WomenEd Blogs

Women, like men only cheaper 2020


by Vivienne Porritt @ViviennePorritt


This is my 2nd blog on the UK Equal Pay Day which, in 2020, falls on today, November 20th. From this day, most women are working for nothing because they earn less than men. The #GenderPayGap statistics for 2019 showed the mean gap for full time workers to be 13.1%. The gap is wider for part-time employees. Women earned less than men in 90% of all employment sectors. Let’s look at this more closely.

Equal Pay Day means that from that day until the end of the year, most women are working for nothing compared to most men. A little bit of good news is that Equal Pay Day for 2019 was 14th November so women are a little better off in 2020. That is one small step for women. Now we need to take a giant leap forward for humankind.

The global situation is so poor that the United Nations has initiated the first-ever International Equal Pay Day on September 18th 

To me, it boils down to this excellent question asked by Barack Obama in January 2016: What kind of example does paying women less set for our sons and daughters?

You can read the research and background in my previous blogs: 2019 and 2017 and a tes article from International Women’s Day 2019. I also wrote on the #GenderPayGap in 10%braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education. There is a great deal of nuance around the #GenderPayGap particularly in terms of age, occupational sector and parenthood. However, to me, it can never be right that in education, of all sectors, the gap is extremely significant. Reducing the #GenderPayGap in education is one of #WomenEd’s campaigns yet, in 2020 in the UK, it has grown. We can see here that, using 2019 data, men who teach and lead earn more than women who teach and lead in all three inclusive categories. 

Salaries 2019 2020

This feels inequitable given that women make up 75% approx of the teaching workforce. I am working with Natalie Arnett from NAHT to explore the nuances in this data and we will do a collaborative report in the Spring. I will continue to do annual blogs on Equal Pay Day: can we move it to December in 20201?

I call on both women and men in education to challenge and change this unhappy picture.

Practical solutions

  • Women need to apply for leadership roles. A McKinsey report highlighted that the most powerful force holding women back is entrenched beliefs. Women need to take the risk and apply for more leadership roles than they currently do and so learn from the feedback. One belief most women hold is that practice makes perfect so take advantage of that and get applying! School leaders and governors/ trustees need to review their recruitment processes. One simple change is to remove the box asking about previous salary from the application form. It’s not relevant to the person specification and holds women’s salaries down. One trust has already decided to do this which is brilliant.


Which other schools and trusts will be 10%braver and do this? Please let me know!

  • We also need to ask for the salary we deserve in a new role or through performance related pay. It’s important that all women in education know this is possible and I shared strategies for this which are working for many women that I coach.
  • The brilliant Fawcett Society are campaigning on the Right to Know what your male colleagues earn and to stop pay discrimination: join in and write to your MP. Their 2020 report covers the issues raised by Covid-19 also.
  • Remember that you can look up the gender pay gap of your organisation by typing their name here. The data provokes questions and please ask them of your senior leaders and governors/trustees.

The above McKinsey report says only systemic change makes the real difference. It needs the transformation of culture, processes and practices to bring about change and such transformation is often driven by imperatives. A powerful reason to change is to retain the best talent and that’s a current and pressing need in education. Tomorrow’s leaders are in your school now and we can’t let this inequitable position continue.

So for their sakes and for yours, remember that you are worth it!     #KnowYourWorth



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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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