Chwarae Teg held its most recent Spotlight: Gender Equality Research Hub at Octavo’s Book Café and Wine Bar in Cardiff Bay on 26 October 2016.

Spotlight events run three times a year and bring together researchers and policy workers from the third sector, government, academia and trade unions. The events are an opportunity to share research and discuss ideas on how to use research to influence policy and bring about greater gender equality in Wales. The events are also a great opportunity for people working in these fields to network.

The Living Wage and the Gender Pay Gap

The guest speaker at October’s event was Nisreen Mansour of the Bevan Foundation, who presented the organisation’s most recent research into how the living wage might affect the gender pay gap.

The living wage, unlike the national minimum wage, is the amount of money needed to maintain a normal – rather than a minimum – standard of living. This should allow people to afford certain things such as a decent meal, a warm home and birthday treats for their children. The living wage is voluntary, although as many businesses as possible are encouraged to participate.

The current living wage is £8.25 per hour, compared to £7.20 per hour national minimum wage. A quarter of workers in Wales currently earn less than the living wage, which equates to almost 300,000 people. Six out of ten of these are women.

The sectors at greatest risk are the lower paid industries such as retail and wholesale, accommodation and food, and arts and entertainment, while there are also large numbers being paid below the living wage in education, health and social care.

The report highlights the benefits of paying the living wage not just to individuals but also to business and the economy as a whole. It also emphasises the importance of publicising the living wage to encourage more employers to be involved. Furthermore, since more women are currently paid below the living wage, a greater uptake in Wales could help reduce the gender pay gap.

Turning Research Into Action

Researchers and policy workers at the event then had a discussion on gaps in current research into gender and the economy. On a positive note, it was widely agreed that there is a wealth of robust research into contemporary gender equality; however, the gaps are more to do with putting the research to practice. Key ideas discussed included:
• Forming coalitions so different organisations can jointly present research into similar topics to government
• Ensuring research is utilised earlier, for example within party manifestos
• Compiling a database of research into certain key policy areas
• Conducting more localised research that people can relate to, such as the Bevan Foundation’s recent research, which was focused in Merthyr Tydfil

Future Spotlight Events

The next Spotlight event will be held in February 2017. If you or your organisation would like to present your recent research into gender equality in the economy at the next event, please contact:

Dr Lucy Knight

or Dr Hade Turkmen