International Women's Day: how to bridge the gap?

Yesterday (08/03/20) was International Women’s Day, and although some progress is being made, a global workplace provider feels that publishing gender pay gaps is not enough and has provided steps to help bridge the gap.

Instant Offices, six steps are:

  • Incentivise paternity leave – “Businesses can be made more female-friendly by incentivising paternity leave for dads. If fathers have additional paternity leave, mothers can return to work sooner, work more hours and earn more money, while allowing fathers more bonding time with their newborns.”
  • Subsidise childcare – “The cost of childcare can be stressful for many families, with an average cost of part-time childcare being up to £6,000 a year. However, according to research, companies providing childcare services saw reductions in employee turnover, increased productivity, and improved quality in job applicants.”
  • Introduce remote working – “In today’s digital world, remote working is becoming more acceptable and accessible to millennial workers, although parents can also enjoy the benefits of working from home. According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), flexible working has real benefits for businesses, with employees proving to be more dedicated and productive.  A survey by Ernst and Young, 64 per cent of working women who enjoyed flexible working hours claimed to have a clear career path compared to 10 per cent of women who worked fixed hours.”
  • Be transparent about pay – “Being open and transparent about how much you pay your staff, whether listed in the initial job description or the interview, is a good starting point. Businesses should research market rates for a role and offer a fair salary for the job they are hiring for. It is also a good idea to explain how your business determines salaries and pay increases up front so that the candidate can make an informed decision about joining your company or not.”
  • Ensure that promotions and rewards are fair – “Disparity in pay can easily occur when employees are offered promotions, pay raises or bonuses. Putting in place clear and concise criteria for promotions, pay raises and bonuses will help keep things fair.”
  • Give female employees a raise – “Giving female employees a raise can eliminate the gender pay gap in the most pain-free way. Equally, it provides the best strategy for businesses to continue operations with minimal disruptions and additional pressure.”


The TUC found that women work for free for 63 days a year, with the 4th March being the first day of the year a woman begins to get paid compared to the average man. According to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average gender pay gap is 17.3 per cent.

City & Guilds, who work with education providers and employers to help skills development found that women are more than twice as likely to work part-time than their male peers (26 per cent vs 12 per cent), and are more likely to hold no management responsibilities (49 per cent vs 39 per cent).

Kirstie Donnelly, CEO at City & Guilds Group, said:

While we have certainly made strides in levelling the playing field for gender equality, there is still a long way to go to ensure true equality in the workplace as women are still locked out of many top jobs. UK unemployment is at a record low, but skills gaps are growing, and the needs of the workplace are evolving at an incredible pace, making it more important than ever for businesses to seize the potential of everyone within their workforce – regardless of their gender or contract terms. So many women are being denied valuable opportunities to upskill or progress, worryingly driven by factors such as part-time contracts and care requirements. We urgently need to see more employers adopt flexible working practices and take a fairer approach to training and development to increase the opportunities for women to rightly move up the career ladder and help fill skills gaps and drive up productivity in doing so.

Interested in diversity and inclusion. We recommend the Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2020.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.