Shocking new figures exclusively revealed to Grazia this week show the gender pay gap between men and women in their twenties has doubled in the past three years. Today, Grazia launches a campaign - asking companies to publish the details of hourly pay of men and women - the first step to closing the pay gap. So, are you with us?
We've started a petition calling for a piece of Labour legislation – Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 – to be enforced. It requires big employers, with staff of more than 250 people, to publish details annually about the hourly pay of men and women they employ. The legislation, shelved when Labour lost power, would mean total transparency. In other words, you'd be able to see if you were being paid less than your male colleagues in a comparable role.
And it can't come a moment too soon. Overall, women are still earning just 80p to every pound that men earn. And according to the new figures based on the Office of National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Incomes, the pay gap between men and women in their twenties has doubled since 2010, going from 2.6 per cent to 5.3 per cent. It has also increased for women in their thirties, from 11.9 per cent to 12 per cent.
It's no surprise to Heather*, 27, who knows she is earning an average £6,000 less than her male colleagues. 'I'm friends with the director's PA and when she was drunk she let slip the difference in pay. She was annoyed about the glaring inequality.. and I'm absolutely furious. But what can I do when I'm not even meant to know.'
She's not the only one. Take, Shannon*, 25, who works in advertising and felt too insecure in her job to ask for a pay rise, despite knowing her male counterpart was earning more than her. To make matters worse, for an end of year bonus he was given £2,000 cash while she got a £100 Liberty's voucher. Or Erin, 30, a lawyer who was asked to take a pay cut to avoid redundancy... only to find out none of her male colleagues had been asked to do the same. Meanwhile Amanda, 38*, who works in media, was stunned when two of her male colleagues drunkenly boasting about their salaries in front of her... and realised both were being paid an average £10,000 more, despite having the same experience as her.
Gloria De Piero, Shadow Minister for Equality and Women, told Grazia that something needs to change. ‘More young women than men are now going to university and yet these figures show many more women are still ending up in lower paid jobs. It’s now been 46 years after the machinists walked out of Dagenham in protest over the pay divide, which prompted the Equal Pay Act two years later. We can’t wait another 44 years for change. Women deserve equal treatment and equal pay.’
Daisy Sands, Head of Policy at the Fawcett Society, agrees. 'The pay gap for full time workers has risen to 16 per cent, up from last year. There are a variety of reasons for this. One is the ‘hidden’ pay gap – last year men in management roles earned £6,400 in bonuses while women earned £3,000. The ‘motherhood penalty’ is another factor, when women step away from the labour market to start a family. They find themselves going back part time or being downgraded.'
'This is not a man versus woman fight', says Gloria. 'Men should be with us on this. It’s their daughter, sister, wife who is suffering. Let us all pull together and finally close this pay gap for good.’
*Names have been changed - Read the full article in this week's issue of Grazia, on sale now.