Fawcett Society warns of slipping backwards on gender pay gap progress

Switch On Your 'Out Of Office' Tomorrow To Show Women Are Working For Free For The Rest Of The Year

Global strategic advisor, Rita Trehan, explains:"Equal Pay Day means that effectively, women are working for free for the rest of the year - that's how big the pay gap remains between and women".

Hundreds of thousands of women, including some MPs and BBC presenters, are calling for an end to the pay gap, which is 18.4% on average in the UK. We make women poor and keep them poorer. Tomorrow is the day we mark it; the day the average United Kingdom woman effectively stops being paid for the rest of the year - and this year, the day that thousands of women will turn on their "Out of Office" email in protest.

We also know that harassment and discrimination is a feature of the gender pay gap, because it undermines the effectiveness of organisations and teams, prevents women from fulfilling their potential at work, or drives them out of their workplace.

"I'm doing it to support those on lower wages - I work for a lot of elderly people whose [female] carers are on such poor wages", she says.

The UK ranks 20th out of 144 countries around the world for closing the gender pay gap, but no country on earth has absolute equality. "It should matter to everyone #equalpayday". However, overall, women still earn less than men and there is a definite gender pay gap in this country.

The gender pay gap highlighted by Equal Pay Day is only the start of the financial divides between men and women.

The date has remained the same for the last three years, which the Fawcett Society says shows the lack of progress on tackling the gap, and that it will take another 100 years to gain equal pay at the current rate.

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The pay gap between men and women in Britain stands at 14.1 percent, unchanged over the past two years, but has grown significantly for women in their twenties, to 5.5 percent this year from 1.1 percent in 2011, according to the Fawcett Society.

Chief executive Sam Smethers said that was extremely worrying.

"Discrimination and sexual harassment can be hidden and more common than they think". The pay gap only measures the gap for women being paid for the work they do.

When women make up lower-paid, part-time and unpaid roles and men dominate better-paid and more senior jobs, there is a power imbalance.

At Westminster, we support changing the law to require gender pay gap reporting for all companies with more than 150 employees - down from 250 - and the introduction of sanctions - including fines - for employers that fail to comply with the law.

"It's over 40 years since we introduced equal pay legislation across Europe and Ireland in 1974 and it still hasn't addressed that gap", said Ms Bacik. We're asking women across the United Kingdom to set their Out of Offices on Friday 10th November as a sign to the world that they won't stand for this any longer'.

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