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It’s been one year since the gender pay gap was reported, exposing multi-million pound businesses across all industries to severe scrutiny. Unveiling an unequal pay-out system, 10,600 businesses declared their gender pay gap that revealed 78% of companies pay men more than women – 1,500 companies failed to submit. So, a year has passed, what’s being done to solve pay inequity between the sexes?

Recently, certain media providers have rectified and publicised issues concerning the gender pay gap. The BBC have apologised after back-paying China editor Carrie Gracie, who resigned her position due to unfair pay. Netflix too have followed suit, reinstating the Crown’s protagonist Claire Foy £200,000 from underpaying her £10,000 less per-episode than co-star Matt Smith. Undoubtedly, such acts are genial gestures, but a year in, we question the extent of what’s being done to eradicate gender inequity within the workplace.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report in 2017 calculated that at the current rate of change it will take a colossal 217 years to close the global economic gap between genders.

New figures from the financial sector, exhibit male directors earn on average over £30,000 per year more than their female duplicate. Additionally, data from the Office for National Statistics show that all chartered and qualified accountants – who’ve the same level of qualification – are split with a pay gap of 5.1% between male and females: “Men working in these roles enjoy an average annual salary of £37,250 compared to £33,010 that women typically earn.”

What if gender isn’t as transparent?

The passing of the 1970 equal pay act, 1975 sex discrimination act and gender recognition act has meant that the 21st century is one void of prejudice and inequality – is it not? Stigmas are slowly lifting, however evidence suggests we’re still a long way away from banishing prejudice attitudes within the workplace. Research exhibits how the Trans community is subject to double the rate of unemployment compared to the general population. Additionally, adjustments to income vary dependent on the transition, research published in the B.E Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy found: “while some female to male transgender workers earn more after their transition, male-to-female transgender works can see their earnings drop my nearly a third”.

Are women responsible for the gender pay gap?

Comments surrounding such colossal gender gaps within the majority of leading industries point towards a woman’s life choices. Evidence from the Center on Education and the Workforce found that the gender pay gap is by result of a woman’s actions, “…women choose their majors in college, they choose occupations and industries in which to work and they choose the number of hours they work.” Additionally, Adrian O’Conner, Founding Director at Global Accounting Network, said: “Females are statistically more likely to take career breaks to care for family…” which “can prevent them from catching up as quickly as they perhaps should – if at all.”

Generally, the mother of the household puts her career “on hold” for the sake of the family unit, but should she be penalised for this upon returning to work?

Recent evidence displays a break in the gender pay gap that is non-relative to a woman’s ‘self-inflicted’ factors, it being none-explainable. Further research from the Center on Education and the Workforce exhibits: “41 percent of the difference in pay between men and women has no obvious measurable rationale.” Thus, challenging the validity of the theories surrounding the gender pay gap.

Sheer lack of clarity is enforcing many public female figures such as former-journalist, now Channel 4 news presenter, Cathy Newman, to publically speak out. Putting their careers at risk, women are taking to TV and social platforms and seeking answers to a seemingly unfair system.

What’s the solution? Can’t beat ‘em? Join ‘em!

That’s what they’re saying anyway. It seems as though women haven’t managed to shake off the feudal ‘feminine’ archetype that still exists today. Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University found: “A woman who seems more ‘feminine’ was less likely to get ahead.” The results claim that ‘female attributes’ can be damaging to a woman’s career, employers being more likely to take on candidates who express masculine traits such as assertiveness, dominance and aggression.

Further training and expense?

Further findings from the Center on Education and the Workforce concluded that if a woman was to earn the same amount as a man, in the same position, then she’d need an additional degree. “A woman with a bachelor’s degree earns $61,000 per year on average, roughly equivalent to that of a man with an associate’s degree,” the Georgetown CEW reports. “The same rule holds true for women with master’s degrees compared to men with bachelor’s degrees and for each successive level of educational attainment.”

Go where no (wo)man has gone before

In an attempt to close the gap, women are striving for success via education, succeeding men in the process: “the share of bachelor’s degrees earned by women has increased from 43 percent in 1970 to 57 percent in 2015.” They’re a resilient bunch; challenging male-dominated fields, women are now completing more doctoral degrees than men too.

Ways businesses can bridge the gap

  1. Speak out and address the matter directly – combat gender issues head-on. Bring in leadership and managers to start conversations on pay equity.
  2. Audit your pay practicesby examining not only job-to-job differences but differences between departments, function, managers and location to ensure there are no inequity trends.
  3. Audit your opportunitiesby examining the gender ratio of women to men in terms of leadership opportunities.
  4. Communicate with your employees. By actively and openly discussing pay, you’re publically making all persons aware of your fair and equal policies. Or, if gaps have been identified, update your staff with ways in which you’re proactively implementing change. This effectively removes any uncertainty and anxiety concerning unfair pay-practice within the workplace.

 

Are you as a business implementing change to bridge the gender pay gap? Is enough being done? Let us know your thoughts.

About The Author

Liam Yapp

Marketing Executive and Part-Time Copywriter. If I'm not working on our next big marketing project, you'll probably find me outside, basking in the sun or walking the dog. Learn more about Liam.

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