Women should have “right to know” what male colleagues earn

Despite the fact it’s nearly half a century since the Equal Pay Act, equal pay for equal work is still a “distant dream” for many women, according to The Fawcett Society.

The charity’s new report ‘Why Women Need a Right to Know’ calls for a change in law to give women a “Right to Know” what a male colleague or colleagues earn if they suspect there is pay discrimination.

The report includes research, which shows that two thirds of women say that finding out that they’re paid less than their male counterparts has a “detrimental impact” on how they feel about their job or their employer – a fifth of women want to leave their job and a third feel less motivated. Fewer than one in four (23%) said they understood the reasons they were paid less.

However, just six per cent said they sought legal advice, while ten per cent didn’t know what to do and a further 17% chose not to do anything.

“Women need an enforceable ‘Right to Know’ what their colleagues earn so that they can challenge unequal pay,” says Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society Chief Executive: Men can help by simply telling their female colleagues what they earn. It really is that simple. “A right to know will also reduce waste in the court system and head off legal action by encouraging employers to settle cases before they get to court.”

The Fawcett Society research also shows that four in ten (37%) women who knew what their male counterparts earned reported that those men are paid more. In fact, according to the survey, just 40% of working women know they are being paid the same as male colleagues doing the same or very similar work to them.

Elsewhere, the gender pay gap has also hit the headline this week, as Labour pledges to close the gender pay gap by 2030 if it wins the election. There’s also a new website launched by women, who are or have been in leadership positions. Mettoopay.co.uk has been set up as a ‘hub for action’- where people can find out about pay discrimination and crucial court cases.

And on the subject of crucial court cases, there’s a good piece here about the support that presenter Samira Ahmed received during her pay claim case against the BBC.

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