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Perhaps the Fawcett Society would like to use facts and logic?

Summary:
The Fawcett Society tells us that we must have lots more reporting of the gender pay gap. Even, that the law should force employers to spend lots more time pumping out lovely figures for all to ponder.The UK is “unique in its light-touch approach” in not requiring private employers to produce a plan to tackle gender pay gaps, a report has found. The research by the Fawcett Society and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London (KCL) found the UK lags behind other countries, which have “much more robust systems”.Researchers examined gender pay gap reporting legislation in 10 countries, and say the UK needs to do more to make faster progress on equality.Well, gosh, when it’s put like that we’d all better get on with it, hadn’t we? Not enough effort being made and

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The Fawcett Society tells us that we must have lots more reporting of the gender pay gap. Even, that the law should force employers to spend lots more time pumping out lovely figures for all to ponder.

The UK is “unique in its light-touch approach” in not requiring private employers to produce a plan to tackle gender pay gaps, a report has found.

The research by the Fawcett Society and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London (KCL) found the UK lags behind other countries, which have “much more robust systems”.

Researchers examined gender pay gap reporting legislation in 10 countries, and say the UK needs to do more to make faster progress on equality.

Well, gosh, when it’s put like that we’d all better get on with it, hadn’t we? Not enough effort being made and how could we hold our heads up in the global corridors of power if that were to persist?

Except, well, there’s that little nagging point. This more legislation, this more reporting, how actually effective is it? We are, after all, more interested in results than isometric exercise, that effort without movement thing. The report itself doesn’t compare the gender pay gap across countries and most certainly doesn’t attempt to tie it to how much - or how complex - legislation there is concerning the reporting of it. A quick look - and we’ll confess to not having run any proper statistical tests here - at the gaps doesn’t seem to show any correlation at all.

There is that second little nag at the back of the mind as well. As their foreword says:

However, the median gender pay gap among all employees currently stands at 17.3%,

Ah, no, we know this one. Over a decade back Harriet Harman tried to use this all employee median and was told off by the Statistics Authority for doing so. We might have mentioned this before. And yes, Ms. Harman’s numbers were supported by the Fawcett Society and they were, too, rapped over the knuckles for that misleading use.

So, Fawcett is not bothering to prove their contention, that reporting reduces the gap, nor are they using the right number for the gap in the first place. It would be a little cruel to remind all of Barbie’s point, that math is hard, but we do think we can and should expect better than this as justification for a change in public policy.

Which leads to that third, gripping, little nag. Given that the Fawcett Society doesn’t understand the current numbers available what makes them think that reporting more of them is going to aid?

We do know the answer to that question, yes. A demand for facts and logic is just mansplaining, isn’t it?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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