On average, women are paid 20 per cent less than men. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to end this “in a generation”.
Reported by The Times, Cameron said: “Today I’m announcing a really big move: we will make every single company with 250 employees or more publish the gap between average female earnings and average male earnings,”
“That will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up.”
Cameron also reported that females should be encouraged to embark on careers in more male-dominated areas, as well as increasing the number at board level and improving the access to affordable childcare.
Welcoming the government’s plans
The national chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, John Allan, welcomed the plans and said that there are more women at director-level than ever before.
Allan said: “To help support this trend we need to keep up the momentum and break down the remaining barriers that prevent women progressing in the workplace and the boardroom, and so we welcome, and look forward to taking part in, the government’s gender pay gap consultation.”
Others, however, were critical of the scheme. They stated that it wouldn’t significantly help the gender pay gap, and would simply be more costly for businesses.
Group business editor of the Telegraph Media Group, James Quinn, said: “His intention is that it will drive women’s wages up. In reality, it is just as likely, over time, to drive wages down or cause other unintended consequences, which will be bad for the economy,”
“Quotas, rules and placing extra costs on business are not the way to ensure diversity in the workplace.”