January's news roundup

January has been a busy month for all of us at Close the Gap: we published the ultimate guide to the gender pay gap, launched our Equally Safe at Work employer accreditation programme, and opened recruitment for new trustees. If, like us, you’ve earned a break – grab a hot drink while we fill you in on all things women and work.

We are recruiting new trustees!

Are you committed to women’s labour market equality? Do you have the ability to think strategically and creatively? We are looking to add to our fantastic board of trustees.

Launch of innovative new employer accreditation, Equally Safe at Work

We are delighted to be launching Equally Safe at Work, an innovative and world-leading employer accreditation programme that will enable local government employers to advance gender equality and prevent violence against women. This coincides with a debate in Scottish Parliament happening later today at 5:00PM, after Gail Ross MSP lodged a motion welcoming the programme’s launch.

Equally Safe at Work is being piloted in Aberdeen City Council, Highland Council, Midlothian Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Perth and Kinross Council, Shetland Council, South Lanarkshire Council. It will support councils to take steps to address the causes of their gender pay gap, and support employees who have experienced violence against women both in and outside of the workplace. Councils will receive support to undertake training, collect and analyse data, develop initiatives and review and update policies, practices and resources. They will be working towards meeting criteria in six key areas that we know are important for advancing women’s labour market equality:

· Leadership

· Data

· Flexible working

· Occupational segregation

· Workplace culture

· Violence against women

This programme comes at a time when addressing violence against women has become an increasingly high profile issue for employers. Violence against women is perpetrated at epidemic levels, affecting all areas of women’s lives, and the workplace is no exception. Experiences of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual harassment, so called ‘honour-based’ violence, and sexual assault and rape significantly effect women’s experience at work. Women have reported experiences of gender-based violence having a negative impact on their mental health, making them less confident at work, and causing them to avoid certain work situations in order to avoid the perpetrator. All of these effects and responses are likely to diminish their performance at work, and their propensity to apply for and be appointed to promoted posts.

Employers have a key role to play. Evidence shows that women who’ve experienced gender-based violence often don’t feel confident to report their experiences, and where they do, they feel unsupported by their employer. By addressing the barriers that women face in reporting their experiences of gender-based violence and accessing support, employers will be able to create zero-tolerance workplace cultures and to provide better support to employees. By as well addressing the inequalities women face in the labour market and in the wider society, we can create real change for women working in Scotland’s local government.

We are looking forward to working with councils over the next year to see where we can affect long term and meaningful change for all women working in councils.

To find out more about the programme, visit the Equally Safe at Work website.

Everything you wanted to know about the gender pay gap

Writing or talking about the gender pay gap can be a tricky business. Whether it’s a piece in a national newspaper, or an informal (heated?) chat at your local coffee shop, discussions of the gender pay gap can cover a huge amount of ground, referencing cold, hard data, social norms and conventions, deeply-held opinions and everything in between. Is it really the gender pay gap you’re talking about, or is it unequal pay? How are these different, and do they interact? Why do different reports in the media use different figures for the pay gap? Is the pay gap even a thing anymore? (Spoiler alert: YES)

At Close the Gap we think it’s important that anyone interested in or working on any aspect of the gender pay gap is as informed as possible. That’s why we’ve just published a rundown of Scotland’s gender pay gap data, including a broad range of analyses and stats. Alongside this, we’ve published a FAQ which provides answers to all those zingers that come up whenever the gender pay gap is in the news or in your conversations.

Our Gender Pay Gap Statistics paper is for you if you like/need to get into the detail of the data, and gives an in-depth look at Scotland’s gender pay gap in 2018, including full-time and part-time pay gaps, pay gaps by occupational group, a comparison of the public and private sector, an intersectional analysis of the gender pay gap by ethnicity, age and disability, and more. While, our FAQ, Everything you wanted to know about the gender pay gap but were afraid to ask, takes a whistlestop tour of our most-asked questions (at events, on Twitter, round the dinner table) on the pay gap, and will provide you with everything you need to issue a sound rebuttal whenever that old chestnut – “the pay gap isn’t real” – comes up in conversation.

We hope you find our latest reports interesting, informative and useful. Keep an eye on the blog for details of our next research paper which looks at how the extension of the right to request flexible working has impacted access to flexible working (no spoilers forthcoming).

EVENT: Still Not Visible: BME Women’s Experiences of Employment in Scotland research launch

Close the Gap is launching a new report, Still Not Visible: Black and Minority Ethnic Women’s Experiences of Employment in Scotland. The research explores BME women’s employment experiences including recruitment, workplace culture, training and childcare.

The research, which was undertaken by Close the Gap, demonstrates that BME women continue to face high levels of racism, racial prejudice, discrimination and bias in the labour market which ultimately impacts their ability to secure, retain and progress within sustainable, good employment.

Kaliani Lyle, former Independent Race Equality Adviser to the Scottish Government, will be chairing the event and there will be a keynote address from Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills.

Confirmed speakers include - Anna Ritchie Allan, Executive Director, Close the Gap, Dr Ima Jackson, Senior Lecturer School of Health and Life Science at Glasgow Caledonian University, Satwat Rehman, Director at One Parent Families Scotland and Carol Young, Senior Policy Officer at CRER.

The event will be held at:

09:30 – 13:15 on Tuesday 19th February 2019
Recital Room
City Halls & Old Fruitmarket
Glasgow, G1 1NQ

You can register for the free event here:

Lunch with be provided.

Support for childcare is available.