y Board affiliate blog – Sandra Silva – May 2021
Gender Equality and Gender Pay Gap
The current pandemic has impacted on all of us, emotionally and physically. Also, this pandemic has shone a light and exacerbated many of our society’s inequalities. The pandemic had a disproportionate toll on females, which represent the majority of the NHS workforce (77 per cent). The Health and Care Women Leaders Network has recently published a report highlighting these findings and made recommendations on the actions required to progress the gender equality agenda – COVID19-and-the-female-health-and-care-workforce-survey-update (nhsconfed.org).
I feel very strongly about all inequalities but, as a woman, I’m particularly passionate about gender equality, because I witness in my personal and professional life the disproportionate burden of caring responsibilities on women of all races and social strata. These societal and cultural expectations on women can have a significative negative impact on our ability to progress professionally.
At the last Public Board Meeting, held on the 31 March 2021, the Trust Gender Pay Gap Report was discussed. I was positively impressed this report was highlighted and warranted Board consideration and discussion. The gender pay gap is a measure of labour market or workplace disadvantage, expressed in terms of a comparison between men’s and women’s average hourly rates of pay. The report notes a Gender Pay Gap in favour of males within the Trust (for 19/20 the mean hourly fixed pay gap between men and women is 17.4%). This picture is driven by the greater number of men in higher paid jobs when compared to the workforce population which is 80% female in the Trust. The two staff groups with the largest pay gaps are Administrative & Clerical and Medical & Dental.
At the Board Meeting some of the debate covered the barriers that prevent women from applying for the higher paid jobs and what can be done about it; the opportunities for women Consultants applying for the Clinical Excellence Awards; and the involvement of female focus groups to support the pay gap route cause analysis. If you are interested in this topic you can listen to the Board discussion here: https://buckinghamshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/560181/start_time/97000?force_language_code=en_GB starting at 2h 01min.
Despite the report findings, I found the Trust action plan to tackle the current Gender Pay Gap encouraging. This action plan sets a vision to promote flexible working, to support career development of females with caring responsibilities and pledges debiasing actions in the recruitment and selection process, which are all important contributors to reducing the Gender Pay Gap and promoting Gender Equality. I’m particularly excited with the Trust plans to launch a Women’s Network to provide ongoing support to aspiring female professionals.
Overall, it is reassuring to know the Trust takes the Gender Pay Gap seriously and is committed to address this gap in the years ahead. On the Gender Equality front, I think we are on a journey that will be hard and may take time to achieve true equality; but it is a journey worth taking.