Women ‘working for free until end of year’

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The gender pay gap between men and women Pic © Lucy Darbyshire

The gender pay gap between men and women
Pic © Lucy Darbyshire

The pay gap between men and women was highlighted across the UK this week as average figures suggest that women are effectively working for free between now and the end of the year.

Equal Pay Day is an annual event to raise awareness that women are still being paid less than men in the UK. From November 9th until the end of the year women are effectively working for free, based on statistics.

That’s because the average wage of a women in full time work is 14.2% lower than the average wage of men. The day is chosen based on what the 14.2% means in days. It works out at 52 days between November 9th and the end of the year.

Sefton and Liverpool Women in Business (SLWIB), a business organisation who inspire and encourage other women and girls about enterprise, is particularly passionate about equal pay for women.

A spokesperson told JMU Journalism: “It is vitally important and more fundamentally, it is the right thing to do. Why would you pay two equally competent, capable and qualified people with comparable experience differently?

“SLWIB signed up last year to Think Act Report (TAR) which the government’s Equalities Office is working on. We also talk about TAR and promote our support to our members.”

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “There has never been a better opportunity to close the pay gap for good. Progress has stalled in recent years but with real commitment from government and employers, together with action from women and men at work, we could speed up progress towards the day when we can consign it to history.

“The message to women and men at work is: It’s okay to talk about pay. How can we achieve pay equality if we don’t even know what our colleagues earn? It is time to have the conversation and ask your employer if they are ready for the new pay gap reporting requirements.”

A new regulation due to come in force next year will require organisations with over 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap figure.

Sefton and Liverpool Women in Business said this development in important: “It’s an excellent idea. Transparency is key here. For many reasons. Hopefully it will help employers realise the gaps they have and do something about it.

“It will help female employees tackle pay within individual organisations and will also makes it obvious to all how big an issue the pay gap is.”

About Lucy Darbyshire, JMU Journalism