Tales from the Wendy House

According to research by the TUC (Trades Union Congress) women work unpaid for 52 days of the year due to the Gender Pay Gap (Article attached – People Management Magazine 21 Jan 2024)

Think about that for a moment. Women work until 21st February working for free until they start to earn the same as men. When I see these figures, I feel so disappointed. I can already hear groans from business owners saying that they can’t afford to level the gap in the current climate. But here’s the thing – this isn’t necessarily a problem, it’s a great opportunity – I will explain below.

Women earn 14.3 percent less than men on average and it will take until 2044 for the gap to be closed at current rates of 0.7 percent. In the Finance and Insurance sector, the gap is 27.9 percent.

When I get asked why I support mentoring women, women only groups and I work with women to build their confidence, this is one of the reasons why. Until women feel that they have the comfort of knowing that they can request better flexible working, better pay and conditions and improved parity, there is the need to keep championing this female confidence agenda.

When I first started out in my career in HR, it was in the public sector. I got paid the same as a man at my level. It was that simple. I could also request to work part time, had flexitime and could have a sabbatical if I wanted to travel, take care of relatives etc etc. That was 40 years ago. So how come we are in a situation where some women are paid nearly 30 percent less than their male counterparts? Because there is no consequence. I see very little in terms of action on the Gender Pay Gap Reporting. If this was a health and safety related issue, the HSE would have the ability to close the business down if there was non compliance, whereas as long as your GPD Report says you are doing some diversity training, or encouraging women to apply for jobs with less male language in the adverts, this is seen as progress. Guess what? It’s not.

So, here’s the deal. If a woman is working for 52 days unpaid (average) per year, then why not give her that time off if she needs it? On a flexible working arrangement. That would address the pay differential and would allow main carers (because women are the main carers still) to have less pressure of the work life compromise. A bit radical but if everyone is happy with the situation, then why would that matter? Because having women working in the same job for less pay is not acceptable and we’ve been working on this for 7 years now and the situation is not improving.

Sometimes, instead of looking at how to fix the problem in front of us, why not turn it on it’s head. It might just work a bit quicker!

And for the people who still don’t get it, if your woman leaves the company because of feeling undervalued, the cost of replacing them is possibly more than the pay differential anyway.

People Management Magazine

Trades Union Congress (The TUC)

People Management – Women Work for Free for Seven Weeks of the Year Because of Gender Pay Gap

More ’Tales from the Wendy House’...

Connect with Wendy

To connect with Wendy, call, email or join Wendy’s LinkedIn network –

We use cookies:
Our website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience possible. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy.