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Bold reforms required to challenge gender pay gap

Women’s equal rights campaigners the Fawcett Society have labelled 30th October 2008 ‘Women's No Pay Day’. The date signifies the point where the current gender pay gap, estimated at 17% will be the equivalent of women working for free until the end of the calendar year.

The organisation is calling for decisive for action against the problem. They blame a combination of discrimination, the low importance society attributes to jobs traditionally done by women and the lack of flexible working offered by employers as root causes of the problem.

The organisation claim to disprove a common misconception that women choosing part time jobs is a contributory factor by providing separate estimates for full and part time work. They also find:-

  • Women working full-time earn on average 17% less per hour than men working full-time
  • Ethnic minority women working full-time earn on average 20% less per hour than men working full-time
  • Women working part-time earn on average 36% less per hour than men working full-time
  • ...and women working part-time in London earn on average 45% less per hour than men working full-time.

In a letter to Peter Mandelson, current Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform the organisation are calling for the following reforms

  • Mandatory pay audits which would require all organisations to compare the earnings of women and men doing similar work to see if there is a gap
  • Health checks for companies
  • Help for women challenging their pay:
  • Changes to the law to make it much easier for women to take cases to court,
  • Allowing women to take such cases as a group, with the support of unions

Responding to the 2008 launch of the Fawcett Society's 'No Pay Day' TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said

'Only through decisive action, such as making employers review their pay systems and opening up flexible working to everyone, can we hope to push 'No Pay Day' back to New Year's Eve.'

If you would like to sign the online petition, please see the following link

Equal Pay open letter

Ends

posted by Dizali Mentha, Associate Publisher

 

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