The Fawcett Society has announced that Equal Pay Day was on Saturday, 10 November this year. It marks the date when women across the UK received their 'last payslip' of the year and started 'working for free' when compared to male salaries on a like-for-like basis. Equal Pay Day fell on 10 November in both 2016 and 2017, suggesting that the gender pay gap is not closing.
Shainaz Firfiray, associate professor of human resource management at Warwick Business School and a member of the school's Industrial Relations Research Unit, said: "The persistence of gender disparities in pay may seem surprising in light of the many policy measures that have been adopted to deal with it. However, some recent research suggests that gender disparities in pay persist because female workers are still considered less competent and committed.
"Women’s efforts are often undervalued in the workplace, which reinforces perceptions of higher male competence and entitles men to higher pay. Such notions might create even greater inequalities as women who internalise beliefs of lower competence might experience stress and anxiety at work, which fulfils the stereotype of lower performance and further widens the gender pay gap.
"Undervaluing women’s work also makes it harder for them to assert their value in the workplace and negotiate higher salaries. Women rarely initiate negotiations and even when they do, they routinely negotiate lower salaries and less desirable employment conditions than males.
"The gender pay gap is often attributed to the fact that women have shorter working lives and take more career breaks than men.
"However, as women have closed the gap in education and experience, it is apparent that other factors such as discrimination and unconscious bias against women are more important in explaining the gender pay gap. Research evidence has supported the persistence of a pay gap that favours men compared to women even when factors such as education, professional skills and experience are considered.
"Tackling the gender wage gap will require greater transparency in pay and promotion policies as well as development of workplace cultures that discourage stereotypes of lower female commitment or competence."