the gender pay gap?

November 14th is this years Equal Pay Day. How far have we come since the previous year?



It’s been less than a month since TV and radio presenter Samira Ahmed took the BBC to an employment tribunal to dispute the fact that she was paid 85% less than her male colleague, Jeremy Vine. The campaign for equal pay is an ongoing battle worldwide, and as of today, November 14th, the average woman in the UK will be working for free until the end of the year.

Equal Pay Day is the point in the calendar at which the average working man has earned the amount a woman will over the course of the entire year. Unequal pay between men and women doing the exact same or similar work has been illegal in the UK since the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, almost 50 years ago. However, in organisations across the country, there is still a 17.3% gap between men and women’s average pay according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

In Touch recently conducted its annual NED salary survey and the outcomes also support the notion that men are earning more than women. The survey highlighted there is still a significant divide, with men (17 per cent) more than twice as likely to be earning over £31,000 per non-executive role than women (7 per cent).

According to research by the Chartered Management Institute, the average female boss is paid approximately £12,000 less than her male equivalent. This data predicted a higher gender pay gap than the Office for National Statistics at 27% and that women are far more likely to be more junior in their organisations than men. Nearly 75% of the men surveyed held director positions compared to just 25% of women.

Due to the work of The Fawcett Society, a leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, UK companies and public bodies with more than 250 employees are required by law to produce their gender pay gap data each year. This year’s government-backed report, which was released in April revealed that eight in 10 UK firms were still found to pay men more on average than women.

In response to the news, The Fawcett Society launched a new campaign called ‘Right to Know’ calling on employers to make any pay discrimination between male and female employees transparent. The society reported that 3 out of 5 women don’t know how much their male colleagues earn and are unaware of whether their male equivalents are earning more than them for doing the same, or similar, job.

In addition to the government's recognition of the Fawcett society's campaign, the Labour Party Leader has vowed to close the Gender Pay Gap by 2030 if the party is to win the general election on December 12th. In October, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn also appointed gender pay gap expert Helene Reardon as Director of his office.

While it’s obvious that progress has been made, there is just four days difference between this year’s Equal Pay Day and the date it fell on last year. It’s clear that there is still much more work for businesses to do before the pay gap can well and truly be closed.

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