Equal Pay Day 2022: What can be done to close the gap?

Mind the gap sign on the floor of the London Underground, gender pay gap concept


Women are now effectively working for free for the rest of the year, thanks to the gender pay gap.

Equal Pay Day is a national campaign led by the Fawcett Society in the UK. It marks the day in the year where women effectively, on average, stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap.

This year’s Equal Pay Day is just two days later in the calendar that it was in 2021 – a worrying sign considering women have been disproportionately affected by the economic crisis. Women are more likely to be in low paid jobs and have been hit the hardest by the sharp rise in inflation.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average pay of men and women within a particular group or population. Fawcett uses the mean, full-time, hourly gender pay gap for the UK to calculate the gender pay gap for Equal Pay Day which this year is 11.3%, a tiny decrease from 11.9% last year.

Here at SheCanCode, we take a look at how we can, as individuals and as collective organisations, help to take a stand this Equal Pay Day.

Sign the Right to Know petition

When pay is treated as a secret, women are the ones to suffer the most.

Pay discrimination is thriving because we have a culture of pay secrecy in the UK and employers can get away with it because there is no transparency.

The Fawcett Society is pushing for their new Equal Pay Bill to replace the Equal Pay Bill, passed over 50 years ago. The Bill will modernise the law on equal pay. In their proposal, it would give women who suspect they are not getting equal pay, the ‘Right to Know’ what a male colleague doing the same work is paid.

Ask for a pay rise

Women are less likely to ask for a pay rise, compared to their male counterparts. This Equal Pay Day, we’re encouraging women to know their worth and to ask for one. Below, we’ve detailed some handy tips to get the pay you deserve:

  • Don’t surprise your boss – pre-warn your manager by emailing them to ask if you can book some time in. If you feel uncomfortable asking to talk about your wage, you can always ask for a chat about your career prospects and progression instead.
  • Do it in person (if you can) – more and more of us are working remotely nowadays, but if you can meet in person, then do. It’s much harder to say no to someone when looking directly at them.
  • Do build a case for your pay rise – make notes of your achievements and positive actions to show your successes.
  • Don’t go in to your review with over-the-top expectations – look at similar roles in the job market to get a rough idea of what the going rate is.

Make diversity a part of your core values

Diversity just makes smart business sense – and it should be part of an organisation’s culture.

When a company has a diverse workforce, they have access to a range of different thoughts, ideas and skills. Being a diverse company also opens the talent pool to a wider variety of prospective employees. Diversity has also been proven to increase productivity, creativity and innovation.

Here at SheCanCode, we promote and advocate for companies that are focused on increasing diversity across their tech workforce.

If you’d like to attract a more diverse workforce, SheCanCode can help! We work closely with companies of all sizes, across many industry sectors to help them attract and hire a diverse workforce.

Through our platform, employers can engage with a niche target audience of women in tech, to position themselves as an employer of choice.

Stop asking women for their salary history

Ending the practice of asking a potential employee about salary history is a small step that will make a huge difference to closing the gender pay gap.

Salary questions damage women’s confidence to negotiate. Research has found that 61% of women who have been asked about salary history say it damaged their confidence to negotiate for better pay. Also, if a candidate is being underpaid at their previous role, it could lead to a lifetime of historical biases affecting earnings.

There is evidence that ending the practice of asking about salary history works. When it was banned in the US, women received an 8% pay increase and Black employees a 13% pay increase.

Fawcett East London started the grassroots campaign, #EndSalaryHistory, where companies pledge to not solicit current salary information from prospective employees; review all background and screening software to ensure they don’t ask about salary history; and to seek other methods to negotiate salary.

By eliminating the question, it ensures everyone is being treated equally, regardless of their background.

Donate to the Equal Pay Fund

Donations to the Equal Pay Fund, started by a donation from BBC newsreader, Carrie Gracie, help The Fawcett Society offer an Equal Pay Advice Service.

If you think you are being paid unequally because of you sex, then this service might be able to help you. This service targets those whose gross income is under £30,000 per annum or less, and who do not have access to legal advice.


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