Equal Pay Day: why we’re leaving work early on November 10th

November 8th 2016 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru

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Why is there still a gender pay gap and what can we do to support greater equality in the workplace? When it comes to salary and the sexes, we're taking a stance

In 2016, it’s hard to believe that equal pay is still an issue. However sadly, it’s still as topical as ever with women still earning less than their male counterparts.

According to figures from the Office For National Statistics, there is an 18.1% pay gap for full- and part-time women combined and the causes for this are wide-ranging. “The gender pay gap is caused by the unequal impact of caring roles and women unable to progress within organisations that are so concentrated at the bottom with men at the top,” says Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of women’s rights and equality charity The Fawcett Society. “We also see occupational segregation in our labour market with for example, 80% of care workers being women and 90% of the STEM workforce being men. The work that women do tends to be lower paid too.”

Equal jobs should mean equal pay, end of, and as well as being so utterly wrong on the most basic of levels, it’s also costing our economy too. “McKinsey has calculated that it would add an extra £250 billion to the economy by 2025 if we were to close the gender pay gap,” points out Sam. “Previous estimates have put the figure at £600 billion. The pay gap represents a waste of female talent and skills - it is a productivity gap.”

Are there developments on the horizon? “New regulations requiring larger employers, (250 staff members or more) to report on their gender pay gaps are very welcome. These will force employers to focus on where women and men are in their organisation and will also focus their minds on how they can close their gender pay gap.” What can employees do to improve the situation? “Talk about pay,” says Sam. “Tackling a lack of transparency would help.”

This change in mindset will reap rewards in both the short and long-term across different industries, to help significantly in rebalancing the status quo in the career food chain. What further changes need to be done in Sam’s opinion? “We need to tackle the unequal impact of caring roles – one of the big drivers of the pay gap is the fact that women still do most of the caring for children and older relatives too,” she explains. “The pay gap 12 years after the birth of a first child is 33%, so we need to enable men to take leave by equalising leave entitlements and also making flexibility the norm by making all jobs flexible working jobs unless there is a good business reason not to.”

come 3.34pm, the GTG team will be joining Shortlist Media in switching our computers off and setting our out of offices on

And finally, what can we do to help spread awareness now? November 10th, aka Equal Pay Day marks when the average full-time female employee stops earning for the year compared to the average full-time man, so Stylist and its parent company Shortlist Media have taken a stance and are giving all female employees the option of leaving early - at 3.34pm to be exact (an apt 18% earlier), based on a traditional working day of 9am - 5pm. In order to support the campaign, they’re calling on other companies to do the same to provide a simple yet symbolic gesture for highlighting the contribution of women in the workplace.

It's a cause that us and our wonderfully supportive bosses strongly believe in, so come 3.34pm, the GTG team will be joining Shortlist Media in switching our computers off and setting our out of offices on to help support the campaign.

Want to participate too? Here’s how:

1) If you’re an employer - give your female employees the choice to leave early on the 10th of November at 3.34pm.

2) If you’re an employee - copy and paste this letter, drafted by Stylist, and email it to your CEO.

3) On the 10th of November, copy and paste Stylist’s suggested out of office email from the website above, explaining why you’re not working after 3.34pm that day.

4) Change your profile picture on social media to one of their campaign logos, then at 3.34pm, turn on your out of office and leave work.

5) Lastly, enjoy your time off! And, tweet @StylistMagazine using the #equalpayday hashtag to show us all what you’re doing.

For further information, visit www.stylist.co.uk/life/equal-pay-day.

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