Grazia Went To Parliament – And Won A Vote For Equal Pay

Grazia Went To Parliament - And Won A Vote For Equal Pay


by Zoe Beaty |
Published on


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For months team Grazia have been working tirelessly on a campaign that we believe in fervently… And today, we proudly took our Mind The Pay Gap fight to parliament, and watched history in the making.

In an overwhelming majority, 258 MPs voted ‘YES’ to implementing Section 78 of the 2010 Equality Act, which it to be mandatory for large companies to publish the anonymised salaries of their staff, making it easier for the pay gap to be seen and, crucially, for action to be taken over it.

We were joined by the incredible ladies who staged the first and legendary equal pay strike in Dagenham in 1968 which prompted the 1970 Equal Pay Act, and the stars of the stage play their plight inspired, including Gemma Arterton - as well as Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who made a speech in support of the campaign, and Gloria De Piero. Alongside us were Unite and Fawcett Society, who have a long history in campaigning for equal pay.

We sat in the House of Commons public gallery as the bill was read by Labour MP Sarah Champion - who thanked Grazia and our brilliant readers during her speech in parliament - before the vote took place. Seven Conservative MPs voted no and one Tory officially abstained from the vote by voting both ways.

Ed Miliband shows his support for the Mind The Pay Gap campaign [Pic: Getty]
Ed Miliband shows his support for the Mind The Pay Gap campaign [Pic: Getty]

But what happens now?

The House has spoken overwhelmingly in favour of Section 78 - and rightly so. We are officially one (huge) step closer to making the bill a reality, and closing the pay gap for good. The next stage will be a second reading of the bill, on February 27, during which there will be a full debate and the government will have to justify why they won’t support it, if they choose to do so.

This means that Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, will be speaking to the House. Incidentally, despite showing for the photo-call and speaking on Sky News in favour of the bill, Swinson (tellingly) failed to vote.

It means that we are getting there - but there is still work to do. Women all over the country face sex discrimination - on average, a woman in the UK will miss out on more than £200,000 of salary over her lifetime - and many of them aren’t even aware of it.

So far just five companies in the UK publish the salaries of their staff, all of whom say there have been no negative repercussions. It’s important not just for individual companies, but for the broader view of the way we value male and female work. Too often we hold traditionally ‘male’ work - like manual labour - in higher esteem than jobs which are seen by society to have feminine associations - like care work or admin. No-one - male or female - should be undervalued in their work.

So now we need to hope that MPs will do the right thing in February - and vote for Section 78. A vote against Section 78 is a vote against equality. Are you with us?

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