Speakers:  Sue Milner (University of Bath), Caroline Waters (OBE), Kay Carberry (CBE), Sarah Veale (CBE)

The UK is the twelfth wealthiest country in the world, measured per capita. But it also has high levels of wealth and income inequality and high gender wealth and earnings gaps. The UN’s human development index put the UK in eighteenth place in 2003, and the gender equality index put it in twenty seventh place. 

In several respects, the story of women’s employment in the UK since the 1990s is one of success: the employment gap and working time gap between men and women have both narrowed, as has the gender pay gap. Yet although the decades it would take for average women’s pay to reach men’s has decreased during that time, it remains dauntingly high.

Policy on women and employment was active (but contentious) during the New Labour years, and the unfinished agenda continued for some years subsequently, before stalling after 2016. During the years of active policy, however, the single policy output with the biggest impact on the gender pay gap (the National Minimum Wage) did not target women as a specific group of wage earners. In this seminar, which will launch a series of events we will focussing on different aspects of policy relating to women and employment, we will review the development of policy over the last three decades and ask why it has proved so difficult to make progress towards a more gender-equal society.

Keynote speaker: Professor Sue Milner, PoLIS, University of Bath

Discussants: Caroline Waters OBE, former Deputy Chair of the EHRC and Vice Chair of Carers UK; Kay Carberry CBE, former Assistant General Secretary at the TUC and Commissioner on the Women and Work Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Chair: Sarah Veale CBE, former Head of Equality and Employment Rights, TUC and former Commissioner on the Equality and Human Rights Commission

IHR Seminar Series: History & Policy Trade Union Forum

Women and Employment