Tulip Siddiq, London-based politician and niece of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is backing a new equal pay campaign being spearheaded by a group of female MPs in Britain.
The social media campaign is aimed at building pressure on the country’s employers, launched alongside a new #PayMeToo website this week. It aims to ensure that women know they have the right to address unequal pay issues at work, as well as offering advice for what to do next, including working with trade unions and women’s networks.
Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn in north London, gave an insight into her professional life, revealing that she had once discovered she was being paid £10,000 less than a male counterpart for the same kind of work. The 35-year-old, who has a Master's degree in politics from King's College London, received a salary raise after gathering the courage to ask for the same money as a her male colleague.
“Once I asked, it wasn’t difficult to get pay equality. There are thousands of women in this situation and it’s a devastating inequality in our country. It’s gone on for too long now and this is a real opportunity to sort it out,” she said.
Led by her colleague Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, the campaign is also asking women to complete and share a #PayMeToo survey, which they say will inform debates in Parliament about how to address issues around gender discrimination in pay at their workplaces.
Under UK law, all private companies with more than 250 employees must reveal the difference in the hourly rate paid to men and women before midnight on Wednesday. As the deadline for the public sector approached last week, it was revealed that nine out of 10 employers pay men more than women, with women paid on average 14 per cent less than male colleagues.
“If you have a gender pay gap you should expect to be challenged to address it and held to account if you try to stop your staff speaking up, whether by trade unions, women’s networks or Parliament,” Creasy said.