Gender Pay Gap: “For Major Change to Occur, Major Action is Needed”

Kay Hussain - WISE - CEO

WISE CEO Kay Hussain explains how there’s a “fundamental flaw” in the system, and that a lack of change in the gender pay gap, though no surprise, must not be mistaken for a lack of importance…

The fact that the gender pay gap remains largely unchanged has come as no surprise. Though it may reflect what we already know, we must be careful not to mistake a lack of surprise for a lack of importance, says WISE CEO Kay Hussain.

A “fundamental flaw” in our system

The BBC reported on a study that found that there was “little change” in the gender pay gap over the last two-and-a-half decades. While The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found raising the minimum wage had helped close the gap for lower earners, there had been no such progress for graduates in hourly wages. 

The government says the gap has fallen significantly and 1.9 million more women are in work compared with 2010.

More recently, the TUC called on ministers to boost rights for flexible working, and for a cash injection into the childcare sector.

They claimed that with the gender pay gap the way it is currently, women work for free for “two months of the year”.

In the report, TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:  “It’s clear that just publishing gender pay gaps isn’t working. 

“Companies must be required to publish action plans to explain what steps they’ll take to close their pay gaps. And bosses who don’t comply with the law should be fined. 

“The pandemic highlighted that we can do more to help women balance their caring responsibilities and work. Flexible working is key to keeping mums in jobs and is our best way of closing the gender pay gap. 

“We should change the law so that all jobs are advertised with all the possible flexible options clearly stated. And all workers must have the legal right to work flexibly from their first day in a job.” 

“We are capable of moving the needle”

Commenting on latest figures on the gender pay gap, WISE CEO Kay Hussain said: “While the gender pay gap reflects what we already know, the lack of surprise must not be mistaken for lack of importance. 

 “The fact that there has been no improvement in 2023 demonstrates a fundamental flaw in our system – one that must be addressed by organisations directly, through building awareness first, and then by putting in the hard work. 

She added: “We are capable of moving the needle, but for major change to occur, major action must first be taken.”