Change the law to end women's pay disparity

27 November 2009

Brighton and Hove's Green councillors and Caroline Lucas MEP gave Brighton rail travellers food for thought yesterday morning: biscuits with a 17% 'bite' taken out to represent how much less women are paid than men.

Almost 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, women working full time across the UK now earn an average 17 per cent less per hour than men working full time.

Over the course of the year, this equates to women receiving their last pay cheque on 30 October - while men are paid all year round. *

The Equal Pay Day Campaign, jointly run by the Fawcett Society and Unison, seeks to amend the Equality Bill currently before Parliament to ensure more is done to close this 'gender pay gap.'

The Green Party in Brighton and Hove is backing the campaign with Councillor Vicky Wakefield-Jarrett (left) leading for the city's Green councillors.

Vicky and other Green activists attended a photo call at Brighton mainline station on Friday morning.

Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas, parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion constituency, also joined the event and helped to give out biscuits with a 17 per cent 'bite' taken out of them to mark the day.

Caroline said: "Despite the many laws and regulations in place to ensure equality in the workplace, too many women are still getting a raw deal.

"We urgently need to do more to end the scandal that is the 17 per cent gender pay gap - and the first step is making sure the Equality Bill goes further.

"Greens believe the Bill must be amended to include measures such as mandatory pay audits comparing earnings between men and women and legal changes to make it much easier for women to take equal pay cases to court."

Cllr Vicky Wakefield Jarrett, the Green's spokesperson on Equalities, said: "Making sure women are fairly rewarded for the work they do is about more than fair pay, it's about building a society where gender doesn't ever act as a barrier or a hindrance.

"Greens believe everyone should be treated with respect and value, regardless of their gender.

"Equal pay for work of equal value must be more than a theoretical legal right, it must be a reality.

"While many employers - including Brighton & Hove City Council - have taken steps to ensure women are rewarded fairly, too many others have failed to take action.

"The Equality bill poses a great opportunity to ensure every employer takes action to end the gender pay gap."

* For more information on the Equal Pay Day campaign, please see:

For more information generally please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party Office on 01273 766 670.

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