Globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men. (i) The struggle for equal pay has been fought since World War one to the current day. It has only been within the past forty years that legislation has been passed regarding the gender pay gap.
The first was the Equal Pay Act passed in 1970 that stated, ‘men and women are entitled to equal pay and terms of employment’. But due to this not being implemented until January 1976, employers often re-graded and changed jobs to evade the Equal Pay Act. Secondly the Equality Act 2010, also stating that men and women are entitled to equal pay. The law has made a difference but there still remains a decline. A quarter of companies and public sector bodies have a pay gap of more than 20% in favour of men. (ii)
There has never been a better time to invest in women than now! There is reported data evidencing that those companies with a diverse workforce are significantly more profitable than those that aren’t. Furthermore, having the highest employment rate since the 1970s creates the challenge of skills shortages – many, if not all, of these roles could be fulfilled by women, who seek financial independence and are now on average living 4.9 years longer than men.
Women can bring diverse perspectives; their leadership can drive change for innovation and collaboration within the work environment. Not to say that either gender is better but it’s fact that more diverse groups involving both genders make better decisions. It is evident that businesses are advancing for women and there is an importance to promote gender diversity.
Within the workplace it’s managers responsibility to rid of any discriminative chatter and avoid the typical thoughts we have associated with gender roles – it often makes situations worse and unintentionally stereotypical. Recognising how your unconscious bias manifests at work is key to addressing inequality.
As a country, we need to create more female role models and recognise their achievements. This is why I am such a supporter of events such as the Women of the Year Awards which Pertemps has been proud to sponsor for several years.
We are ahead of the game here at Pertemps – our board of directors is 50/50 split between men and women. We offer equal opportunities to progress in the company, the way it should be! We have several role models within our business – I joined myself as an Administrator and ended up becoming our Chairperson. Mentors and Sponsors have a key role to play in attracting women and then supporting them to progress.
We must focus on supporting females in business more than ever. It is imperative women know they can progress and receive fair treatment throughout their career. Let’s focus on breaking that glass ceiling for good. It’s good for business!
To read more of my thoughts, go to https://www.pertemps.co.uk/employers/resource-centre/carmens-thoughts
(i) World Bank, Women, Business and the Law 2018. (Washington, D.C., 2018). Available at: https://wbl.worldbank.org/
(ii) The Guardian, Gender pay gap figures show eight in 10 UK firms pay men more than women. (UK, April 2019) Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/04/gender-pay-gap-figures-show-eight-in-10-uk-firms-pay-men-more-than-women