IT is, in fact, a measure of Britain’s progress as a society – and world-leading economy – that there’s so much focus on the gender pay gap, one of the ‘burning injustices’ that Theresa May has resolved to reconcile.
In previous generations, women may have been expected to put career ambitions on hold, and accepted this, while they brought up their family. Now women should be accepted as equals of men and deserving of pay parity.
This is why companies employing more than 250 people were required, a century after the women’s suffrage campaign, to publish their gender pay gap by last night in one of the biggest – and most important – exercises in transparency ever undertaken.
Just like Labour’s decision to introduce all-women shortlists in the 1990s for the selection of Parliamentary candidates, this controversial approach is succeeding in forcing companies to think again about their employment practices and ensure there’s no discrimination.
And, while there will be anomalies, like those engineering firms who perhaps employ a disproportionate number of men or have a preponderance of males at director level who have been rewarded for decades of service, these are reasonable explanations that are understandable for the time being.
As such, the only organisations who should have everything to fear from this exercise are those whose business and recruitment practices are still derogatory towards women. And they’re the firms who should expect Government intervention as Britain’s business culture becomes more enlightened.