10th Nov 2017
It’s 51 days until we’ll all be celebrating the New Year and for women, celebrating being paid again. That’s right, it’s Equal Pay Day today, the day that effectively means women in the UK are now working for free when compared to their male counterparts.
Over the last three years, the mean average Pay Gap has stalled at 14.1% according to ONS. For women in their 50’s it’s worse at 18.6% and for women in their 20’s, the pay gap is actually widening, from 1.1% in 2011, to 5.5% today. And women of colour are the worst off, with Black African women at a gap of 24% and Pakistani and Bangladeshi women at 26.2%.
On average, at this rate of “change”, it will take 62 years to close the gap – suggesting the next generation of girls won’t have equal pay until they’re of retirement age. And if the rate of improvement keeps falling, it will take 100 years to get equal pay.
In Wales, we have both the widest and narrowest of pay gaps.
Blaenau Gwent has the highest percentage gap between men and women in the UK at 32% – the average man making £14.07 per hour and woman £9.54 – the equivalent of not being paid since September 4th.
However, women earn more than men in Gwynedd, Denbighshire, Conway & Merthyr Tydfil, partly because of the amount of public sector jobs available in these areas.
Median full-time hourly earnings (excluding overtime) for women in Wales in April 2017 were 93.7% of the average for men. This percentage is above that of the UK as a whole, which stands at 90.9%.
Although when we take into account overall weekly take home salaries in Wales are 87% of the UK average, it’s not as if the men or women of Wales are rolling in cash!
So what can we do?
WEN Wales are aiming to raise awareness about the Gender Pay gap as much as possible. Join us as a member to keep up to date and find out how you can get involved.
From April 2018, public, private and voluntary sector organisations with 250 or more employees must publish information about the gender pay gap in their organisation on an annual basis. However, this is not compulsory and for many who don’t work in large businesses, it falls short of action.
Read more about the Gender Pay Gap regulations here on the TUC website.
Talk to your employers and colleagues.
We shouldn’t be too shy to ask our colleagues doing the same job how much money they earn. If you’re doing a job and not being paid the same as other’s, speak up! Contact us, your local union representative, your MP or AM if you need help.
The Fawcett Society are encouraging everyone to use the hashtag #PayGapPledge to raise awareness of how important it is to have these conversations in the workplace.
Let’s encourage our work places to have better paternity rights and flexible working schemes too. Women currently do 74% of childcare, often pushing them into lower-paid, part-time positions.
Get more girls into STEM
According to research from Deloitte last year, the gender pay gap of starting salaries in STEM subjects are the lowest of any other subject studied. If more women were to pursue careers in STEM, it would help narrow the gap for those starting in their careers early on.
Currently “the sectors women tend to work in – such as administration, health and social care and retail – are not valued and paid as much as they should be,” suggests Dr Carole Easton, Young Women’s Trust Chief Executive and their research shows “that young women apprentices earn 8% less than their male counterparts, leaving them more than £1,000 a year worse off.”
And if you want to go a step further and raise awareness with all of your colleagues The Women’s Equality Party are encouraging women to put their out of office on.
SUBJECT LINE: Out of Office. For the rest of the year.
It might not be practical to keep it on until the end of the year, but it would sure help get the point across.