Gender inequality in the financial sector to be investigated

Speaking at an equality conference last week, Harriet Harman Minister for Women and Equality, announced that the Government is going to clamp down on unfair pay and discrimination against women working in the finance sector.

Men get paid on average 40 per cent more per hour than women in the financial services industry, despite women making up nearly half of the workforce (49 per cent). This is the highest gender pay gap for any industry in the UK, and compares with a national average of 22.6 per cent.

There are fewer women in senior City roles than elsewhere in industry, where just five per cent of managing directors are female1. There are numerous cases of sex discrimination and harassment in the finance industry, including evidence of the use of lap-dancing clubs for corporate entertainment.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will conduct an inquiry into these issues and make practical recommendations later this year. It will investigate the male dominated culture at the top of the finance industry, the gender pay gap, reports of sex discrimination in the industry, amongst other things.

Ms Harman will told the conference:

"In banking and finance companies women are paid, on average, 40 per cent less than men. Half the people who are working in the financial service sector are women. But nearly all of the bosses are men. City boards are still mostly a no-go area for women. We need a real overhaul of the pay and prospects of women in the city. The Equality Commission will be using their legal powers to investigate this.

"I just don't believe women are less committed, less hard-working or less able than men. So they shouldn't be paid less. As well as this inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission there will be some tough measures in the new Equality Bill which will help further narrow the gender pay gap."

Ms Harman also confirmed that there will be a debate in the House of Commons in March on 'Protecting women and families through the economic downturn' to mark International Woman's Day.


posted by Dizali Mentha

Associate Publisher



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