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Equality Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:31 am on 9th June 2009.

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Photo of John Penrose John Penrose Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 11:31 am, 9th June 2009

Thank you. Can I move on to the broader issue of the gender pay gap and how one addresses it? I expect and hope that everybody here would agree on the principle and importance of trying to deal with it. I am interested in how much of the gender pay gap you believe can be sorted out within companies, as opposed to it originating there and needing to be dealt with through action elsewhere in society and the community as a whole. Equal Opportunities Commission research says that 38 per cent. of the gender pay gap is due to

“other factors associated with being female”, which include “direct discrimination”, and also a variety of indirect factors and “systematic disadvantage”. I am concerned that we might be looking at a relatively small proportion of the gender pay gap in company activity and action. Do any of you have views on whether that analysis is correct?