The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between the earnings of men and women. Equal pay is the issue that women have been facing for long time in the history. Despite of many policies introduced starting in 1970 the Equal Pay Act. This has lead to many law changes until introduction of Equality Act 2010 which according to the Government Equalities Office (2010) it simplifies the removing inconsistence and making it easier for people to understand and comply with it. The office states that Britain has made a progress however the discrimination still exists.
Moreover, it is well known that women are under-represented in high paying jobs and high level of occupations Gneezy, Leonard and List (2008). This paper is going to attempt to answer questions such as why women are still paid less and reasons behind it. Secondly, how the female and male equality is measured. And last question will attempt to establish how close to seal the gender pay gap is Britain.
The paper will look at policies, social and cultural issues that encourage gender pay gap as well as evaluate impact of historical factors related to this problem. . Why women are still paid less. Equality and Human Right Commission (2010) research show the causes for persistence gap remain stereotyping women’s capabilities and skills. Trade’s union research indicated that main reason explaining the gap is under-valuing women’s work. This was explained by Grimshaw and Rubery (2004) in Modeling Gender Pay Gaps. Another reason for the pay gap to persist could be the employment penalty for mothers.
Research has shown that there are three groups of people affected by disadvantages. Mothers are of them.
Gender segregation where some occupations are dominated by women and these jobs are usually lower paid which is one the foundations of gender pay gap (TUC, 2008). 2. Are female and male equal and how do you measure equality in terms of pay. From gender definition: Gender refers to the social differences and relations between men and women which are learned. They vary amongst society and culture. There is a common mistake where gender is referred as sex for example – statistical data are broken down by sex. In fact term “gender” is sed to investigate the roles, responsibilities, constrains, opportunities and needs of women and men in all areas and in any given social context (International Labour Office, 2007). It can be argued that women and men are equal based on the above definition. It is well known that women are under-represented in the high paying jobs and high level occupations. Recent studies discovered that this could be due to innate difference between women and men. The studies of Gneezy, Leonard and List (2008) have shown on competitive behaviour.
Boys performed better and girls worse than in single sex environment. Thus, the riskier choice made by maes could be due to the nurturing received from parents or peers. Whereas women were encouraged not to take risks. Moreover, the psychologists believe that aspect of individuals’ behaviour is from the gender of other which they interact (Maccoby, 1998). Researches also explored the impact of culture in determining gender differences in competitive behaviour (Gneezy, Leonard and List, 2008). 3. How close are we to close the gender pay gap.
CMI (2010) has recently accounted that gender pay gap will close in 2067. There is evidence that the gap is narrowing, 1970 pay gap was showing 34%, it has narrowed to around 18%. On the other hand, CIPD (2009) reports that forcing employers to public their salary difference won’t close the gender pay gap, instead it will introduce unnecessary bureaucracy and increase employment claims as a result of implementing Equality Act 2010. As a recent example, gender pay gap is not only historical, but it is still reproduced for new recruits in case of Birmingham City Council (The Times, 2010).
It has been also shown that organisations where Union is present tend to have lower gender pay gap. The recent statistics have shown that in the space of one year 2009 to 2010 the number of employment tribunal claims has risen by 56% (Ministry of Justice, 2010) , which indicates that individuals are aware of the equal pay. The statistics cover period before the Equality Act 2010 was introduced and they were published in June 2010. Despite of many attempts by policy makers, the legislation has not eradicated the gender pay gap.
So far complicated law, perhaps for people with little law experience it was difficult to make a claim. One of the biggest changes that are currently undertaken is an introduction Equality Act 2010. Therefore, it is required to continue examination of the pay differences. Monitoring the impact of Equality Act 2010 and later evaluation is necessary. Although, the pay gap is slowly narrowing the economical difficulties and labour market could influence pay gap to widen again, as it was seen in 2007 where pay gap has increased from 21. 9% to 22. 6%.