The deadline for Gender Pay Gap reporting has arrived. Organisation have been rushing about trying to hit the deadline. Personnel Today et al have written articles on how to get gender pay gap reporting right. There is a polythera of information about the gender pay gap out there, you would imagine that people are keen to comply.
The Equal Pay Act 1970 was an act of parliament that prohibited any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment. With this being the case why are we still having these issues? Research has shown there are 4 key reasons why the gender pay gap exists as stated by Dr Charlotte Gascoigne, Director of Research and Consultancy, Timewise
1 There are more men in Senior Roles
2 Caring responsibilities and the need for part-time roles
3 Women choose to work in low-paid roles and sectors
4. Women are paid less than men for the same role
There are no doubt other reasons that can be mentioned but these 4 seem to be the ones regularly sighted. Just like the female astronauts who were unable to go to space because they didn’t have the right size suits, the reasons are obvious apart from the desire to work in low-paid roles and sectors which seems to me to be ridiculous. Debating these issues in my opinion are a waste of time. The real reason lies in the corporate structures that do not allow women to have the same pay as men and prohibits women from moving up the organisational ladder.
John Welsh writes in Forbes that it will take a further 50 years to close the gender pay gap. “Incomplete data and subconscious bias is likely to result in propagating the pay gap’ writes the authors of Progress on the Gender Pay Gap:2019
If you thought the statements above applied to all women you would be wrong. The Equal Pay Act 1970 did not support BAME women in the same way as white women. I know of many black women of that generation who knew they were not getting paid the same as their white counterparts but could not say anything about it for the fear of losing their jobs.
There are more white men in senior roles and when trying to include women it is apparent that black women are less likely to be offered a position. The Financial Times states that Board diversity push leaves out women of colour. Margaret Kennan Cranfield University FTSE report found all 25 female executive directors working for FTSE 100 companies are white and 97 per cent of the female executive directors of FTSE 250 companies are white.
I have mentioned many times that I did not believe that the Gender Pay Gap could be resolved unless the Ethnicity Pay Gap was addressed as the Ethnicity Pay Gap affects BAME women more adversely. IDA Harris writes in Elle, Black women will not get equal pay until 2124. Women’s Equality Party state that Black African women have a pay gap of 24% while for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women it stands at 26.2%.
Why isn’t the Ethnicity Pay Gap being address in the same vigour as the Gender Pay Gap? I find it very frustrating that coverage of the Ethnicity Pay Gap is so poor, this is why I set up the #EthnicityPayGap movement last year to raise awareness of this issue. People cannot continue to down play the significants of the Ethnicity Pay Gap. It is my believe that some of the reasons are because of discrimination, not because of the lack of educated black people which was discussed on a pod cast. Neither is it because the talent pool is not there, which is an organisational term that tells me, they really didn’t make any effort to try and identify any BAME talent. We are out there and we are doing great things.
The Gender Pay Gap is important but so is the Ethnicity Pay Gap equally important. If people do not make an effort to work just as hard to reduce the Ethnicity Pay Gap you can guarantee that the data you have just provided will not be fit for purpose.
I had a discussion with a colleague yesterday, he asked me how I would know if those reading this article would act on what I have written, my reply was, I didn’t really know if anyone would consider looking at their Ethnicity Pay Gap because of the article I had written. I felt that because I was not in the public eye it would be seen as a lone voice without any backing. So my question to you is will you consider looking at the Ethnicity Pay Gap in your organisation whilst looking at the Gender Pay Gap?