Women are yet to gain the equality they deserve as research has established that they will earn £300,000 less in the working lifetime, raising concerns on the huge gap on gender pay and action to be taken on shared parental leave.
With the Equal Rights Act being introduced over four decades ago, the gap in pay is still an immediate call of concern, with research illustrating that there is a huge gap of £5,732 or 24% between women and men in full-time annual salaries. Analysis carried out by the recruiter, Robert Half found that the lifetime shortfall estimates at £298,064 if the career is over a period of 52 years.
So how serious is this issue? Looking closely at the statistics, figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the following were the key findings found;
- Faster growth for men's full-time salaries of 1.6% compared to 1.4% for women. With that, the median gross pay on a full-time basis for males employees goes to £29,934 in comparison to £24,202 for women.
- Average gender pay gap (based on median earnings for full-time employees) decreased to 9.4% from 9.6% in 2014. According to the ONS, this the lowest it has been since the surveys began in 1997, even though the gap change has been relatively little recently.
As a whole economy, in 2014, women's hourly gross earning was on average 16.1% below compared to men in the European Union and 16.5% in the Euro area. Yet, excuses can be made on this gap against women. The common reason given is that women tend to take career breaks or take up part time work for childbearing or decisions which favour the family life. Furthermore, the magnitude of working women and their characteristics differ significantly between countries, mainly because the attitudes governing the balance between private and work life, impacting on their career and the pay of women.
So what can be done to tackle this? Well, David Cameron made a pledge that big firms will have to reveal their pay differences openly by 2016 yet here we are, still waiting for that pledge to be seen. In fact, women will have to wait until 2018 to find out whether they being paid less compared to their male colleagues. In a move that has been resisted by many big companies and Tory party members, companies that have employed more than 250 people will be required to disclose the salaries and bonuses of male and female staff members. But it remains an open question, does disclosing gender pay gap information really overshadow the fact the United Kingdom government is illegally going against the Equal Pay Act set by the EU? Is the delay of making these figures public a way for Cameron to come up with a more suitable solution to an issue that should not exist in society today?
A quick action needs to take place to ensure that women are treated equally in pay and in all aspects of employment. Cameron needs to ensure that the gap in pay does not decrease any further by giving more opportunities to women in roles that may seem as a 'male' role and close the unnecessary gap.
 Annual Survey of Hours and Earning, 2015.
 Countries in the EU that have opted for the Euro as their currency