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WISE News | WISE CEO - Helen Wollaston | January 2017

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​Equal pay hit the headlines again at the start of 2018.

11 January 2018

On New Year’s Day, Iceland made it illegal to pay women less than men. Firms employing 25 or more employees will have to obtain a government certificate confirming that they pay women the same as men for work of equal value. The aim of this law is to eradicate gender pay disparity in Iceland by 2022; the Icelanders believe that prior legislation in this area didn’t work so they decided that further intervention was required – proof of equality. We hope it works and that countries like the UK, which has a 17% gender pay gap, take an active interest in seeing if this intervention delivers results. In our experience, objective processes can be very valuable in overcoming unconscious bias (as well as conscious bias). As some say “show me the evidence“, – processes help to derive the facts which then can be used to bring about the necessary and desired change. Big ideas and transformation can come from the not so obvious places. Iceland has just 334,000 population, yet has big ideas and is prepared to take action. Read more

In the UK, there is already more transparency about pay in advance of mandatory gender pay gap reporting for companies with 250 or more employees, which comes into force on 6 April. Gender Pay Gap Reporting

The BBC is in the spotlight this week but any large organisation paying men more than women doing jobs of equivalent value will find themselves under scrutiny. A gender divide in occupational type is of course a major reason for the gender pay gap. WISE welcomes gender pay gap reporting because it will shine a spotlight on this gender divide which should act as a lever for change. We would like to see more companies follow Sky’s lead – offering women working in administrative roles the opportunity to re-train as engineers. Our Knowledge Sharing Event next month, hosted by Mastercard, which will focus on developing pathways for adult women to move into STEM via re-training or returnships, is filling up fast, which shows there is an appetite amongst WISE corporate members to do more in this area. Find out more limited places available

I look forward to hearing what our new WISE Young Women’s Board members think about their future pay prospects. Two of the four new recruits are from tech companies, another was inspired to apply after meeting a former Young Women’s Board member at a WISE stand last year and Rebecca applied from the RAF, which she joined after doing an internship with WISE in 2013/14. Read on to find out more about them and the rest of the Young Women’s Board.

2018/19 WISE Young Women's Board

Happy New Year to them and to all WISE members and subscribers. Watch this space to find out how you can help us reach our goal of one million women working in STEM in the UK by 2020.

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