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How will we fix the gender pay gap in the charity sector?

How will we fix the gender pay gap in the charity sector?

Gender Pay Gap

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Equality, diversity and gender issues within the workplace have never been so topical. With the average median of the gender pay gap being 18.4% in the voluntary sector and 5.4% overall in the UK, there is still quite a long way to go before we start seeing significant economic growth.

Big charities such as PDSA and Marie Stops have pay gaps that are above 35% - Guardian analysists find.

Within the charity sector, there are massive pay gaps between men and women, almost three out of four companies pay their female employees less than their male employees. Oxfam a Catholic founded charity (Est 1958) that relies on volunteers (20,000+) and partners to help with their global cause have very strong economic values when it comes to the gender pay gap, they have recently published a document that has a range of commitments they would like to address themselves when tackling this issue – their current gap stands at 12.5% with the global average in the voluntary sector being 18.4%.

Today’s current rate of progress in tackling the gap between men and women could take approximately 170 years to close the difference in the overall global economy -  this figure is much larger than 2017’s prediction, meaning economic inequality between men and women has reverted back to figures last seen in 2008.

Research conducted in 2017 has shown that if our global economy tackled the injustice of the gender pay gap throughout all sectors, there would be an additional £12trillion added to the global economy each year.

With this in mind we still do have a long way to go, but taking small steps and focusing on the divide between men and women in professional environments will help increase the influx between their salary bands.

Skills, training and personal development is a great place to start and offering individuals the chance to improve themselves and progress in their careers will help close the gap even more. One of Oxfam’s commitments is to work towards a 50:50 women in Leadership Teams, with the aim to maintain their female representation of 35% - 65%.

Most employers don’t utilise their female employees’ academic achievements, talents and experience effectively. If we equalised women’s productivity and participation rates we could see a significant impact to our economy, the increase in transparency around gender pay will affect company’s policies and practices, promoting gender equality throughout the workplace.

Back in 2017 the world was hit by the #MeToo and #Time’sUp movement, one of the biggest gender equality trends to ever hit social media, erupting from the exploitation of women within the charity sector, with over two thirds of charity/voluntary organisation’s employees being women it struck hard blows into how women are treated in the workplace.   

With structural causes of the gender pay gap creating different variations in multiple industries, we need to benchmark with others to help highlight the benefits and disadvantages in our practices, to help encourage the best route to take. Encouraging research and commentating in this area will help us understand the causes of gaps and how we can effectively address them, keeping this issue in the spotlight of mainstream media will help employers prioritise the actions we need to take.

A few extra steps: Let’s close the gap

  • Publication of gender pay
  • Analysing data and company internal structures to understand the gender pay gap
  • Begin to implement different actions that will improve gender equality in the workplace
  • Introducing enhanced, shared parental pay for partners, which can be aimed at encouraging more men/partners to take time off for child caring responsibilities
  • Ensuring diversity and equality amongst development courses

Committing to developing workable regulations that increase gender pay transparency will benefit not just employers but their employees’ attitudes towards workplace equality, with aims to improve the gender pay gap year on year we will hopefully see a significant difference in all sectors.

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