October 30th: The day women stop being paid

By politics.co.uk staff

Today is the last day women get paid, if national averages showing a gap between men and women’s pay are accurate.

Activists are using the opportunity to deliver a giant cheque to Gordon Brown symbolising women’s last pay cheque of the year.

Even government figures are speaking out about the inequality, with Vera Baird, solicitor general, insisting the upcoming equality bill will wipe away traditional distinction between men and women’s pay.

“Friday 30th October is Fawcett Society’s Equal Pay Day – the point after which women effectively work for free due to the gender pay gap,” she said.

“This is totally unacceptable. Our current measures have pushed it back more than ten days, and we are determined that it will end up on New Year’s Eve.”

Ms Baird insisted the forthcoming legislation would tackle the matter once and for all.

“We will ban secrecy clauses in employment contracts, so that women can challenge unfair pay; the public sector will be required and the business sector asked to report on gender pay,” she said.

“But if business doesn’t respond, we have a power in the new bill to compel it.”

The Fawcett Society, a women’s rights group which actively supports the new measures, released a poll today conducted by Ipsos Mori on which showed high levels of public support for the plans.

Eighty-nine per cent of women and 81 per cent of men support mandatory pay audits, according to the poll.

Forty-eight per cent of men and 32 per cent of women believe that on the whole men and women receive equal pay for doing jobs of equal value.

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, commented: “Today women will effectively receive their last pay cheque of the year.

“As a result of the 17.1 per cent full-time gender pay gap, October 30th marks the point in the year when women across Britain can be said to be working for free.

“We cannot afford to let this continue. Government must face the fact that equal pay law isn’t working.”