This new report 234.53 KB by Dr Jackie Longworth for Fair Play South West presents a detailed analysis of data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings published by the Office of National Statistics. It combines this with qualitative intelligence from women and women's organisations to identify some causes of gender pay gaps and makes recommendations for solutions. It is intended as a reference document for those campaigning on specific issues around women's access to well paid jobs. It should be cited as:
Some of the major findings include:
- The laws which prohibit discrimination in pay and conditions for part time working should be adequately implemented and policed.
- Employers need to advertise all jobs as available for flexible working at the same hourly rate regardless of hours worked. A voluntary approach to this is not working (or not working fast enough) and there needs to be a statutory requirement. The right to request flexible working is falling far short of what’s needed.
- Planners, transport authorities and developers need to consider the differing needs of women and men when deciding how to distribute residential and employment space and to ensure that public transport opens up the connections between them. Public authorities are under a legal duty to do this.
- Combining the low pay and low number of hours many women are able to work, some 43% of all working women earn less than a Living Wage per week. Increasing the minimum wage will go some way to remove this social injustice, but to eliminate poverty pay it needs to go up by more than and faster than announced by the government in 2015.
- Society needs to rethink the value it places on the caring occupations if it is serious about eliminating the gender pay gap.
- Childcare benefits children and their future development as much as it does their parents and should be considered as infrastructure at least as important as transport, energy and housing. It should be funded accordingly.
- Early years’ education and childcare should be seen as of sufficient value to society to warrant a publically provided service in the same way as the Education system provides for school-age children and young people. There should be a fundamental rethink of how childcare is provided to ensure that supply is funded rather than demand.
- There is an urgent need to reinstate a professional independent careers advice and guidance service and ensure that schools and colleges use it. Such a service should be subject to the public sector equality duty to promote equality of opportunity including for women.
- The support for providers of advice and guidance should include adequate labour market information including potential earnings and employer demand for skills. Employers, too, have a role to play in ensuring that their workplace culture and practices match their claims to be equal opportunities employers.
- Public sector employers are under a legal duty to promote equality of opportunity and effective gender impact analysis would identify and correct such biases; unfortunately effective gender impact analysis is rare and becoming rarer, a situation which requires better enforcement to correct.
- Private sector employers should also be encouraged, if not required, to gender proof their recruitment, personal development and promotion practices. In the meantime, public sector procurement should be used to drive this agenda forward in the private sector.
- The effectiveness of the law in reducing pay gaps should be improved in several ways including: removal of tribunal fees for discrimination cases; introduction of group action claims; a duty on judges to require improvements in processes and to monitor compliance.
- There is a need for better data on the causes and solutions of ‘double jeopardy’; for example, women who are BME are disadvantaged more than both men who are BME and women who are not. As a first step the ability to take multiple discrimination cases should be restored to Equality Act 2010.
- Access to English language courses for women whose first language is not English should be improved.