Sexism Scandal: Government Sabotaging Gender Pay Gap Reporting

The government found itself embroiled in a fresh sexism scandal last night as it emerged it has chosen to restrict gender pay gap reporting in financial services for at least another five years. The move undermines Treasury Select Commmittee recommendations to improve gender pay gap reporting. Greater transparency around pay is understood to shame companies into appointing more women to senior roles.
Victoria Atkins
             City Minister John Glen and Women’s Minister Victoria Atkins wrote to the Treasury Select Committee in August to say that companies with subsidiaries of less than 250 staff willl not be forced to report their gender pay gaps.

Letter from Treasury and Equalities Ministers

Treasury Secretary Reply

Nicky Morgan
The Treasury Select Committee Chair, Nicky Morgan, the only Tory female on the Committee, replied:
The gender pay gap in financial services is partly due to the woefully low number of women in leadership positions. The Committee’s Report said that to overcome this, firms should change their culture, specifically around bonuses, to support the progression of women.Company subsidiaries with fewer than 250 employees, and partners who are remunerated differently to employees, are exempt from gender pay gay reporting. These exemptions could impact the trends emerging from the reporting data and the conclusions drawn. Whilst it is pleasing to see some employers already taking the initiative, it’s disappointing that the Government will not consider amending the gender pay gap reporting regulations for five years.

Business Committee Reply

Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves, the Chair of the Business Committee, told London Conversation:
Transparency through gender pay gap reporting is a vital first step in moving towards equality and promoting diversity in the workplace, so it’s hugely disappointing that the Government has rejected calls to widen the requirements as we recommended in our recent report. Addressing the gender pay gap is in the interests of ensuring a more equal society, so we will continue to put pressure on companies to comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the law to ensure that the reported data is meaningful and properly highlights the low number of women in high paid jobs.
Sam Smethers
The Fawcett Society CEO, Sam Smethers, told London Conversation:
By refusing to revise gender pay gap reporting regulations for another 5 years the government is missing the opportunity to speed up the pace of change to close the pay gap. That is a mistake and women and the economy will pay the price.There is so much more we could do if we have the political will to do it.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) released a report yesterday which said that only 15% of companies are even bothering to comply fully with its guidance on board diversity.
Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities has been making speeches about the gender pay gap and gender equality but so far has not commented on why the Government is allowing companies to voluntarily comply with reporting requirements when the FRC data shows that almost all companies flout the rules. Ms Mordaunt will be appearing at the Financial Times Women at the Top event in Central London this Thursday. Philip Hammond, John Glen’s boss, is currently in Washington DC for IMF meetings and is yet to comment on his role in the gender pay gap decision.The Government Equality Office was asked early this morning how it justified ignoring the Treasury Select Committee’s recommendations that had been made to get more women in senior roles.The Government Equality Office’s Press Officer eventually refused to reply, saying it was happy not to add to what Minister Atkins had already said.Something tells me the Government Equalities Office is hoping this issue will go away.It won’t. 

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