WomenEd Blogs

Women, like men only cheaper 2021


by Vivienne Porritt @ViviennePorritt


I write an annual blog about the #GenderPayGap in education, using the date of Equal Pay Day in the UK. From this day, most women are working for nothing for the rest of the calendar year because they earn less than men. In 2019, Equal Pay Day was 14th November and in 2020 it was on 20th November. This year it is November 18th which confirms we have moved backwards during the pandemic. Change is clearly not secure, and the pace of change is too slow.

 In 2020, the United Nations marked the first International Equal Pay Day on 18th September and reiterated some key questions: 

'We need to ask why women are relegated to lower-paid work; why professions that are female-dominated have lower salaries – including jobs in the care sector; why so many women work part-time; why women see their wages decrease with motherhood while men with children often enjoy a salary boost; and why women hit a ceiling in higher-earning professions.’   

UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

These are my questions every year and I explored this gap in an article for Forbes:

‘Many would agree that education is a profession centered on moral purpose, social justice, and equality for all. Yet for women working in this feminized sector, it seems equity is many years away, which is more than troubling. Mainly because if things continue at their current pace, it'll take until 2059 to achieve equal pay.’

Vivienne Porritt, Forbes

What is WomenEd doing?


We have collaborated with NAHTASCL and NGA to produce a report into the #GenderPayGap in education, drawing on NAHT’s exclusive analysis of the data in the most recent Schools Workforce Census. It is not a pretty sight and shows that the education #GenderPayGap is increasing. Our report is due for publication at the end of November so look out for it.

Our campaign to reduce the gap is gathering pace. On our campaign page you can see articles, podcasts, reports for a range of countries and advice for what you can do and how to get involved. We offer advice about Negotiation Skills in a video and an article and share brilliant case studies to inspire you to act: Nicola Forder ‘found the courage’ to negotiate her salary as a new headteacher so you can also.

I am also excited that our call to address the pointless previous/current salary on an application form is gaining traction. Remember, you can leave it blank if it is there – it has nothing to do with the person specification! School and Trust leaders are also acting.

Congratulations to @SENDAT and @RuralSBM, Saffron Academy Trust and @Morsecat, @ClarionAcTrust and @jim1902adams, @LizAMFree and @ISRheintal, @keziah70, @PamelaEducation, who have all removed this question!

When @JonnyUttley, CEO of @Teal_Trust, wanted to remove this question he came up against a problem:



I am delighted to say that the Department for Education’s Teaching Vacancies free service has removed the current salary question from its application form following a discussion I had with them, representing WomenEd. With over 27,000 jobs advertised on Teaching Vacancies, this is a significant change and a real commitment to support women leaders. 

We encourage all large recruitment companies (happy to talk with them!) and organisations to remove this question and play their part in reducing the gender pay gap in education.

We also learned that some Local Authorities and large national trusts still have this question on their forms and remember to check if support staff have a different form! We can all campaign to change this and please let me know when you do!


What can you do? 

Read my chapter in 10%Braver.

  • Ask for the salary you deserve in a new role or through performance related pay. It’s important that you know this is possible and, indeed, organisations expect it.
  • A Harvard Business Review article titled ‘ Nice Girls Don’t Ask’offers useful advice about why we find this hard and how to improve.
  • More advice is available from the website Take the Lead and I wrote an article for TES explaining how to neogotiate for a higher salary.
  • Look up your organisation’s #GenderPayGap
  • Ask how your employer will reduce the gender pay gap (if it exists)
  • Get involved in creating a plan to reduce the gender pay gap using the resources on our website
  • Practise your negotiating skills

Women teachers and school leaders must be valued appropriately and remunerated equitably for the work that they do. If fear or lack of confidence stops us, practice can improve this.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Let’s all tackle the inequity we see in education’s #GenderPayGap.

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Monday, 27 March 2023

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