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Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Pensions - Articles - Closing the gender pay gap is a crucial first step

Pensions - Articles - Closing the gender pay gap is a crucial first step

Global strategic advisor, Rita Trehan, explains:"Equal Pay Day means that effectively, women are working for free for the rest of the year - that's how big the pay gap remains between and women".

Joeli Bearley, 38, from Manchester, who was sacked the day after telling her boss she was pregnant and now runs the campaign Pregnant then Screwed, says many employers think they are better than they really are. So, what's the deal?

On the other hand, UK's leader of the Women's Equality Party Sophie Walker described the importance of equal pay and said that the gender pay gap usually triggers sexual harassment, including scandals in the entertainment industry as well as in politics.

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: "Equal Pay Day is a time to reflect on the inequality in pay between men and women". "There's a huge prize for businesses that get this right, because equal representation of men and women could add £150 billion to the United Kingdom economy in the next 10 years". Where Fawcett breaks down the pay gap by age and region at the end of their Equal Pay Day report, there is one region missing from the list: Northern Ireland.

The number of equal pay claims received by the tribunal service dropped by 85% immediately after the introduction of tribunal fees in July 2013 and the annual number of claims is roughly a third of what it was five years ago.

Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee said 'I will ensure the Government's strategy on reducing the gender pay gap properly focuses on those most affected - women aged over 40'.

We see fairly sizeable regional variations as well.

An earlier equal pay campaign from WEP and Now created a visually arresting outdoor campaign for the Women's Equality Party and Liverpool Metro Mayoral candidate Tabitha Morton.

'Equal pay is both a cause and effect of gender inequality and it creates the context for other inequalities, such as violence against women and girls and unequal access to health, ' the WEP adds. It is lowest in Wales, at 8.3 per cent, and the North East, at 10.2 per cent.

And we know that black, Asian and minority ethnic women are likely to see larger pay gaps, suggesting that they are experiencing multiple discrimination and disadvantage.

"We need to make investing more inclusive, or attempts to deliver equality in later life will fall short".

The Government need to do much more to foster a flexible working culture in our workplaces - the default model needs to be all jobs are flexible working jobs unless there is a good business reason for them not to be.

"Closing the pay gap is a crucial first step, but we must also level the pensions playing field".

The Fawcett Society has suggested that employers sign a pledge on equal pay committing themselves to publishing the gender pay gap with an action plan to tackle it, supporting fathers to take time off to care for their children, and supporting women to reach leadership positions.

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