Unmasking gender inequality

Forcing companies to publish men’s and women’s pay is a good start but more is required

The new legislation which forces larger employees to publish gender pay gap information is a good start, but statistics rarely provide the full picture.

The Prime Minister recently announced his government’s plans to require firms to release data on differences between men’s and women’s pay within their business.

The Office for National Statistics reported last year that the gender pay gap was at its lowest since comparisons began in 1997. In 2014 this dropped slightly to 9.4 per cent from 10 per cent, this is lower that the EU average.

Speaking in London, Cameron said that paying men and women different amounts for doing the same job wasn’t ‘entirely’ solved, but ‘nearly’ solved.

General statistics, whilst providing a useful starting point do not necessarily prove anything. He comments, however, that ‘only by drilling down on the circumstances which determine pay differentials can a fair assessment be made, and any pay gaps between men and women be examined, justified, or closed.’

The Solicitors Journal stated ‘If there is an unjustifiable gap, the proposals make no suggestion as to what can or will be done to remedy it. No financial penalties will follow, no obligation to rectify any difference will be asserted. Instead, change is expected to be forced by peer pressure, stakeholder interest, and enterprise embarrassment. Sadly, I don’t see that as being a real driver and it certainly hasn’t proven to be one where diversity at its broadest is concerned.”

‘If the government takes seriously the unjustified discrimination which persists across the labour market, not just in larger organisations, it must go all out, not rely on a reluctant half-way house that fails to address the issue head on or penalise those who disregard it.’

Related Post