International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March coincides with Women’s Trade Union Congress 2017. The event will run for three days, with a particular focus on tackling the gender pay gap – bringing women’s pay in line with their male colleagues and counterparts. 

While the gender pay gap has narrowed in the last 40 years, the current ratio is still far from satisfactory, as detailed in the newly published, spring edition of the Labour and European Law Review

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics put the average gender pay gap - for all employees, excluding overtime - at 18 per cent. 

Victoria Phillips, head of employment rights (client relations) at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “There is no excuse for women to have to put up with lower salaries in 2017. Slow progress has been made over the last half century but more needs to be done to change archaic, ingrained workplace practices. We will do whatever we can to help make that happen. 

“International Women's Day is an annual event to celebrate the achievements and impact of women across the world, and it’s only appropriate that it coincides with this year’s Women’s TUC.” 

The reasons for the stark difference in pay between men and women are still the subject of much discussion. A report by the Women and Equalities Committee last year attributed it in part to direct discrimination, and in part to underlying structural factors, like occupational segregation, the part-time pay penalty and the disproportionate onus on women for unpaid caring. 

However, women who work in sectors with strong union membership and collective bargaining are shown to be paid more on average and the gender pay gap is, generally, lower.

You can read more about the issues affecting women’s pay and gender discrimination in the latest issue of the Labour and European Law Review.