Tue. May 21st, 2019

Getting Past the Gender Pay Gap: Equality Summit Update

(Bloomberg) — Gender pay reporting requirements rolled out in the U.K. in 2018 revealed that at most organizations, women earn a lot less than men — largely because they struggle to climb the corporate ladder. This year’s data showed little has changed, and even some backsliding.

But advocates for diversity say the transparency was a critical first step, and there’s a push to expand mandatory pay gap reporting to cover racial and ethnic pay gaps as well.

Leaders from business, government, activism and entertainment are at the Bloomberg Equality Summit in London to discuss the path forward.

The Power of Shaming (12:30 p.m.)

Gender pay-gap reporting is a wake-up call for business leaders, says Rachel Lord, BlackRock Inc.’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa. No CEO wants to wake up to a story about how they pay women 31% less than men, she says.

“It is hideously embarrassing for a CEO to see that data, however raw it is, however unadjusted or uncontextualized,” Lord tells a panel on diversity in banking and finance.

“I haven’t spoken to any CEO of any public company who hasn’t been embarrassed by their data, even though they know the reasons behind it which are often more nuanced. It’s really helpful.”

What the FTSE 100 Gender Pay Gap Shows (12:00 p.m.)

Bloomberg’s Annmarie Hordern has been looking at what the gender pay gap means for major companies. The Bloomberg Gender Equality Index is outperforming the MSCI All-Country World Index and is up 13% so far this year.

The Next Step for Pay Reporting (11:05)

Companies need to prepare for the possibility of pay disclosure rules being expanded to cover ethnicity after a government consultation on the idea, says Sandra Kerr, race equality director at Business in the Community.

“If was an employer, I would be focused right now on getting my employees thinking about how do we ensure the self-disclosure rates are good. I would be ensuring that I’m capturing the ethnicity data. It was a consultation on mandatory reporting — it wasn’t should we do it. So I think we should expect something coming out to say here’s the date and the timeline and get moving.”

Can Britain Unite in the Age of Brexit? (10:20 a.m.)

Since the Brexit vote in 2016, traditional notions of left- or right-wing have given way to blocs of “remainers” versus “leavers” in the U.K. That makes debating ideas and opinions harder than ever, says Gina Miller, anti-Brexit campaigner and co-founder of SCM Direct.

“In London we still don’t get it. When you travel down a street in Wales and other areas and talk to people, they see us as a different country, they don’t identify with London,” she says.

Where is this split driving the U.K.? The narrative of unity is important, but there hasn’t been enough discussion of what to unite around, according to Leah Kreitzman, London’s mayoral director for external and international affairs.

Words ‘Not Enough’ (09:45 a.m.)

An early theme at the Bloomberg Equality Summit is that while most companies already preach the business case for diversity, progress has been slow. Pay gaps remain wide, boards remain overwhelmingly white and male, and women remain under-represented in leadership.

“More words are not enough,” said Jasmine Whitbread, a non-executive director at lender Standard Chartered Plc. “What’s needed is action.” Chantal Free of Willis Towers Watson Plc echoed this theme in her opening remarks as well.

Banks Poised for Grilling (8:30 a.m. Thursday)

The U.K.’s biggest banks face being summoned to explain why they are among the worst offenders in paying women less than men, according to Nicky Morgan, the Conservative member of Parliament who will chair hearings this summer into the finance industry’s alarming gender pay gap.

“We want to ask the witnesses some pretty searching questions, not just about the pay gap but about their plan for how this is going to be solved,” Morgan told Bloomberg’s David Hellier. The former U.K. Treasury minister will join a panel to discuss equality in banking and finance at 11:30 a.m.

Soccer’s Pay Problem (6:17 p.m. Wednesday)

“I can’t think of an industry with a starker difference” in pay than soccer, said Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game at the Football Association. The second year of U.K. gender pay gap reporting revealed that the clubs are far outside the mainstream when it comes to gender imbalance. “But it’s shifting massively,” Simmons said. “We’ve gone professional, brought in Barclays. We’ve moved massively from dodgy pitches with dog muck.”

Barclays signed a deal earlier this year to become the first title sponsor of the Women’s Super League, the “largest ever commercial investment in women’s sport in the U.K.” The three-year partnership was reported by the BBC to be worth more than 10 million pounds ($12.9 million) and starts next season.

Scotland: Progress Is Slow (5:38 p.m.)

Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, said that focusing rights on the equality of citizens makes it difficult to discriminate against people “be they male, female, able, disable, gay, straight, black, white, religious, non-religious.” Progress takes time and patience, she said. Scotland was the first woman to hold the post of U.K. Attorney General since it was created in 1315 and took on her current post in 2016.

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