10 November 2018
Equal Pay Day comes around once a year because but despite the Equal Pay Act in 1970, women still earn less than men in Britain today.
The current Gender Pay Gap means women effectively stop earning relative to men on a day in November. This day is referred to as ‘Equal Pay Day’ and the date that it falls on each year varies according to the actual pay gap for each year. This year Equal Pay Day is on 10 November which is the same date as the previous 2 years which means that no headway has been made recently.
Over time progress has certainly been made, particularly since the 90’s when the pay gap was stubbornly sitting around 26%. The median gender pay gap today, for all workers is 18.4%. The median pay gap for full-time workers alone is 9.4% (Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, ONS). We should acknowledge however that progress over-all remains unacceptably slow. Bear in mind that women first raised the issue of equal pay in the 1830’s with the first equal pay strike taking place in 1832 by 1,500 card setters in Yorkshire. The first motion to TUC Congress on equal pay was passed in 1888! It would take almost a further 100 years before the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1970 – this of course was not enacted until 1975 to allow employers to get their pay and grading structures in order. Women have been waiting far too long for pay parity!
Other equality considerations need urgently addressing too, for example Black and minority ethnic women workers face wider pay gaps – the pay for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women is over 26% less than white men. For part-time work the pay gap is negative for up to five years of employment in the same job. Women are paid 3.8% more than men when working in the same job for one year or less. After five years of employment in the same job, men begin to be paid more than women for part-time work with men earning 2.4% more. For those currently employed part-time who have been in the same job for more than 20 years the pay gap is 28.3% (ONS), while those in part-time work for 20 years plus are more likely to be women.
This year the Fawcett Society is asking employers, policy makers and individuals to support their Equal Pay Day Campaign by making a ‘Pay Gap Pledge’. It is very straightforward to join in and make your pledge. Fawcett Society are asking for support by printing off a pledge card and writing your pledge on it. Once you have done that they are asking you to take a picture of yourself holding the pledge care and to then tweet it using the hashtag #paygappledge. Don’t forget to tag the Fawcett society at @fawcettsociety in your tweet so that they can re-tweet your picture on the day.