Article provided by Fadl Al Tarzi, Founder & CEO at Nexford University
Nearly fifty years since the Equal Pay Act, women still earn less than men in Britain today.
November the 14th marks Equal Pay Day in the UK, the day on which all women should ‘officially’ down tools and stop working in 2019, to reflect the fact that they are paid, on average, 17.3 per cent less than men. In this modern world, the very fact that we are still having to fight for gender pay parity when our world has become so advanced in so many other ways just shows how far we still have to go as a society. This is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap, however, supporting equal pay should be a year-long, lifetime goal. There are so many ways in which we can all support women to find more companies, ensure women hold 50 per cent of top business roles and help close the gender pay gap.
First and foremost, we must all acknowledge that there is a gender pay gap. No meaningful change can happen until all businesses and employees fully acknowledge that unequal pay, not only exists, but is fundamentally not right, and should be changed. This won’t happen overnight, but one way to support pay parity is to be open about it in the office.
This is why Nexford University has committed 16,800 hours in the next year to supporting gender equality not just internally, but in higher education in general.
New hiring practices
Practice blind-requirement: ask that all new job applicants to remove age, name, and gender from their CVs, to ensure all jobs are assigned on merit only. Jobs should always be offered based on skills and competencies, not gender-based assumptions, with job advertisements written in a gender-neutral tone.
Creating a more balanced work environment
Offering flexible working hours should be considered, as well as options to work from home – these can be introduced and reviewed at regular interviews between employee and employer, to accommodate different not only different working styles, but also to factor in personal responsibilities, such as those of a carer or parent.
Ensure senior leadership teams reflect both genders. Does your executive board really reflect your company’s outlook and audience? Anonymous staff surveys, or taking inspections and reviews from independent observers or consultants can help reduce gender bias – or any bias for that matter – and offer insight from an objective standpoint.
It all starts with Education
Choose to make a change, not just personally, but by focusing on creating a professional system that benefits all.
Help create more opportunities for women. This starts with women receiving equal education opportunities and being encouraged to take courses – that could be perceived as more ‘masculine’ – but that could be right for them as individuals, whether that’s engineering, physics or MBAs.
With only one-third of MBA students currently being female, Nexford University is offering 50 Women in Business scholarships for MBAs and BBAs, to help support women in business this Equal Pay Day.
If everyone makes a small change, supports a colleague in a pay rise request, discusses their salary openly, and gives praise where praise is due, we’ll close the gender pay gap far more quickly than if people think that it’s something larger than just them. We’re all responsible for it.
Equal Pay Day is an important reminder of why we still need to fight for equal rights, but I’m hopeful for the day when Equal Pay Day celebrates just that – women and men being paid the same amount.