Equal pay: one small (but very important!) step closer….
Yesterday backbench MP Sarah Champion tabled a vote in parliament to call for the enactment of a little known but vital piece of legislation – section 78 of the 2010 Equality Act. If enacted, this legislation would require big businesses like ASDA and Amazon to monitor and make public their gender pay gaps and would be an important step forward in closing the gender pay gap.
Earlier in the week we asked Fawcett supporters to tweet their MPs to attend this vital vote and, thanks to you, 266 MPs attended and voted – although not quite the full house we’d like to see this was nonetheless a really good turn-out for a bill of this nature.
And the winner is….
News of the vote came in around 3pm and was a resounding success – 258 voted in favour and 8 against - so a clear majority of 250. As a longstanding Fawcett policy ask, this represents a huge success for us!
We did a host of media to discuss the vote and what it would mean in practice, including a live interview on ITV London News at 6, which has a reach of 3.7 million! You can read more about the vote on Grazia here and Channel 4 News here and also read the full transcript, and list of who voted here.
Perhaps mostly exciting of all, a few Fawcett staffers got chatting to some of the original women from the Ford Dagenham strikes who were attending a Grazia event to celebrate the vote. They told us that they were passing to baton to us, to “finish what they had started”!
Finish what we’ve started….
We all know that progress on closing the gender pay gap feels painfully slow, but did you know that at the rate of change we’ve seen over the past five years it will take another 52 years to close the gap.
That, plus the 45 years that have already passed since the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, means we’re looking at almost a century to achieve equal pay between women and men – it’s just not good enough!
The result yesterday was a brilliant start to making the Equal Pay bill a reality, but our work is not over yet. The bill will be receiving its second reading in the Commons on February 27th 2015 and we’ll be calling on you again to help us make it another resounding success – so keep your eyes peeled for another call to arms!
And finally…seen but not heard…
As we all know, 2015 is election year and there's going to be a lot of noise. But will women's voices be heard? Not if it's anything like last time. In 2010 we heard more about what the unelected wives of politicians were wearing than what women were thinking and saying. We're not going to put up with another election like that!
If you won't either, come along to the Counting Women In Coalition's ‘Welcome to Election Year’ event on the 19th January in London and find out what we can do about it. Because if we don't act now, the next election will be all about the men. Again.