DLR Chamber Women In Business Alliance attended this symposium recently.
The Key Points are outlined below:
Public consultation on measures to address the gender pay gap – Key Points
The public consultation on measures to address the gender pay gap received 38 submissions from employers, unions, civil society, professional bodies and individuals from varied backgrounds. Responses largely reflected six of the contributory factors identified by the EU Commission in its research as the main causes of gender pay gap. These were:
• occupational and sectoral segregation – whereby women and men carry out different jobs and often work in different sectors, with more women than men in lower-paid employment;
• undervaluing of work and skills associated with women;
• a lack of women in senior and leadership roles;
• difficulties balancing work and family responsibilities, including access to childcare;
• gender roles and traditions, such as the association of caring responsibilities with women;
• perceived discrimination in the workplace.
Respondents also identified a range of issues associated with another of the factors identified by the Commission, namely workplace practices and pay systems. The issues highlighted were:
· that more women than men were in part-time employment;
· the prevalence of precarious work and zero-hour contracts;
· unconscious bias;
· lack of flexible work practices;
· non-transparency of pay structures; and
· initial and unequal salary negotiations disadvantaging women.
172 individual actions were proposed to address the problem of the gender pay gap:
· 45, or a quarter of the suggested actions, were directed at non-transparency of pay structures;
· Occupational and sectoral segregation, including the prevalence of women in low-paid work, was referenced in 25 suggested actions, or 14% of the total;
· 24 actions, or 14% of the total, were directed at gender roles and traditions, such as at the association of caring responsibilities with women;
· A further 17 actions, 10% of the total, addressed difficulties in balancing work and family responsibilities and in getting access to childcare; and
· Unconscious bias was addressed by 16 actions, or 9% of the total.
Actions relating to pay transparency were raised repeatedly in submissions. These included improving data collection and Government statistics, undertaking company wage surveys disaggregated by gender, encouraging transparent pay scales, promotion of information and awareness of the gender pay gap, and sector-specific recommendations. Other examples of actions put forward were:
· suggestions to increase paternity leave and to introduce mandatory shared parental leave;
· promoting continuous unconscious bias training at all levels in business and education;
· introducing gender-neutral job evaluation criteria, and introducing affirmative recruitment systems;
· promotion of STEM subjects and apprenticeships to girls and young women, and reviewing the subjects offered by girls’ schools to ensure a full offering of STEM subjects;
· various actions to address the availability and affordability of paid childcare; and
· tracking gender trends against economic cycles.
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