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Pay Gap Between Men and Women 11 February 2004

The Department of Trade & Industry responded to concerns about the gap in earnings between men and women.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Alex Downie MHK, stated

“People tend to oversimplify the pay gap. It isn’t just an Isle of Man concern but exists throughout the world and there are many complex factors involved. However, the Department takes the issue very seriously and we are in the process of bringing forward a series of proposals which will reduce the gap as part of a long planned process to address inequality in pay.”

Existing Measures

The Department of Trade and Industry has already gone a long way towards making pay more equitable. Most importantly in 2001 the Isle of Man’s first discrimination legislation came into force. This outlawed the paying of a different wages to men and women who are doing the same job or work which has been graded the same, unless the difference in pay can be justified. It also means that it is unlawful to offer less favourable contractual terms to a woman, such as holidays or bonuses, because of her sex. A man may also bring a claim under this legislation if he feels he is not being treated fairly.

This law is based on the UK laws which saw Louise Barton, a London City analyst, awarded £1.3 million in compensation and led a UK Employment Tribunal conclude that the behaviour of her employer in awarding bonuses to their staff was “both tainted by sex and involved a lack of transparency”.

The introduction of a national minimum wage in the Isle of Man in 2000 will also have helped to raise wage levels, particularly among women who occupy lower earning positions.

New Measures

The Department’s forthcoming Employment Bill which will provide further help to the Island’s women workers. Proposals include protection to prevent less favourable treatment of part time workers. As over 80% of part time workers are female this is important for ensuring parity of treatment. The Department also intends to increase rights for working parents and carers, which is expected to improve the position of women in the workforce.

Mr Downie stated,

“People on the Isle of Man should know that the Department is committed to the equal treatment of men and women and that we are actively moving forward proposals which will help to eliminate any unjustified differences in pay between men and women.”

There are many different factors which combine to cause the gap in pay.

  • There are historical differences in the levels of qualifications held by men and women
  • Women are still more likely than men to have breaks from paid work to care for children and other dependants.
  • Part-timers, on average, earn less per hour than full-timers and, because so many women work part-time, this is a major contributor to the gender pay gap.
  • Women's employment is also highly concentrated in certain occupations (60 per cent of working women work in just 10 occupations) and those occupations which are female-dominated are often the lowest paid.
  • Women are still under-represented in the higher paid jobs within occupations - the so called "glass ceiling" effect.

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