WATCH: Equality at work update 2020 (Part 2)

An analysis of the issues creating the gender pay gap and how unions can organise to close it.

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About this event

In this, the second of our new 2020 Employment Law Webinar Series, top lawyers and campaigners discussed the gender pay gap.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics recorded that women were paid 17.3% less than men in 2019.

Among the many factors believed to contribute to this discrepancy are societal inequalities around the provision of childcare duties (reinforced by unequal parental leave laws); the devaluing of work considered ‘womanly’, such as care work; and discrimination against women – especially in senior roles.

Like many inequalities, the Coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on these issues. There is already strong evidence that pregnant women and new mothers are being disproportionately made redundant as employers cut staff, with the unavailability of childcare being one of the top factors women blamed.

Further, the devaluing of social care work has been thrust to the forefront of the political landscape, as awareness of the poor pay and working conditions these workers – most of whom are female – face.

Other key workers, such as childcare providers, have also been in the news after research from the Social Mobility Commission found many were paid less than £5 per hour.

Self-employed women were also badly affected, with the government’s own Self Employment Income Support Scheme failing to account for the loss of earnings during maternity leave taken within the last two years when calculating how much support self employed people were eligible for.

It seems inevitable that the gender pay gap will only be widened by the pandemic. Now is the time to resolve the issue once and for all.

Introducing a new publication on the gender pay gap, which will be released by the Institute of Employment Rights later this year, Caroline Underhill of Thompsons Solicitors gave an overview of the problems women face.

Josie Urwin of Unison discussed how these factors are affecting women on the frontline.

This is the second of two equality events held as part of this series of webinars. The first addresses race inequality and was held two days prior on 13 October 2020.


– Caroline Underhill, Thompsons Solicitors – ‘The gender pay gap: an overview’

– Josie Irwin, UNISON – ‘Organising members around the gender pay gap’

– Rianna Gargiulo, The Equality Trust – ‘Gender pay gap reporting: is it enough to address unequal pay?’

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