The Government has launched a new pay transparency pilot to “break down barriers for women”, it has been announced.

The move comes on International Women’s Day, an annual celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally.

According to Minister for Women, Baroness Stedman-Scott, two new initiatives will be launched this year to “level up employment opportunities” for women in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes a pilot scheme seeking to improve pay transparency in the job application process in a bid to close salary gaps and tackle pay equality. The evidence suggests that listing a salary range on a job advert and not asking applicants to disclose their salary gives women more power to negotiate pay.

Furthermore, the Fawcett Society found that nearly three in five (58 per cent) women felt that they had received a lower salary because they had been asked about their previous pay.

In addition to this initiative, the Government will launch a “new returners” programme to help women get back into science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) careers. The scheme will focus on women who are “often overlooked because of a gap on their CV”, such as taking time out to raise children.

Commenting on the announcement, Baroness Stedman-Scott, said: “The UK can only grasp its full potential by championing its brightest and best, and ensuring everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to succeed.

“We believe that increased pay transparency will build on positive evidence of the role information can play when it comes to empowering women in the workplace. It is essential that we keep women at the forefront of the levelling up agenda as we recover from the pandemic and rebuild together.

“Our second announcement, supporting skilled women to return to STEM careers after care leave, will keep talented minds in STEM and improve the representation of women and marginalised communities in those incredibly important roles.”

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