Lewisham Council: #BehindEveryGreatCity is a 10% gender pay gap



The mind boggles that in the government sector that is under such scrutiny and with so many unions that this happens in this day and age. What’s the use of being in a union if it doesn’t look after its female members.


Isn’t this saying men are paid less than women? Anyway The gender pay gap stats are a little bit misleading because they are not equal pay for equal jobs stats. So if you have lots of one sex doing lower paid jobs and a CEO of another sex getting paid a lot of money, the mean and median which are what is mandated to be reported by the govt will obviously show a big gap in favour of the sex of the CEO. Quite often gender pay gap stats are an indication of a lack of women at senior levels as opposed to actual unfairness is pay ie two street cleaners doing the same job where the man gets paid more than the women or vice versa.


I’m with @fran and believe there are multiple ways to explain an overall gender pay gap.

Here’s the data from Lewisham:

A question - is it acceptable that this gender pay disparity exists in Lewisham Council, where women are paid on average 10.9% more than men?

  • Lewisham Council’s overall gender wage gap is acceptable
  • Lewisham Council’s overall gender wage gap is not acceptable
  • I don’t feel strongly either way
  • Other (please comment)

0 voters

And how about cases where we find the opposite gender pay disparity - where men are paid 10% more than women overall?

  • Organisations that pay men 10% more than women overall are acceptable
  • Organisations that pay men 10% more than women overall are not acceptable
  • I don’t feel strongly either way
  • Other (please comment)

0 voters

For the avoidance of doubt, overall implies “mean” not median.


These stats are baffling - quoted as if there is no correlation between gender and the factors which determine pay.

It’s an interesting topic but so rarely discussed intelligently in mainstream media. The below is an excellent read/listen for anyone interested in whats behind the headline number.


Re the ‘Organisations that pay men 10% more than women overall are acceptable’ option. Can we split it into

  • A - ‘Organisations that pay men 10% more than women for just being men are acceptable’
  • B - ‘Organisations that pay men 10% more than women for other reasons are acceptable’



The poll can’t be changed as it has votes. And also if we covered the whole spectrum of possible reasons for gender pay gaps, the poll might get complicated.

It would be interesting to know why men might be paid more than women. A few days ago, Forest Hill’s MP tweeted the following:

Implicit in this statement is the notion that women are not willing/able to work long and unsociable hours, and to accept standard holiday allowance. Could this go some way to explaining existing gender pay gaps? Or is Ellie wrong?


I was half joking about the split… I’m not a fan of the sweeping statements hence why I felt I the need to vote ‘other’ and comment. But then I realised I was really just justifying my position so I went back and changed my vote.


I would imagine she is addressing the fact there is no official policy for MPs to take maternity leave- not holidays in general. I read it as the childcare implications of late nights and unsocial hours but I admit it could be clearer.


So Ellie is making the implicit assumption that the burden of childcare affects women more than men. Which is probably true, and will probably always be true.

So, as before, could this go some way to explaining existing gender pay gaps? Or is Ellie wrong?


rather off topic now i would say, and it is by no means as simplistic as that. The ONS is making some effort to explore the complex reasons. http://www.equalpayportal.co.uk/statistics/

What a silly tweet by Lewisham though.


Possibly- but crude measures of pay are not always meaningful.
Surely equal pay for equal work is what we should actually strive for and that flexible work should be offered to both parents to share out in the way that suits them.
Where is it complicated is quantifying objective measures for the ‘value’ of work- how do you benchmark roles that have traditionally had more women in them against those that haven’t to avoid systematic (potentially gender-based) pay bias?


Thanks @fran
I looked at the report probably couple of months ago at scrutiny level and there were more breakdowns. None of them were comparing the equal roles and gender gap. Therefore the headline claim about the gender gap in my view was without context and meaning.


We are due to publish our gender pay info soon and it could go look bad.
As a teaching environment we have a lot of women on the payroll and our management team is just about 50/50.
However almost all the cleaners are women and there are a lot of them and they are not well paid.
But to counter that all the porters, security and maintenance are men and they are not hugely well paid either.
Our main issue however is that we have lots of part time female staff which I think will skew the figures. Why this is the case is down to societal\institutional influences as a lot of them choose to spend more time at home after childbirth - even after maternity leave. I don’t know if the stats are rounded to a full time equivalent average salary but I think not
In short while the information is welcome it has to be taken with a liberal dose of salt - if our figures look skewed to male workers then i wont be surprised and yet we have a lot of women in SMT and a lot are heads of departments


In my last job, ALL the management were men, and men at my level doing exactly the same job as me were being paid more. Sexual discrimination was rife and sexual harassment not uncommon. And this was a law firm.

There are complex reasons behind gender pay disparity, but sometimes it’s down to good old-fashioned sexism.


I’m not sure that this affects the gender pay gap. Even if only 10% of MPs were women it would be possible to have no gender pay gap. Gender pay gap is a measurement on how on average one sex is paid against the opposite sex in any organisation. Not some gender parity.



I’m not sure I fully understand the point you’re making. Are you suggesting that if childcare choices affected some women’s earning power, we could compensate and create gender parity overall by paying other women above the odds?

@Foresthillnick - my fear is that due to this poorly thought-out legislation, low paid women may lose their jobs as it will be a quick and easy way for organisations to engineer “gender parity.” I wish the state would stay out of social affairs.


My economic political sensibities are centre right, but I wholeheartedly disagree that the state should stay out of social affairs.

You are quite right that this does not stop employers behaving unscrupulously per se, but your implication that somehow this makes the situation worse than it already is does not hold water. We are already being treated pretty poorly in some areas. Lack of regulation does not create self-regulation in these types of areas.

If low-paid women lose their jobs because of an attempt to game the gender pay reporting, that will be illegal. “Social affairs” regulation at least gives some possibly of redress. In the state of affairs you advocate, we’d have nothing at all- just as we did for hundreds of years.


We’re heaping layers of state interference upon flawed layers of state interference, if we make it illegal to sack low-paid staff due to suspected gender pay scrutiny gaming.

Employers will face a whole new category of spurious lawsuit whenever they need to sack low paid workers for legitimate reasons.


You misunderstand the status quo. It is already illegal to sack someone because they are female. If women are sacked in order to game any reporting, this would be a breach of existing laws.

You also misunderstand what the “legal sector” does. Not all lawyers are litigators or employment law specialists, you know. I work in financial services, so I wouldn’t remotely benefit from this alleged onslaught of new employment tribunal claims.