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Equal pay legislation and its impact on the gender pay gap.

Gow, Laura; Middlemiss, Sam


Laura Gow

Sam Middlemiss


Equal pay legislation has been in existence for over 40 years in the UK and the legal rules dealing with equal pay have been consolidated and amended recently with the implementation of the Equality Act 2010. However, despite this, problems can still be identified with equal pay in the UK, most notably the continued existence of a sizeable gender pay gap. This article will outline the current legal rules on equal pay and analyse their effectiveness in addressing the issue of the gender pay gap. It is clear that a problem such as the gender pay gap is often caused in society by deeply held stereotypical, discriminatory views and in employment by employers (and some employees) with institutionalised discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. These causes of the gender pay gap militate against it being tackled solely by the law (specifically equality legislation). In this article we will undertake a comprehensive analysis of the topic and establish to what extent the current law can facilitate the necessary changes to eradicate this gap. In areas where it is not sufficiently robust to do this we will analyse what further changes are required through adjustments in the legal rules in the UK. Clearly, much is to be gained from eradicating the gender pay gap. However, there are a number of obstacles to achieving this, which are considered.


GOW, L. and MIDDLEMISS, S. 2011. Equal pay legislation and its impact on the gender pay gap. International journal of discrimination and the law [online], 11(4), pages 164-186. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2011
Online Publication Date Mar 28, 2012
Publication Date Dec 1, 2011
Deposit Date May 15, 2014
Publicly Available Date May 15, 2014
Journal International journal of discrimination and the law
Print ISSN 1358-2291
Electronic ISSN 2047-9468
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 4
Pages 164-186
Keywords Equal; Law; Impact; Pay; Gap
Public URL


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