If America wants to fix its gender pay gap, it should steal this brilliant trick from the UK


The UK is about to put in place what sounds like a pretty useful policy to address the pay gap between men and women: making companies reveal the gap between what they pay their male and female employees.

Women in the UK earn roughly 20% less than their male counterparts, government figures released in November show. In the U.S., the gap is around the same, in fact slightly worse–women on average on 78% what their male colleagues earn, according to the White House. For black women, that number drops to 64% and even further to 54% for Latina women.

The UK law will require companies with 250 or more employees to record and disclose the pay gap between the women and men who work for them, which the government will then publish in the form of league tables listing the top ten best and worst employers, by industry.

That’s something that the U.S. could consider as a next step, weeks after President Obama announced an executive order requiring companies with more than 100 employees to report wages broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity to the federal government. The idea with the U.S. law is to give the government more information and more ability to take action against companies that underpay women and minorities. But it’s also aimed at making employers do more self-regulation: and that seems more likely to happen if they know they’ll face public scrutiny.

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