Equal Pay: It’s Going To Happen

Government finally backing better pay for women

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Ever since we launched our Make Them Pay campaign in November 2013, highlighting the outrageous 15% discrepancy between what men and women earn, we have been looking forward to the day that we could say: things are going to change.

Amazingly, that day is today.

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The Equal Pay Act is to be amended with the much-debated Section 78: a clause introducing mandatory pay audits.

This means that companies who employ 250 or more staff will be required to publish details of both their male and female employees’ pay – giving women a clear view on whether they’re being short changed, so they can do something about it.

The change is expected to rushed through Parliament ahead of the General Election in May and come into effect next April.

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The decision is an incredible 180 from David Cameron, who initially shelved plans to enact section 78 after it was approved by the former Labour government.

But – rightly – it’s an issue that just wouldn’t lie. In Decemeber, Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham, tabled a ‘Ten Minute Rule Bill’ to put the amendment back in front of Parliament. MPs voted 258 to eight (note: all the naysayers were male) to make it happen.

And, unlike many bills that start life this way, this one is going all the way.

It’s a fantastic victory for everyone who added their voice to the debate, either by contacting their local MP or tweeting using our #MakeThemPay and #ELLEfeminism hashtags.

As equalities minister Jo Swinson told us when we launched the campaign: 'I think sometimes there’s something very British in our culture where we don’t talk about money, and I think that is one of things that holds women back.

‘If women realised they were earning significantly less than male colleagues at a similar level that might be the catalyst they need to ask for a pay rise.'

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