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Post 'Me Too' movement, gender pay equality efforts gain momentum

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Listen: Post 'Me Too' movement, gender pay equality efforts gain momentum

"The environment in which the debate is happening, it's not like it was 10 years ago. We're in the midst of a Me Too movement, we're in the midst of a very, very public discussion about equal pay."

This is what Rep. Rosa DeLauro told S&P Global Market Intelligence about why she recently reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, and why she thinks it has momentum as it heads to the Senate.

It has has already been a big year for pay equity advocates — in January Citigroup Inc. became the first bank to disclose its median gender pay gap, while actress Michelle Williams made headlines when she spoke on Capitol Hill about her personal experience being paid far less than her male costar.

DeLauro hopes to build on that momentum. The Democrat Congresswoman from Connecticut is one of several experts we interviewed about the gender pay gap for the latest episode of ESG Insider, an S&P Global podcast.

Click here to listen to the third episode of ESG Insider.

While U.S. Congress weighs DeLauro's bill, the U.K. has already implemented a law requiring that organizations report on their gender pay gaps. In April 2019 U.K. companies disclosed this information for just the second time, and our podcast dives into the new data points, looking at which companies and industries made progress closing the gap.

In the U.S. the issue is also garnering investor attention. In this episode, we hear from an activist shareholder who submitted a proposal calling for more gender pay gap disclosures at some of the nation's largest banks. Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. shareholders voted down the proposal at meetings in April, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. shareholders are poised to vote on the proposal later in May.

"We're definitely at a transition point for transparency and disclosure and any employer that is too hesitant risks being left behind by the broader conversation," said Glassdoor Senior Economist and Data Scientist Daniel Zhao.

We talked to Zhao about a new report by Glassdoor, which found the gender pay gap is narrowing but persists around the globe. The U.S. adjusted pay gap fell below 5% in 2018 from 6.5% in 2011, thanks in part to a tighter labor market, more women participating in the workforce and greater awareness of the issue, the jobs website found.

The issue is gaining momentum and publicity, but experts we interviewed say closing the gap will take years.

"That might not sound like a lot, but it adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over a woman's career," Zhao said. "The gender pay gap is narrowing, but at a slow pace. At the current rate it will be decades if not generations before the pay gap closes fully."

Jennifer Laidlaw, Samantha Tomaszczyk, David Hood and Sarah Barry James contributed to this article.

To read more of S&P Global's coverage of sustainability issues, you can subscribe here to receive our weekly ESG Insider newsletter.