Nowhere left for gender inequality to hide, says Nicky Morgan

Companies will be highlighted in league tables to reveal which businesses are failing to address the gender gap, Nicky Morgan, Women and Equalities Minister has announced.

In July last year the Prime Minister revealed new measures to force large companies to disclose the gap between the pay of male and female workers.gender equality

Building on the Prime Minister pledge Morgan announced the legislation is going ahead and that companies with over 250 employees will need to publish their pay gap data. The government has also announced that it is forcing around 8,000 employers across the country to publish how many women and men are in each pay range. Furthermore, the government will publish the results of the pay gap data by sector, in a league table, to identify where action needs to be taken.

Every employer must publish their gender pay gap on their website so employees and consumers can see the scale of the problem.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said: “In recent years we’ve seen the best employers make ground breaking strides in tackling gender inequality. But the job won’t be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognised equally and fairly in every workplace.

“That’s why I am announcing a raft of measures to support women in their careers from the classroom to the boardroom, leaving nowhere for gender inequality to hide. At the same time I’m calling on women across Britain to use their position as employees and consumers to demand more from businesses, ensuring their talents are given the recognition and reward they deserve.”

“Today’s announcements come after a consultation on requirements for employers to publish their gender pay gap. Today the government will be pressing ahead with the plans by laying draft regulations to make sure they come into force as soon as possible.”

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Publishing league tables will drive diversity, bringing benefits not just to women but to business. Closing the pay gap will open the talent pipeline, increase management quality and boost productivity.

“Also announced today are plans to expand the Women’s Business Council to ensure every sector is represented. The seven new members represent key sectors such as energy, defence, engineering, manufacturing, construction and media and television across the UK. This work builds on decisive action this government has already taken to help women in work. The fact is, women remain far less likely to enter senior positions, often as a consequence of taking time out to have children. That is why we have taken steps to help parents combine a career with their family, including the introduction of shared parental leave, the right to request flexible working and delivering on our commitment to provide 30 hours of free childcare to working parents of three- and four-year-olds – with some areas set to receive the free offer as soon as this September.”

The Women’s Equality Party

The Women’s Equality Party (WE) commented on the announcement and said: “It’s great to see that the presence of the Women’s Equality Party on the political scene is forcing the government to think seriously about addressing gender inequality,” said Party Leader Sophie Walker. “But we’re still seeing too little ambition in the government’s approach.”

“The plan to start introducing gender pay league tables in 2018 means we will have to wait another two years until we can see only a little bit of what’s going on inside Britain’s companies. WE have a clear plan that requires immediate action from companies to show full transparency on pay, status and hours worked – plus retention before and after parental leave – and to break that data down not only by gender but also ethnicity and disability.”

A new £500,000 support package has also been released by the government to help companies implement the new regulations. This will include UK wide conferences, free online software, support for male dominated sectors such as STEM and a report to highlight companies trailblazing in gender equality.

Walker welcomed the Minister’s proposal for £500,000 to help employers meet the cost of publishing pay data, however she said: “This is a tiny sum compared to the extra £180 billion that could be added to our economy by 2030 if we unleash women’s potential. Similarly, the government’s aim to have 15,000 more girls studying maths and sciences by 2020 lacks ambition. Girls already outnumber and outperform boys in STEM subjects at GCSE level, so making sure they can access more of the five million STEM jobs across the UK shouldn’t be too difficult.”

The government is taking action on well-paid industries to tackle the root which is causing girls not to enter these industries. This includes the target of getting 15,000 more entries by girls to maths and science by 2020, which will be an increase of 20%.

“When I met with the Minister last year, I explained how vital the need was to break down gendered expectations around STEM careers,” Walker said. “It is good to see that she has taken this on, but she must be much more robust in setting out measures to make sure this happens. It is time to be much bolder. WE are the only party with a comprehensive set of plans to tackle ALL the causes of women’s unequal pay by proposing employer transparency, equal parenting leave, flexible working, stronger anti-discrimination processes and help for carers who wish to work.”

The government has also released the results of its Sawers Review on the role and contribution of women in the Scottish economy.

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