Letter: Europe’s gender pay gap is proving a stubborn obstacle


The hurdles to reaching gender equality in the boardroom, alluded to in Siddharth Venkataramakrishnan and Emma Dunkley’s article “Women still under-represented at board” (Report, January 9), stem from hiring attitudes and lingering taboos around salary conversations.

More women may be being hired, but this cannot be fully celebrated unless they are given the same remuneration and opportunity to progress as their male colleagues.

Europe’s gender pay gap is proving a stubborn obstacle in the race to champion gender equality and real change will not come about until corporate rules are rewritten.

Recruitment processes need to be reformed as a crucial starting point. While a legally enforceable “right to know” what male colleagues are earning would be a productive step in revealing any glaring inequalities, an even smaller but pivotal change when hiring would be to ban salary history questions.

This would discourage lowball offers that often frame women as the “affordable” option when hiring, but also enable women to lead the conversation around their own salary. While large-scale change may seem daunting, changing hiring attitudes from the outset would help to accelerate gender equality in the boardroom.

The sad truth is that good intentions around gender diversity are being regulated by quotas which only strive for a third of board seats to be held by women. More transparent hiring conversations would not only help to narrow the pay gap, but provide equality of opportunity that has so far proved out of reach.


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