As November 2023 approaches, we mark Equal Pay Day, a poignant reminder of the persistent gender pay gap that plagues the United Kingdom.
This year, Equal Pay Day falls on the 22nd of November. Equal Pay Day is a national campaign spearheaded by the Fawcett Society, an organisation dedicated to gender equality, and it serves as a call to action to address the disparities in wages between men and women.
In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of Equal Pay Day, the current state of the gender pay gap, and the steps needed to bridge this alarming divide.
Understanding the Gender Pay Gap. The gender pay gap is a term that represents the difference in average earnings between men and women within a specific group or population.
The Fawcett Society calculates the gender pay gap for Equal Pay Day using the mean, full-time, hourly gender pay gap for the UK. In 2023, the gender pay gap stands at 10.7%, only slightly lower than the previous year’s 10.9%. This small reduction signifies the glacial pace at which progress is being made.
Equal Pay Day: Working for Free
Equal Pay Day is a symbolic day that reveals the stark reality that women in the UK, on average, effectively work for free for the remainder of the year starting from November 22nd. This date is just 48 hours later than the previous year, indicating a mere 0.2 percentage point reduction in the gender pay gap.
The Fawcett Society’s Campaign
The Fawcett Society is at the forefront of the Equal Pay Day campaign, advocating for gender equality on behalf of women across the country. However, the burden of closing the gender pay gap shouldn’t rest solely on the shoulders of advocacy organisations. The lack of substantial progress in recent years is a matter of concern.
The Intersection of Gender and Ethnicity
It’s essential to acknowledge that the gender pay gap disproportionately affects Black/ethnically diverse women. To address this issue effectively, mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting must be implemented. Adequate data is crucial to understanding and resolving the complexities of this problem.
Urgent Action is Required
The gender pay gap is not an issue that can be addressed with complacency. Employers and the government need to take immediate and effective action to close this gap. Here are a few critical steps that can contribute to meaningful change:
- End Discriminatory Salary History Questions: Employers must stop inquiring about an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process. This practice perpetuates wage disparities.
- Mandatory Ethnicity Pay Gap Reporting: To address the unique challenges faced by Black/ethnically diverse women, mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay gaps is essential. It will shed light on disparities and facilitate targeted action.
- Promote Flexible Work: Making flexible work the default can significantly impact the gender pay gap. A lack of flexible, quality work opportunities traps women in roles beneath their capabilities and reinforces the misconception that flexibility is a privilege rather than a necessity.
Equal Pay Day 2023 serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges posed by the persistent gender pay gap in the UK.
While progress has been made, it is undeniably slow.
Closing the gender pay gap requires collective effort, including government initiatives, employer actions, and data-driven policies that address the intersectionality of gender and ethnicity.
As we look ahead, let us not forget that Equal Pay Day is a call to action, urging us to strive for a more equitable and inclusive future.