It’s Not Just About the Gender Pay Gap

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When discussing pay gaps, Gender Pay seems to be the one everyone wants to highlight. Is it because the Gender Pay Gap became mandatory to report in 2017? Or, is it because the media has regularly produced articles about the Gender Pay Gap? You could argue that organisations also play a part in raising the profile because much of their focus has been on Gender particularly when it comes to diversity initiatives.

What of the Ethnicity Pay Gap? Why isn’t this a key focus for media and organisations, could it be because the Ethnicity Pay Gap is not mandatory to report? Or is it because media appetite is not at the level of the Gender Pay Gap? Do organisations consider the Ethnicity Pay Gap as an actionable initiative for their diversity programmes? It is my personal belief that the lack of appetite from the government and the media has blindsided many people to think that the Ethnicity Pay Gap is not a major issue.

I want to put forward an argument that highlights how important the Ethnicity Pay Gap is. I will not be presenting my usual argument about the people behind the numbers, nor will I focus on how those affected by financial disparity experience it in many guises, for example, Ethnicity Pension Gap, Ethnicity Motherhood Pay Penalty, and Ethnic Disability Pay Gap. Each of these areas is very important as it shows the depth and complexity of the issue.

I have been known to say over the years that If you do not address the Ethnicity Pay Gap it is very unlikely that the Gender Pay Gap will be fully addressed. Why? The Gender Pay Gap analysis undertaken does not take into consideration the intersectionality of women. It doesn’t recognise that Black, Asian and other ethnically minoritised women are penalised by the Gender Pay Gap and the Ethnicity Pay Gap.

I never wondered or became concerned about the limited invitations to speak at Gender Pay Gap events, It is very clear to me that in this space there has been limited understanding of how the Ethnicity Pay Gap impacts the Gender Pay Gap. However, having said that, I have recently been invited to a Gender Pay Gap discussion that will incorporate the Ethnicity Pay Gap. I am very much looking forward to this discussion and I hope this will be the first of many. Watch this space…

Only through discussion and action can we truly make a significant difference. Those advocating for the Gender Pay Gap should use their platform to support the Ethnicity Pay Gap debate. Both are intertwined and need to be addressed. I recently wrote about addressing the disparity of pay, I believe Black, Asian and other minoritised women could benefit from a more robust approach to Gender Pay analysis. I think we need to consider a new pathway that factors in the disparities faced by minoritised women.

Intersectionality is an important factor to consider when looking at the Gender Pay Gap. Employers should be careful not to ignore the obvious differences that can occur when talking about Gender Pay. Considerations will need to be made to help take effective action.

A key consideration should be how you recruit and retain the women in your organisation. Hiring and developing talented women across the organisation is the approach that will go some way to help the organisation rectify any disparities. Those women should be representative of the people you are providing a service to or supporting. Avoid at all costs, what I will call the ‘White Apex Flower Syndrome’ meaning, hiring white women in a senior position to fulfil your diversity quota or assuming that hiring in this way will go some way to closing your Gender Pay Gap. This is a practice that I see quite often.

Dealing with the Ethnicity Pay Gap is just as important as dealing with the Gender Pay Gap. It’s time for conversations to happen that can really make pay disparity a thing of the past for All women.

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