Progress to reduce the gender pay gap has been far too slow, and risks reversing. The disparity between men’s and women’s pay continues to underpin the power imbalance that defines the world’s working populations and will hinder global efforts to recover economies in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report, by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and the Fawcett Society, brings together research on six country case studies in three continents to explore how gender pay gap reporting systems compare on the ground. Looking at reporting systems in the UK, Australia, France, Spain, Sweden and South Africa, the research considers how the different legislation plays out in practice. Does it seem to work? Are employers being spurred into action? Are there hidden pitfalls or loopholes in the current systems that are hindering their progress? This research asks stakeholders from government officials, employers, trade unionists and gender equality advocates about the various frameworks to explore what is effective and how these systems could be improved.
Through comparison across the cases, the report identified nine recommendations for the development and improvement of gender pay gap reporting regimes:
- Employers must be made accountable to government agencies and gender pay gap reports should be transparent
- Action plans are essential for change
- A dedicated, well-funded body with the authority to impose sanctions will shift the dial
- Include all employers
- Gender pay gaps do not provide the whole picture – government and employers need to take an intersectional approach
- Go beyond the headline figures
- Raise standards to raise results
- Clearer support from government for employers and trade unions
- Gender pay gap reporting must be seen by governments and employers as one element of a winder package of support to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and beyond