Starting in 2016, the UK government will force large firms to reveal the difference between what they pay their men and women, in an effort aimed to spur those companies to close their gaps.
The exact disclosure requirements of the gender pay audits, which will affect companies with 250 employees or more, are yet to be determined.
In a written statement, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the new policy “will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up.”
Women in Great Britain currently make about 19% less than their male counterparts.
Some, at The Independent and The Guardian, are arguing that the new regulations, while well-intended, won’t do enough to propel real change on the pay-gap issue. Others, like Anne Francke in The Telegraph, are cheering the decision, calling Cameron’s announcement “a giant step forward for womankind.”
We’re with Anne; while it probably won’t be a silver bullet, we feel confident that this policy is a good thing. After all, as she points out, “With large companies required to publish aggregate numbers, women will at least have a reference point to begin [negotiations] with their managers—and the company should have the data to give clear answers, too. No more bluster—there will be nowhere for businesses to hide.”