Yesterday, the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre was delighted to host a research seminar examining the efficacy of forthcoming gender pay gap regulations. Given by Prof Carol Woodhams and Dr Emma Jeanes – both from the University of Exeter, the seminar was followed by a screening of ‘Made in Dagenham’. Based on a true story, the funny and uplifting film is about the plight of women (and men) employed at the Ford Motor plant in Dagenham, in activating for equal pay.
The Sylvia was delighted to have an audience of around 50 people including several students, representatives from Manchester City Council who are exploring women’s work opportunities, academics from other institutions and folks from across Manchester Metropolitan.
The gender pay gap is, of course, different to Equal Pay. Whilst the latter is a legal right, we learnt that businesses still have no obligation to address gender pay gaps, even though a key cause is the under-valuing of work which is typically undertaken by women and systematic processes that cause leakiness to the female talent pipeline. Our speakers called for greater regulation and enforcement of processes to close the gender pay gap.
Helen Woolnough from ‘The Sylvia’ and myself, have just started a new project called GROWL (Generating Routes for Women’s Leadership), which is exploring how the translation of research evidence can create organisational change; and the project is offering invitations to organisations to enter into an enquiry regarding their female leadership pipelines. Sylvia members are also researching the underlying causes of occupational segregation; and this includes Jamie Atkinson’s work with myself looking at how small firms respond to womens’ requests for flexible working patterns following maternity leave. Oh, and Louise Armstrong in the Department of Management is researching all of these processes in the legal profession – particularly focusing on lawyers working in the public sector.
Professor Julia Rouse – BA (hons), PhD.