News

Its time to get serious about gender inequality at work

5 min read

03 October 2019

As UK's leading businesswomen launch a campaign to end the gender employment gap, its time to face up to the inequality present in British offices today.

The fight for gender equality continues as a group of 100 of the UK’s most noted businesswomen have launched the #MeTooPay campaign to close the gender pay gap.

A hub for action

The website offers itself as a place for people to keep updated on the gender pay gap issue.

In the UK 2019, there is still an 11.9%, pay gap between male and female employees. This shocking statistic shows that more action is needed around the issue of gender equality, especially in the world of work.

What the website aims to do is become a place for activists to keep up to date on topical news stories surrounding gender equality.

The campaign has been backed by major names in the business including  Dame Minouche Shafik, who is the Bank of England’s next potential governor. Could the immediate success of this campaign be the final push needed to understand and bridge the pay the gap?

Can we erode male dominance in the workplace?

The business world still has a very narrow view of what leadership should look like.

The battle for female rights in the workplace has been a long-drawn-out battle.

Today, there is still a culture which resists in believing that women are being paid an unjust amount. Part of this is an unconscious bias which hinders women’s progression in the workplace. Research from the Institute of Leadership and Management proves that under-lying sexism still exists in male-dominated sectors, spanning across both entry-level and senior roles.

The ‘face’ of a leader

The ideal ‘attributes’ of what a business leader should look like has been ingrained into peoples’ mind as a stereotypical alpha male model.

The business world still has a very narrow view of what leadership should look like, so integrating more natural female characteristics such as collaboration or support would take years, the report believes.

Kate Cooper, Head of Research, adds that “If companies are serious about eliminating the gender pay gap, they have to recognise that this is an organisational problem – this is everybody’s issue -not a problem of women, solved by women.  The pace of change to close the gender pay gap must be accelerated.”

Almost eight in 10 UK companies still pay their male employees more.

What would this change mean for men?

Fathers fail to play an active role in their child’s life because of poor ‘paternity leave’ laws at work.

While issues pertaining to equal pay remain a gendered issue, a total review of the payment and treatment of both genders are required in order to create true equality and fairness in the world of work.

In 2016, the government launched legislation which required all major businessess to highlight the contrast in payments for employees. However, the statistics, have shown that it has made little progression in abolishing a divide in pay completely again. When we look at the rights of men and women in the workplace, as a whole, it is easy to admit that men also do not face discrimination.

Parental leave for both parties

Men’s lack of paternity leave is also an issue that is deserving of a review.

Legally speaking, men are only entitled to two weeks off post the birth of their child. Expectant fathers can take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments.  In reality, only 36% of men actually take their entitled leave. These unwritten pressures to return to the office immediately after their child is born, ultimately hinder a father’s ability to bond with their child or help their partners with the newborn at home.

It’s hard to gauge what is truly required to establish equality in the workplace, as it has never existed before. However, the continued call for action by workers across the country evidently reminds of this easily forgotten bias.