The problem with women


As the deadline for companies to disclose their gender pay gap looms, Debika Ray looks at whether the industry is at last ready to take meaningful steps to remedy the problem

In less than a month’s time, employees up and down the country will be logging on to the government’s Equalities Office website to stare goggle-eyed at the data detailing the gender pay gap in the company they work for. Those working in construction may be particularly transfixed.

For by 4 April all companies with more than 250 employees must reveal their gender pay gap, as well as the proportion of men and women at different levels of seniority in their firm. The government’s gender pay gap reporting website opens up for scrutiny the hidden power dynamics inside all medium to large organisations. In construction, this is expected to show what many already believe: that women are under-represented in the industry, are paid far less than men, and occupy far fewer senior roles.

Yet despite the obvious fascination of scouring the data, few in the industry will be surprised: the problem of gender inequality has been with us forever. The question this time, is whether the revelations and the expected backlash will push the industry to finally act to change a culture that is pushing women away from considering a career in construction?

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