Leading charity, The Fawcett Society has warned, “we are going backwards,” in regards to the gender pay gap.
The charity has sounded a stark warning that the pay gap is actually widening for some groups of women and it will now take 100 years to close it, based on the current rate of change.
The warning comes on Equal Pay Day, the day in the year when women start to work for free. The date has not shifted in the calendar for the past three years, demonstrating the lack of progress there has been in closing the pay gap.
The Fawcett Society also warns that the gender pay gap is worse for older women, with a 18.6 per cent gap for women in their 50s. However, the gap has significantly grown amongst women in their 20s – from 1.1. per cent in 2011 to 5.5 per cent.
The Fawcett Society is now calling on everyone to mark the day by making a #paygappledge to take action to close the pay gap.
Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society Chief Executive said, “The pay gap is widest for older women as it grows over our working lives but we are now seeing a widening of the pay gap for younger women too, which suggests we are going backwards and that is extremely worrying.”
“At a time when we are breaking the taboo of talking about sexual harassment in the workplace we need to wake up to the fact that a culture which tolerates or even fosters sexual harassment isn’t going to pay women properly either, and we know that younger women are particularly likely to experience harassment.”
Smethers continued, “Employers with 250 staff or more need to review their pay systems and publish their gender pay gaps, with a clear action plan in place to close it.”
“All employers need to take a long hard look at their workplace culture.”
“Discrimination and sexual harassment can be hidden and more common than they think.”
“Proactive steps are needed to root it out and give women confidence to report it.”
“Government should require employers to make every job a flexible working job, unless there is a good business reason not to.”
“We also want to see a longer, more generous period of paid leave for fathers.”
“This will help to address the unequal impact of caring roles which is one of the key drivers of the gap.”
“For the lowest paid we need to see the Real Living Wage adopted as the minimum wage in all our workplaces.”
“A growing number of women are trapped in the lowest paid work.”