Women should leave work today and not come back until the new year

Roisin O'Connor@Roisin_OConnor
Thursday 10 November 2016 12:00
news
The average female worker in the UK earns 13.9 per cent less than her male counterpart(PA)

Happy Equal Pay Day, your annual reminder that women are essentially working for free from today until January 2017.

The Equal Pay Act came into effect in the UK in 1970 and was ammended by a European Court of Justice judgement in 1982 to incorporate equal value into UK law.

That meant that women were not only entitled to equal pay for equal work, but also to equal pay when their role was judged to be of equal value to a role occupied by a man in the same workplace.

But still, the average female worker in the UK earns 13.9 per cent less than her male counterpart, based on the mean average for full time employees. So they're getting 86.1 pence for every £1 a man earns - translating to mean that from 10 November, relative to men, they don't get a penny for the rest of the year.

Equal pay campaigners in 1954(Getty)

In Iceland and France, women have been leaving work at specific times to protest that fact that they are 'working for free' for part of the day.

While Iceland is considered the best country in the world for gender inequality, women still earn on average 14 to 18 per cent less than their male colleagues.

New regulations that will name and shame large employers by forcing them to publish their gender pay gaps are set to come into effect in 2017, with the subsequent data made public in 2018.

The Fawcett Society makes the following suggestions for getting involved in Equal Pay Day:

  • Share a photo of yourself on social media doing the job that you are proud of – this could be either paid or unpaid work – to highlight the contribution of women to our economy and our society. Or, share a photo of yourself with women in your workplace or in your life that you are proud of.
  • Don’t forget to use #EqualValue and tell us why you’re proud of what you or they do and why closing the pay gap matters to you.

Men can get involved too:

  • We’d love men to tweet images of themselves undertaking important work traditionally perceived to be undertaken by women – perhaps you are a stay at home dad, or work in a female dominated industry? Share an image of yourself at work along with your thoughts on why closing the pay gap matters. Or, share the work done by your female colleagues, friends or family, highlighting why you are proud of and value their contribution.
  • If you think women have #EqualValue to men, then shout about it on social media this #EqualPayDay!

For employers:

  • This is your chance to highlight the work you do to close the pay gap in your organisation and to demonstrate that you really value your female employees. Please tweet images of the great work women do for your organisation and share your examples of ways to close the pay gap.

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