Mind The Gap: Bridging Gender Pay Divides

Ms Dininage’s opening discussion focused on what business can do to ensure there’s no gender pay gap, which is the percentage in difference between male and female average earnings. Mckinsey estimates 0.6 trillion pounds extra in UK’s GDP if that pay gap could be bridged. Women often end up in occupations that are narrow in scope – too many hairdressers, not enough engineers – so the key is getting girls into these high-paid sectors. Businesses also need to make sure they have programs in place to retrain and keep maternity leave workers, and to get away from this “culture of presenteeism”, where people are judged by how many hours they are at their desk rather than the work they do. The UK aims to eliminate gender pay gap within a generation, and so will require greater efforts of transparency. Businesses with over 250 employees will be required to publish their pay and bonus gap data. 30 hours of free childcare per week will also be mandated.

Ms. Kiviniemi offered a presentation showing that there are more working women in OECD countries than at any point in history. The price of motherhood is often too high, due to childcare, work interruptions, and lower wages. The Average pay gap is 22% in families with one children, compared with 7% in couples with no children. Unequal sharing of family responsibilities, wage-sharing policies and union coverage, and discrimination are factors that affect the pay gap to some degree. OECD recommends employment-protected well-paid maternity leave to working parents (especially fathers), more access to food, and affordable childcare and long-term care, as the lack of these frequently reduces the amount of time women are available to work. We must encourage women towards leadership roles.

Meeting: The Gender Pay Gap: What is it, why does it still exist and how do we get rid of it?

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 10:00 – 11:30; Conference Room B

Speakers: Ms. Helene Reardon Bond, Deputy Director Head of Gender Equality, Government Equalities Office; Ms. Caroline Dininage, Prime Minister for Women in the United Kingdom Government; Ms. Louise McSorley, Head, Office for Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia;  Ms. Mari Kiviniemi, Deputy Secretary-General of OECD; Ms. Emer Timmons, President, British Telecom (BT) Global Services, UK

Written By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

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