WomenEd Blogs

Women, like men only cheaper 2022

Women, like men only cheaper

by Vivienne Porritt    @ViviennePorritt

What is Equal Pay Day?

This is my 4th annual blog on Equal Pay Day for the UK which this year, is on 20th November. Equal Pay Day in the UK denotes the day when women, on average, effectively stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap.This means that women are working for nothing for the rest of the year compared to men.

I get more and more angry every year because this pernicious inequality is not improving fast enough.

Have a look at my previous blogs! In 2019 it was on November 14th, in 2020 it was November 20th and in 2021 Equal Pay Day was November 28th. After 3 years of improvement, we have gone backwards again meaning women stop earning 8 days earlier than last year.

Globally, it's a very mixed picture.

But look at the impact of intersectionality in the US:

  • Mothers' Equal Pay Day is September 8. Moms are paid 58 cents for every dollar paid to Dads.
  • Black Women's Equal Pay Day is September 21. Black women are paid 58 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
  • Native Women's Equal Pay Day is November 30. Native women are paid 50 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
  • Latina's Equal Pay Day is December 8. Latinas are paid 49 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

I would very much like to know the same breakdowns in the UK. There are more examples of Equal Pay Days here.

Why is it significant?

Equal Day measures are based on the Gender Pay Gap which is calculated by the difference between the average pay of men and women within a particular group or population. In the UK, The Fawcett Society uses the mean, full-time, hourly gender pay gap for the UK to calculate the gender pay gap, which this year is 11.3%, a tiny decrease from 11.9% last year. However, this is the average and there are significant differences by sector.

Fig 1 below shows the Average Pay Gap by Sector in the UK

Take a look at that graph again.

Education is top of the leader board for the worst Gender Pay Gap of all the sectors. Yet other highly feminised sectors such as Health, do not suffer from such significant pay gaps.

How can a sector which should drive social justice and equity fail to remunerate women appropriately?

For the first time ever, last year WomenEd dived into the gender pay gap in schools. We collaborated with NAHT, ASCL and NGA to produce the ground breaking Closing the Gender Pay Gap in Education: A Leadership Imperative based on School workforce in England: November 2020 (2021).

It's not a pretty sight so check your blood pressure as you read!!

Last year it was clear that the pay gap really emerges at two points: leadership levels and at age 39, with the difference between average salaries between men and women almost doubling from £2,760 at 35-39 to £4,024 at age 40-44.

It was at the senior roles that the gap became marked:

For headteachers, the difference in average salaries by age 60 and over reaches an average of a staggering £17,334.

Yes, you read that right!

What price equity for our schools' workforce?

And such figures led to the Department for Education citing our report 7 times in their advice to the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Board resulting in this formal recognition:

"Our analysis confirms that, during the period from 2010 to 2020, there was a pay gap between male and female teachers, once leadership grades were included in the analysis." (Government Evidence to the STRB March 2022)

Now we need persistent action and our report shares many suggestions to reduce the gender pay gap, which is one of WomenEd's 4 campaigns.

This year's School Workforce Census 2022 is now available and the wonderful research team at NAHT have analysed the data again to reveal disappointingly little progress in tackling the gender pay gap in schools:

While the gap for primary headteachers has narrowed slightly (dropping from £2,834 in 2020/21 to £2,221), the gap for secondary school leaders has leapt by over 37% in the last year – rising to a huge £3,698.

This trend is also reflected for 'other leadership roles' (e.g., deputy and assistant heads), where the gap is up to £1,502 across all state-funded secondary schools.

In 2021/22, the difference in average salaries for head teachers aged 60 and over remains large, with men earning on average £18,296 more than women of the same age. This is a 5% increase in the difference from £17,334 last year.

The divergence point remains at age 35-39 for headteachers, with the difference between average salaries between men and women more than doubling from £3,721 at 35-39 to £7,685 at age 40-44.

What Can YOU do about it?

Have another look at the overall suggestions for actions for government, schools and trusts, governance boards and individuals in our report.

Decide the specific focus you want to tackle. It could be one of the following;

  • Re-negotiation of your current salary
  • Applying for a new job
  • Working out your organisation's pay policy
  • Asking questions about your organisation's gender pay gap
  • Finding out if your organisation has a plan to tackle the gap?

Then use the resources #WomenEd has curated to help you reduce the Gender Pay Gap.

Top Tips

Negotiation is key to tackling your salary so have a look at this video, article, and blog from #WomenEd and Negotiate Like a Woman from Career Equally.

Applying for a job

When you complete the application form, never fill in the question about current salary. It bakes a woman's already lower pay into the new salary.

When you are offered the job and you want it, always say 'thank you, subject to salary', then you can negotiate.

If you are an employer

Join our ever-increasing roll call of honour and remove the inequitable question about current salary then tell us about it. It has nothing to do with the job criteria so why is it there?

The Organisational Pay Gap needs tackling so check what it is and then plan your approach.

Have a look at this terrific Achieving Equal Pay workplace tool kit and apply it!

Have a look at these suggestions for improving recruitment and progression of women and reducing the gender pay gap.


Rather than going backwards, let's make this blog the spark to help education move forward in a fair and equitable treatment for women leaders in education.

Let's take action so that next year's Equal Pay Day is nearer December!

Our young people can't afford to lose more teachers and leaders.

Show your reaction below and then let #WomenEd and me know on Twitter or other social media what you plan to do about this and what happens as a result!

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Monday, 27 March 2023

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