The introduction of gender pay gap reporting should lead to progress. We now know that 80% of UK companies pay women less than men – and it’s even worse for BME women – yet analysis shows that without enforcing change, reporting alone doesn’t lead to action.
We are now entering the second year of pay gap reporting and the vast majority of companies have not improved their pay gap. In fact, in many cases it is getting worse. Data is crucial to force decision makers to take action but perhaps we should be taking our lessons from Iceland, where the gender pay gap is lower than any other nation on earth.
The Icelandic government enforces equal pay; with high-quality childcare and parental leave across Iceland meaning that four out of five women are in work. On International Women’s Day in 2017 Iceland brought in legislation requiring employers with more than 25 employees to prove (certified independently) that they pay all employees equally, with fines incurred for those who do not.
Equally, Iceland has committed to eradicating the gender pay gap by 2020. By contrast the UK requires companies with over 250 employees to report their gap, without any obligation to take action to redress it.
However, one positive that has come from gender pay gap reporting is that women are realising they have a right to talk about pay and are more informed about what their colleagues earn, meaning they are able to have conversations within their workplaces that create the foundation to challenge unequal pay.
So, this International Women’s Day I want to share five things you can do – whatever your gender – to challenge the gender pay gap:
Lauren Crowley is Head of Equalities at Community, for advice or support feel free to get in contact with her here