Workplace inequality?

October 05, 2010, 6:06 PM GMT+0

Forty years after the 1970 Equal Pay Act, our survey has found that 53% of Brits still don’t think women have equal job opportunities in the workplace.

As recent cinematic release, Made in Dagenham shows, 2010 marks over four decades since a group of female factory workers walked out in protest over the injustice that they, as women, were paid less than men for equivalent work. Their actions indirectly led to the 1970 Equal Pay Act. However, with European statistics showing the UK lagging behind other European countries regarding the gap between male-female pay, it’s clear that the battle for equal pay is far from won.

In our bid to find out what people think, we asked a nationally representative group of 1,796 British adults about their attitudes towards gender equality in society and in the workplace in Britain today.

  • In response to the question ‘Do you think women in Britain have equal job opportunities with men, or not?’ the majority of British people DO NOT think that women have equal job opportunities with men.
  • Only 38% think that women have equal opportunities
  • Compared with 53% who think they do not.

However, when split by gender, the results differ significantly:

  • The majority of men think that women DO have equal job opportunities (51% think they do whereas 43% think they do not)
  • Whereas the majority of women think that women DO NOT have equal opportunities (25% think they do compared to 63% who think they don’t).

In response to the question ‘Generally speaking are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way women are treated in society?’

  • The majority of people are generally satisfied
  • But 17% of men are very satisfied with women’s treatment compared with only 5% of women.
  • One quarter of women (25%) says that they are dissatisfied with the treatment of their sex in society

Support for Gender Pay Audit

The results come as a new Equality Act tackles many aspects of discrimination in the workplace. The possible introduction of the Gender Pay Audit, which is still under review, would force companies who are thought to be discriminatory to publish what they pay both their male and female employees, thereby making it easier for wage earners to compare salaries and discover if they are entitled to higher pay.