Senior women in business launch campaign to end pay discrimination

#MeTooPay aims to close gender pay gap by highlighting bad practice in wake of high-profile tribunal

More than 100 senior-level women have launched a campaign for equal pay in the UK, claiming they are ‘frustrated’ by the lack of progress in tackling the issue. 

The #MeTooPay campaign, launched by former Royal Mail CEO Dame Moya Greene (pictured), aims to help close the gender pay gap by highlighting examples of pay discrimination and poor policies.

Greene was prompted to launch the campaign – which is influenced by the #MeToo movement that tackles issues of sexual harassment and assault at work – following a recent high-profile sex discrimination tribunal involving French bank BNP Paribas.

It is supported by a group of women who have held senior leadership positions in some of the UK’s biggest organisations, including Emma Walmsley, CEO of GSK, and economist Dame Nemat Shafik, one of the frontrunners to become the next governor of the Bank of England.

In a statement on the group’s website, the leaders said they were proud to be representative of a female voice “at the top of the table”, but added: “We’re frustrated to still read stories about women not getting the pay they deserve. 

“Women should not be paid less than men to do exactly the same job. It’s just wrong. So we’re starting a campaign to do something about it.”

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Charles Cotton, the CIPD’s senior adviser for performance and reward, said employers needed to look more holistically at how their recruitment, training and working practices also affected the gender pay gap.

“The issues are not just around pay but how people are recruited and selected, how they are promoted and whether they are given opportunities for flexible working,” he said. “It's important that organisations look at the whole picture of how they manage, develop and reward people – these factors are important, as they will have an impact on pay,” he said.

Cotton added that unconscious bias also played a big part in pay discrimination. “It's important that you are paying men and women the same for doing similar jobs,” he said.

Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards at the Institute of Leadership & Management, said that closing the gender pay gap quickly was in everyone’s interest and would encourage better practices among employers. “Enlightened recruitment and promotion practices, flexible working and family-friendly policies all help retain skilled women in the workforce and keep them on pathways of progression,” said Cooper. 

“But this makes business sense for all, not just women with caring responsibilities. Who doesn’t want to work in an organisation that is accepting of difference, supports work-life balance and genuinely puts people first?”

The launch of the campaign follows Stacey Macken’s tribunal win for unequal pay and sex discrimination against her former employer, BNP Paribas. Macken had discovered a male colleague in the same role was paid £40,000 more than her and took home £237,000 in bonuses, seven times more than her £33,000 bonus pay.

Separately, the proportion of women on FTSE 350 boards has for the first time passed 30 per cent, a campaign group has said.

When the 30% Club – which set the target for representation of women on boards –  was founded by Dame Helena Morrissey in 2010, only 9.5 per cent of FTSE 350 board members were female.