Women are turning on their Out of Office messages to raise awareness of the gender pay gap as part of Equal Pay Day, the day the average woman begins working for free until the end of the year compared to their male counterparts. Women and men across the country have set up their email accounts to display an Out of Office message featuring statistics and information, with many planning on leaving the message on for the rest of the year.
The true day varies from job-to-job, however, with the pay gap being so wide in some parts of the UK that they have been effectively working for free for months, and Women working in areas like Derby and Rutland have been working for free ever since September.
“First of all, let’s stop sugar-coating the issue, and deflecting blame by debating who the gender pay gap affects,” said Global strategic advisor, Rita Trehan. “Only when we start to place our focus on what each person can do, and on how we can affect change together, can we hope for any kind of real, sustainable progress.”
Despite Britain reaching its highest employment records in 40 years, pay is still proving to be an issue for millions. Experts are urging recruiters, HR departments and business leaders to reassess how they’re treating their employees, and how they can address it. A major fear for many specialists is that, as the pay gap widens, more and more women could end up retiring into poverty as they aren’t able to save up enough in their working life.
“In education, let’s stop steering girls in the direction of supposedly ‘female’ roles, and let’s start encouraging them to dream about what’s possible, whatever that dream might be,” continued Trehan. “After all, you can’t develop your female employees if there aren’t any. To do this, businesses need to ask, rather than assume, what makes or would make them an attractive employment prospect.”
“Today, on the 10th November, HR and business leaders have an opportunity to take a long, hard look in the mirror. If they don’t see a very diverse group, they should take note: they have work to do!
“If they do see what they should see, they should feel proud and they should shout it from the rooftops. Why? Because other people need to see not only that it is possible to have gender parity in business, but that it is good.”