It pays dividends to be male

Why is the law not being applied?

New research has further confirmed the shocking extent of gender pay discrepancies in the UK, which reaches beyond basic salaries and into bonus remuneration.

A press release from the Chartered Management Institute reveals a massive gap of 50% between bonus payments made to male and female workers.
Pay Justice was saddened by the new research but unfortunately not surprised. In spite of the near 40 year interval since the Equal Pay Act little progress has been made to solve the pay inequities which exist in the UK workplace. We are also saddened in the press coverage little regard is given to the unlawful nature and that legal remedies are available.

Examining the figures in more detail outlines just how ludicrous the situation has become. The National Management Salary Survey reveals that a difference of £141,500 will be earned by male workers over females doing the same job during their respective careers. And that’s on bonuses alone!
The problem is reported to be exacerbated the higher up an organisation you go. Women earn more than men in some entry level positions, but at senior management and executive levels the situation is drastically reversed.

National media outlets have weighed in on the issue. Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the CMI and writing for the Guardian, cites the “testosterone-fuelled, competitive workplace culture” as something which puts off women from applying to higher level roles. Becky Barrow, writing for the Daily Mail, describes “the raw deal handed out to female executives in British workplaces.”

Pay Justice is committed to finding solutions to and tackling the issue of gender pay discrepancies. So what can be done to close the gap?
The CMI has suggested a plan for achieving cultural change in the workplace including:
• Setting targets for the proportion of male and female staff at each level of an organisation.
• Encouraging more flexible working.
• Sponsoring and mentoring women to encourage them to apply for the executive roles.

It’s clear that a systematic approach to solving the issues is needed. Certainly the CMI initiatives make for good reading as long as they are adopted by UK business.

However, equally important is to have women driving the solutions and claiming their rights. The issue of unfair bonuses has been at the heart of the successful claims made by women in local government. There is clear case law which puts the onus on employers to show non discriminatory reasons for such inequality in pay.

Equal pay legislation can help protect women from this outrage on unfair bonuses. There is growing evidence that unless legal challenge is made this institutional discrimination will continue.

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