Time to Smash the Gender Pay Gap

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2024 National Women's Conference
13 October 2023

Despite The Equal Pay Act coming into force over 50 years ago, there remains a persistent gender pay gap in workplaces across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. According for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), median hourly pay for full-time employees was 8.3% less for women than for men in April 2022, while median hourly pay for part-time employees was 2.8% higher for women than for men (figures exclude overtime pay). However, because more women work part time the gender pay gap for all employees is considerably larger than the full-time and part-time gaps. The gender pay gap for all employees was 14.9% in April 2022.

The gender pay gap cannot be considered in isolation as it is influenced by other factors such as age, location and employment sector:

• The gender pay gap for women in their 20s and 30s is relatively small, but a substantial gap emerges among full-time employees aged 40 and over.

• The gender pay gap steadily increases after a woman has her first child.

• Women working in the financial and insurance industry face the biggest gap.

• The public sector has a slightly smaller pay gap for full time workers and a larger gender pay gap for part time workers than the private sector.

• The full-time gender pay gap is highest in the South East and East Midlands and negative in Northern Ireland.

It is also important that the gender pay gap is not considered in isolation and more must be done to fully understand the impact of multiple pay gaps. While work is at an early stage on ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting, research suggests that the gender pay gaps faced by Black or disabled women are higher. This means that work to close the gender pay gap must also pay attention to the intersectional profile of the workforce.

Conference believes that we need branches who are able and willing to work with their employer on a local level to tackle the gender pay gap and that they need the support from their service group executives to deliver real change for members.

Conference calls on the National Women’s Committee to:

1)work with Service Group Executives through the service group liaison committee to support the inclusion of calls on employers to end the gender pay gap as part of annual pay claims.

2)refresh and relaunch the “Bridge the Gap” campaign and consider providing the opportunity for service groups to tailor the campaign for their workplaces and members.

3)develop and promote negotiating guidelines to support branches to negotiate local action plans to close the gender pay gap.

4)work with the Learning & Organising Services team (LAOS) to develop bitesize training on understanding the gender pay gap and how to develop meaningful action plans to close the pay gap.

5)consider submitting a bid to the Campaign Fund to commission research on the gender pay gap in key sectors and the impact that leadership and development programmes that specifically target women are having on closing the gap.

6)consider offering national service groups and the other Self Organised Groups the option to include a session on tackling the gender pay gap in one of their future conferences.