Commission calls on businesses to close gender gap
On the 40th
anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has
called on organisations to do more to close the pay gap between male and female
When the Equal Pay Act
was introduced in 1970, it was heralded as a major advance for women in the
workforce. However, despite progress over the past 40 years the Commission’s
research revealed that the full-time, mean gender pay gap was 16.4 % and the
median gender pay gap for all employees was 22 %.
In some sectors, the
pay gap is significantly higher. The Commission’s recent inquiry into the
finance sector found that women working full-time earn up to 55 per cent less
annual average gross salary than their male colleagues.
research also found a number of causes of the persistent gap. These include
stereotyping about women’s capabilities and skills, women bearing the brunt of
caring responsibilities, and discrimination in pay systems.
believes that employers should take it upon themselves to do what they can to
bring pay equality to their workforce. The Commission will shortly be issuing
guidance to help businesses measure and address pay gaps. However, it has made it clear that if the
voluntary approach fails, it will use its enforcement powers to address any
persistent and significant problems.
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