Gender gap: Why not claim the difference back? - 13 December 2009

Thousands of British women in the northwestern county of Cumbria have a special Christmas, as they received back pay because of gender discrimination. 

The total settlement amounts to 26 million euro, following complaints organized by their trade unions GMB and Unison. Over 2,000 women got their claims honored, varying from 500 to 45,000 euro, depending on their job and the length of their employment. The average payment is around 15,000 euro. 

Last Saturday hundreds of women appeared at the sixth of a set of road shows in the county to settle the claims, reports a local paper.  Over 90 percent of the claimants accepted the offer made by the Cumbria county council, says the BBC. Main problem occurred for those women, who could not find a male comparison to support their financial claims for gender discrimination. Claimants who have not accepted the offer can still go through a labor tribunal. 

Apart from the trade unions, also an NGO called ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helped to execute the deal. 

From the local News and Star:

The council says 816 Unison members and 939 from the GMB took up its offer and have received compensation totalling £21.2 million.
Councillor Liz Mallinson, cabinet member for organisational development, said: “For most of our claimants this draws a line under a long-running period of uncertainty.
“I’m delighted so many people have decided our offers were good and fair ones.”

While based on British rules and regulations, trying to obtain financial compensation might be a strategy that might help also in other countries to deal with the effects of the gender gap in payments. 

As noted by WageIndicator and WEP reports , over the past decade no effective strategy has been found to deal with the problem.

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