A global call to action

The United Nations International Equal Pay Day is commemorated annually to bring awareness to the wage differences between men and women for the exact same jobs.

Equal pay vs The gender pay gap

Equal pay is about pay differences between men and women, who are paid differently for ‘like work’, ‘work of equal value’ or ‘work rated as equivalent. The gender pay gap is, at its simplest, the difference between the average wages of men and women, regardless of their seniority.

Equality in the workplace promotes equal pay and prohibits discrimination in the payment of wages and benefits.

Women still predominantly occupy jobs that pay less and provide fewer benefits. A study by the World Economic Forum in November 2017 reported that it will take 100 years to close the gender pay gap. Our daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters will still be fighting this equality battle unless the status quo changes.

Although disparities in education have begun to close the gap in many countries, that is not enough to significantly impact gender-based inequality in the world of work.

Gaps need to be closed, with women over-represented in lower-paid jobs and under-represented in leadership positions, and the science and technology sectors.

Taking action

Making improvements towards an inclusive and equitable working environment that can address both equal pay and the gender pay gap will require effort and change. Organisations will need to formulate strategies that commit to specific outcomes in order to achieve significant change for the future

Sustainable change needs to be considered, constant and open to conversation and should:
• Foster female participation
• Encourage enrolment in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, training, leadership initiatives as well as entrepreneurship programmes
• Include regular review and organisational reporting.

These are crucial to growing, supporting and developing an inclusive workforce. Building diversity and inclusion through talent acquisition, development, retention and succession planning. Addressing change within organisational culture, employee well-being, flexible working and a work-life balance will contribute to closing the gap allowing for improved equity.

In adopting strategies organisations are more competitive and better employers. Creating a more inclusive and compelling employee value proposition. This goes beyond gender and can potentially affect the approach to all aspects of diversity in South African organisations.

Equality cannot be an afterthought — acting on the principle that all people are created equal — must be part of an organisations DNA and the tone must be set from the top.

Homeground Consulting hopes that bringing awareness to UN International Equal Pay Day will encourage conversation and reflection allowing leadership within organisations to take action, creating and defining directions for a more equitable future.