New IFS stats show there's still an 18% pay gap between men & women

Women earn 18% less than men on average, according to new research. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) also found that the gap balloons after women have children, raising the prospect that mothers are missing out on pay rises and promotions. That is echoed by a separate report on Tuesday suggesting that male managers are 40% more likely than female managers to be promoted.

I think we need to stop putting women’s pathway in a box and say ‘well it would be the same for men’ – it’s simply not! The stats show that. Whether it’s men or women, if they become a parent with responsibility for child care and are stepping back from a career but they wish to continue working and prospering, then it’s important that companies value the skill and experience and where possible (and some need to make effort to make it possible, if not currently) for them to work flexible hours and be eligible for the same salary rises as those working full-time. Becoming a mother gives you fresh ambition and if valued and invested in, it can provide much asset for companies. Instead it’s wasted.
Yes we are improving and we should celebrate the lower rate – however, for the current focus there is on innovative thinking, working and female empowerment, it’s actually disappointing. InspirEngage International, a social enterprise I run, delivers a programme called ‘Startup & Stilettos- The Future is Female’ (see a snapshot video here)  and in this, we train women who have lost their confidence to launch their own social enterprises and become economically independent. It has shown us that business sometimes is the only place women can create their own rules and those women should be applauded. However, a vast majority of women who work in companies who still operate with a marked gender pay gap, are affected. I support Government’s plans to publish the bigger companies’ pay gap, but the change will continue to happen slowly unless we are willing restructure the labour market to allow skilled and ambitious women (particularly mothers) to thrive.

However, the problem isn’t solely for companies and Government to solve. Another important factor in addressing the gender pay gap is women being afraid to challenge their employers in asking the tough questions & wanting to be paid their worth. Research shows that women’s ambition dips whereas men’s grows- is that due to the system of being undervalued or is it us?

We need to work on the women as well as challenging the employers. This is what we do at InspirEngage with our programmes aimed at women and the speaking tours I undertake- once you understand your worth, your skills and what you are working for, you’re more likely to be able to match it with ambition and productivity. Not only that, but we are now working with companies to increase a sense of purpose connected to the company vision for women which research has shown increases retention. This is good for the employer and for the women.

 

Upcoming events Melody will be speaking at, connected to this subject:

  • Keynote speaker, Future Fest, on the subject of future of work for young people and women, 17 September, London
  • Speaker at 18th Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum in Dubai, on the subject of career and purpose for women, October 2016
  • Speaker at CSR Lebanon Forum in Beirut, October 2016
  • Trainer at Women’s Forum, Deauville, France, November 2016
For all enquiries, email info@inspirEngage.com. Tweet: @inspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

Watch Melody speaking at TEDx Women in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia