Looking back at 2018: Our top news stories of the year

Continuing on our series of looking back at the past year, we delve into some of our favourite and most important news stories of 2018.

This year has seen the centenary of women’s suffrage in the UK, the first reporting of company’s gender pay gap, and more women taking a stand against sexual harassment.

We look forward to bringing you all the latest news, debates and thought-provoking articles in 2019!

Vote 100 Banner featuredJanuary

January kicked off the so-called ‘Year of the Woman’, bringing us lots of breaking news about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, equal pay, and the Vote100 campaign.

At the start of the month, women from across the globe marched for gender equality and an end to sexual harassment. Cities including Melbourne, Munich, Rome, London, Washington DC and Los Angeles saw thousands of women protesting, encouraged by the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements.

The #TimesUp and #MeToo movements were created in support of victims of sexual harassment and assault. The movements picked up momentum after a number of high-profile Hollywood celebrities were accused of sexual harassment, including Terry Richardson, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, James Franco and many more.

Also in January, BBC’s China Editor, Carrie Gracie resigned from her role over the equal pay row. In an open letter, Gracie cited that she was quitting over pay inequality for the BBC’s international editors.

February

man-and-woman-sat-on-money-piles-gender-pay-gap-featuredIn the run up to the April deadline, it was reported in February that 8,000 organisations still needed to report their gender pay gap data.

At the time, a summary of the reporting position based on the 1,000 submissions, analysed by Staffmetrix found that the overall median gender pay gap is currently 10.9 per cent. This figure was slightly higher than the UK’s average of 9.4 per cent for full time workers.

In the same month, travel group, TUI, formerly known as Thomson Airways, reported the largest gender pay gap to date by a major UK company.

According to its gender pay gap report, women at the group’s TUI Airways UK earn on average 56.9 per cent less in hourly pay than their male counterparts.

March

Mattel_Barbie_Role_Models featuredIn March, around the globe International Women’s Day was celebrated. In support of this, Barbie created 17 dolls to represent historical and modern-day role models, including Bindi, Patty Jenkins and Nicola Adams.

Through its Shero program, Barbie honours women who have broken boundaries in their fileds and have been an inspiration to the next generation of girls with a one-of-the-kind doll made in their likeness.

Also in March, it was announced that women and girls would benefit from £15 million of funding from the Tampon Tax Fund.

Projects that tackle sexual violence, address social exclusion among BAME women and improve mental health and wellbeing will receive funding. The money will also be used to make grants to smaller organisations so they can deploy services that support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls in the country.

In sporting news, it was announced that Manchester United had applied to establish a women’s football team.

The Premier League submitted an application to the Football Association (FA). Manchester United is the only Premier League men’s side not to have a senior women’s team.

The club has been heavily criticised for not having a women’s side, while Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool’s women’s team are all thriving.

April

MillicentIn April, it was announced that Suffragist leader, Millicent Fawcett had been honoured with a statue – and became the first woman to stand in Parliament Square.

Following Caroline Criado Perez’s campaign, the Mayor of London commissioned Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing OBE to create the statue.

Fawcett was a British feminist and campaigner for women’s rights. She was a prominent figure during the women’s suffrage moevement and is best known for her work campaigning for women to have the vote.

The RAF also celebrated its 100th anniversary in April. The RAF was formed through the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The RAF took its place beside the British Navy and Army as a seperate military service with its own ministry.

On the same date, the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) was also created.

June

UpskirtingA new law to make upskirting a specific criminal offence had moved a step closer, in June, as a Government Bill is introduced in Parliament.

The move was confirmed by the Prime Minister earlier this week, after a government-backed Private Members Bill (PMB) did not pass its second reading.

The PMB was blocked in the House of Commons by one Tory MP, Sir Christopher Chope. As the issued was raised in Parliament, Chope shouted “object”, resulting in other MPs to call out “shame”.

Upskirting is a term for people taking photos of under unsuspecting women’s skirts. There are also similar offences such as ‘down blousing’, where people take pictures of a woman’s cleavage, without her knowing.

In career-related news, companies in the FTSE 350 urged to step up to meet 2020 women on boards targets.

Data released to mark the halfway point of the government-backed, Hampton-Alexander Review, found that a quarter of FTSE 350 board positions are held by women, but there still remains ten all-male boards.

The Hampton-Alexander Review aims to ensure that talented women at the top of business are recognised, promoted and rewarded. Launched in 2016, the review set FTSE 350 businesses a target of having 33 per cent of all board and senior leadership positions held by women by the end of 2020.

July

BBCThe latest in the BBC pay gap scandal was reported in July, with men still dominating the top salary list.

Gary Lineker was then top of the list, overtaking Chris Evans as the highest paid person at the BBC. Lineker is reported to have earnt between £1.75m to £1.76m in 2017-18.

Claudia Winkleman was still the highest paid woman on the list, earning between £370,000 and £379,999, according to the report. In total, only eight women made the list, including Sarah Montague; Emily Maitlis, and Jane Garvey.

Also in July, it was found that a quarter of Brits say that the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gave them the confidence to report sexual harassment in the workplace.

New research from global jobs site, Monster.co.uk, found that prominent movements against sexual harassment have given over a quarter of UK workers the confidence to report sexual harassment they see or experience in the workplace.

August

trishna-bharadia 1August saw 100 per cent of UK employers release their gender pay gap data.

Under new regulations that came into force in April 2017, all employers with over 250 employees are required to report their gender pay gap data.

All 10,000 UK employers that the Government has identified as having over 250 workers have now published their data.

However, the data shows that more than three out of four of the UK companies that fall under regulations, pay their male staff more on average than their female staff. More than half give higher bonuses to men, on average, than women, and over 80 per cent have more women in their lowest paid positions than in their highest paid positions.

Also in August, we reported that Rising Star winner, Trishna Bharadia, was honoured by the Prime Minister.

Bharadia, 38, is the latest recipient of the Points of Light Award for supporting people living with MS and other chronic conditions. The award recognises outstanding volunteers who are making change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to recieve the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

October

claudine-adeyemiIn October, we reported that Rising Star alumni, Claudine Adeyemi, founder and CEO of Career Ear had announced a new partnership with O2’s Go Think Big.

The partnership will drive forward a shared vision of widening access to opportunities and careers advice to young people throughout the UK.

They will share more opportunities to engage with young people; particularly those from less privileged backgrounds, and support them through into their careers so that they achieve their full career potential.

Through Career Ear young people are able to ask questions about their future careers and receive responses and advice from the professionals in those very careers, via the app, online, and at events. Professionals who have specifically downloaded the app to share their knowledge and experience.

November

Women's Equality Party9th November marked Equal Pay Day, the day where women effectively work for free due to the difference in pay between men and women.

To mark the occasion, The Women’s Equality Party encourage women to declare themselves Out of Office, not just for the day but for the remainder of 2018.

By setting Out Of Office notifications, women would draw attention to pay inequality—and to have some fun in the process. Not only could they personalise their email notifications for maximum impact, but in a first for digital campaigns, social media users were be able to share apparent technical glitches and loading messages to look like their posts are not working either.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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