‘Gender’ Pay Gap press release

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Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) has written to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt MP, asking her to revise guidance for employers which states that they should report on their gender pay gap based on their employees’ ‘self-identified gender’.

Guidance published by the Government Equalities Office (GEO) and Acas in February 2019 states that, when reporting on their gender pay gap, “It is important for employers to be sensitive to how an employee chooses to self identify in terms of their gender.”

Kiri Tunks, Co-Founder of Woman’s Place UK, said:

“We welcome the fact that data on the gender pay gap is now being collected on an annual basis by the Government Equalities Office. However, only two years after the 2017 Regulations came into force, we cannot be sure about the quality of that data, given that employers are now being advised to submit pay data based on their employees’ ‘self-identified gender’.

“Women are discriminated against on grounds of their sex, not because they identify as women. We know that much of the gender pay gap is attributable to a ‘motherhood penalty’ because women are still more likely than men to take time off to care for their children and to return to the workplace on reduced hours. The Equality and Human Rights Commission estimates[1] that around 54,000 mothers are subject to pregnancy discrimination each year. Research[2] by the TUC (2016) found that over half of women had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

“If we are to close the pay gap that exists between men and women, we must have robust, reliable data based on a clear definition of ‘sex’, which is why we are asking the Secretary of State to revise the guidance issued by the GEO and Acas.”

The deadline for the second year of reporting on the gender pay gap is 4 April 2019.

 Notes to editors:

  1. Woman’s Place UK (WPUK) is a grassroots feminist organisation established in September 2017 by a group of women in the labour and trade union movement. Since then, WPUK has organised 21 meetings around the UK to enable discussion about proposals by the UK and Scottish Governments to reform the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and how to uphold existing sex-based rights and protections.


  1. WPUK has five key demands (https://womansplaceuk.org/about/), including: “Rigorous collection and analysis of sex-based data and high-quality research must be central to the development of any services, policies or actions which address women’s needs or which challenge sex discrimination and inequality.”


  1. WPUK recently submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament on the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill, highlighting the importance of collecting robust and reliable data on sex in the 2021 Census: https://womansplaceuk.org/wpuk-submission-to-scottish-census-consultation/


  1. The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 require that any organisation with 250 or more employees must publish and report specific figures about their gender pay gap. The deadline for the first year of reporting was 4 April 2018: https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk/


  1. The deadline for the second year of reporting was 30 March 2019 for public sector organisations and 4 April 2019 for businesses and charities.


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[1] https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/managing-pregnancy-and-maternity-workplace/pregnancy-and-maternity-discrimination-research-findings

[2] https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/nearly-two-three-young-women-have-experienced-sexual-harassment-work-tuc-survey-reveals