What is the #genderpaygap and what can we do?

Today is the deadline for all private companies in the UK, with over 250 employees, to publish how much their male employees earn compared to their female employees. Companies have been reporting their #genderpaygap

This isn’t about equal pay where you compare the pay of a man and a woman who are doing exactly the same job, this is about the average hourly pay for all men in an organisation compared with the average hourly pay for all women.

I wasn’t entirely surprised to read that across the UK, 78% of companies pay men more than they pay women.  13% pay women more than men and 8% said they had no gender pay gap.    

The average gender pay gap is 18.4%. 


If you work for a company with over 250 employees, you should be able to find their data using this gov.uk link. 

There were some predictable results:  the construction industry, for example, has a really large (over 50%) gender pay gap.  There were also some big surprises: Karen Millen, the women’s fashion retailer pays women 49% less per hour than men.  This means that men are being paid twice what women are paid, at a women’s fashion brand.  Now, I never really shop in Karen Millen these days anyway (their tight fits don’t flatter my post-pregnancy body) but I refuse to even look in the window now!

There will be people, obviously, who try to explain away the gender pay gap, saying that it only exists because of the choices that women make.  This is true, but women have constrained menu of choices to make.  It is also absolutely true that many (but definitely not all!) of the causes of the gender pay gap lie outside of the workplace. 

Childcare commitments mean that us mothers are less likely to go for challenging, less full-on, jobs.  We are the ones who take maternity leave, who cut back our hours to do the school run, who try to fit it all in and then feel like we are compromising in every area. 

Diversity is good for business.  Now, diversity isn’t just about the gender balance, it’s about the ethnic balance, the class balance, the international balance.  Diversity is about diversity of thought. 

Gender is a good place to start though. Different genders have different perspectives on issues.  If you have diversity on your boards, in your company, in your organisation, it is better for business. Fact! 

Companies need to develop inclusive workplaces, more flexible employment solutions, home working solutions, better promotion prospects for women, training, coaching and mentoring for women, sponsorship and networking opportunities, financially viable parental leave packages and an erosion of the culture of presentee-ism (which I feel acutely when I leave bang on five to make my 6pm nursery pick-up). 

There is a lot more that companies can and should be doing.  There is a lot more that government should be doing.  There is probably a lot more that we could and should be doing too to ensure that we get the pay, recognition, working environment, flexibility and opportunities that we deserve.

The #paymetoo campaign has been set up to help and encourage women to challenge pay in their organisations. 

Maybe, just maybe, we could make a change. 


P.S.  Not a collaborative post.  This is too important not to write about.

My Random Musings


  1. April 9, 2018 / 7:26 pm

    This makes me so cross, we are in 2018 I can’t believe companies have been getting away with it for so long. I used to be the only woman on our company board, along with 10 men! And actually there were no women at the next level down either. However, it was a very “typical” male dominated company. Shame on Karen Millen though!

    • thesingleswan
      April 16, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      Absolutely. Shame on Karen Millen and shame on the other companies too – even the “typical” male dominated ones. I can’t think of many companies that don’t have a proportion of a female customer base. Pen x

  2. April 9, 2018 / 8:59 pm

    I think there’s a lot of confusing information thrown around about the gender pay gap, but you’ve highlighted the key issue (for me anyway) which is equal opportunities for women to earn the same as men. I am a staunch feminist, but can honestly say it wouldn’t bother me if men were being paid more than women if it was true that women had just as much opportunity to earn the same as men but genuinely chose not to, not just being forced to make those decisions out of circumstance. #AnythingGoes

    • thesingleswan
      April 16, 2018 / 8:30 pm

      I agree Alice. Thank you. And, I am a staunch Feminist too – in case you hadn’t guessed. Pen x

  3. April 10, 2018 / 1:21 am

    Interesting to read about how these things are in another country. Unfortunately our current leadership here in The States is busy removing regulations put in place to try and solve this #anythinggoes
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…Growing Old TogetherMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 16, 2018 / 8:29 pm

      Ah yes, sometimes I think things are rubbish in the UK and then I look at what is happening the other side of the pond… Sorry. Pen x

  4. April 10, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    It really angers me that in today’s society we haven’t got that far regards equality for everyone.#ablogginggoodtime
    Helena recently posted…Create Your Own JewelleryMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 16, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      I agree Helena. I wish I knew what to do about it. Pen x

  5. April 11, 2018 / 12:30 pm

    You know until recently I thought my daughter’s life would not be that different to mine or for that matter my mother’s but I sense times are changing and fairness might just come and hopefully not in the long distant future. Thanks for writing about this important issue. #AnythingGoes
    Kate recently posted…Once in a Lifetime Travel IdeasMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      April 16, 2018 / 8:28 pm

      Thank you Kate. Pen x

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