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Women ‘effectively working for free until end of 2016′ due to gender pay gap

Women will in effect work for free for the rest of the year because of the gender pay gap, a leading campaign group has said.

The Fawcett Society has dubbed today (10 November) as Equal Pay Day (EPD) and claimed that the 13.9% pay gap means women are effectively working for nothing from now until the end of the year.

EPD 2016 falls only one day later than EPD 2015 which means the pay gap is closing, but the society said it would take 60 years to close at the current rate of progress.

Sam Smethers, the society’s chief executive, said: “A root cause of the gender pay gap is that we don’t value the work done by women.

“As we mark EPD this year we are focusing on the fundamental question of who and what we value and asking why it is that we don’t value women and the work they do – paid or unpaid. Equal value goes to the heart of the fight for pay equality, because the reality is that if it is a sector dominated by women the pay will be lower.”

The Fawcett Society said the government’s forthcoming introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting will mean that companies with over 250 staff will be obliged to publish both their mean and median pay gap.

However, it said that to ensure the move “genuinely tackles” the pay gap there should also be a requirement to publish an action plan on how employers will close the gap, adding there “must be penalties” for those who do not comply.

Smethers added: “We won’t finally close the gender pay gap until we end pay discrimination, address the unequal impact of caring roles, tackle occupational segregation and routinely open up senior roles to women.”

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