Debbie Lovewell: Banish gender pay gaps

The fact that gender inequality still exists in any employment area in the UK completely astounds me. 

In fact, startling pay inequality can be seen throughout all but the most male-dominated professions. Research published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last month found that women in full-time employment earn, on average, almost £5,000 a year less than men.

Its findings struck something of a personal chord, as the research found that women who work in media, culture and sport experience the second-largest gender pay gap in the UK, of almost £10,000 a year. As a predominantly female team at Employee Benefits, this statistic certainly got a few backs up and resulted in much grumbling about the unfairness of it all.

This comes after research by Warwick Business School, the University of Cambridge and Lakehead University in Canada found that the UK gender pay gap is one of the highest among 20 industrially developed countries.

Four decades on from the Equal Pay Act, surely something should have changed by now?

The government seems to think so, too. To coincide with Equal Pay Day on 7 November (the day on which women effectively stop being paid for the year because of the equal pay gap), women and equalities minister Maria Miller urged government departments and companies to publish details of their gender pay gaps.

Such transparency will surely go a long way towards tackling the problem, particularly as more and more comply, because few organisations will want to be seen to be lagging behind their peers. But unless such actions are made mandatory, little is likely to change. Strong action, rather than lip service, is needed if we are to banish such outdated inequality once and for all.

Debbie Lovewell
Deputy editor
Employee Benefits

Twitter: @DebbieLovewell