The UK has often been praised as one of the most alike and socially developed countries in the world, offering “equal” opportunities to both men and women, regardless of their gender.

However, figures disprove this claim, suggesting that gender pay gap is 9.1% per hour for full time employees in the UK, or £1.32 per hour. This states that on average men earn £1.32 more per hour than women, despite having the same skill level and position of authority. Women also do more part time work than men. If you count part-time wages too, the gender pay gap rises to 18.4%, or £2.52 per hour.

Studies show that in fact Iceland has the lowest gender pay gap in the world , with the government actively seeking to reduce the gap between men and women through legal policies and implementations. On International Women’s Day last year, Iceland passed a law requiring companies to prove they pay employees of both genders the same. The initiative came after six decades of lobbying, which was spearheaded by Fríða Rós Valdimarsdóttir, chair of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association. This ensured that all companies in Iceland had a legal duty to pay all of their workers the same wage, regardless of gender. Those who fall below standards will face a daily fine of £350 and public shame. 

In April 2018, UK organisations with over 250 employees were legally required to publish their gender pay gap data, with shocking results. Of the 10,016 companies surveyed, a staggering 78% of companies paid men more than women.

Across these organisations, the proportion of women in leadership positions was found to be significantly less than the proportion of men. The data revealed that men held 61% of senior roles compared to just 39% of women and this highlighted the discrimination within high profile companies, exaggerating the need for intervention. 

CMI has repeatedly called on organisations to push for gender equality in the workplace by using transparency measures.

CMI’s Blueprint for Balance and its CMI Women network offers advice to businesses to boost equality and support the rise of female leaders. Commenting on the gender pay gap findings from 2018, Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI said that this showed: “the scale of the challenge we continue to face, and the painfully slow progress being made.”

The gap in pay between males and females appears to be a long term issue that won’t get resolved overnight. However, through educating companies and staff short term progress can gradually lead to long term success, ensuring in the nearby future the pay gap decreases, until it ceases to exist completely.