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Sexism and the City

Jerry Thomas
The Politics Show London

Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf: Women's pay an issue

In April 2008 the Fawcett Society launches a campaign for equal pay for women, in an effort to close the gender pay gap.

This still exists more than 10 years after Labour came to power pledging to address the issue.

The situation is particularly acute in London.

Pay gap illegal

Unequal pay for women has been illegal for 30 years, and yet in London men earn 24% more than women - the highest discrepancy in the country.

The gap becomes even more marked at the higher end of the scale with men earning 32% more than their female counterparts.

Only 11% of FTSE 100 directors are female and no company in the city has more than 30% female staff.

Harriet Harman became Deputy Leader of the Labour party and Minister for Women in 2007.

She backed two conference motions calling for tougher measures to close the endemic pay gap which exists 30 years after the Equal pay act was introduced.

Ms Harman proclaimed that the government should "finish what it started" on tackling pay inequality.

She argued that gender pay inequality was a "social justice issue, as well as a feminist issue".

Harriet Harmon MP
Harriet Harman has called for equal pay by 2020

Government defended

Ms Harman also defended her government's position as a major employer of women.

"Although it is a problem in the public sector, it is even worse in the private sector."

"The pay gap has narrowed by about 5% since labour got elected in 1997 which is largely down to the minimum wage.

"But we know that women are still not paid fairly and I simply refuse to believe that a part -time working woman is worth less than a full-time man. Damn right it's unfair!"

Over 100 000 women work in the City of London's financial services.

For many, the City's macho, money culture is still highly sexist and discriminatory against women.

The Fawcett society campaign will call for:

  • compulsory audits for all companies on gender pay. many do not realize they discriminate
  • better flexible working
  • introduction of the EU working time directive

The Politics Show London

The Politics Show for London, with Jon Sopel and Tim Donovan on Sunday 02 March 2008 at 12:00 GMT on BBC One.

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