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Women make up 50% of the population

11 June 2012

From Parliament to FTSE boardrooms to the media, too many institutions are dominated by men, making decisions that affect us all.


We have a parliament that contains only 22% female MPs, 22% female peers and 22% female cabinet ministers.

In February 2011 Lord Davies recommended that UK listed companies in the FTSE 100 should have at least 25% female board member representation by 2015, in February this year The Telegraph reported that this target is likely to be missed.

And in December 2011 the Guardian highlighted that 78% of newspaper articles are written by men, 72% of Question Time contributors are men and there are only two female editors of national newspapers.

What is the consequence when those making and shaping decisions don’t reflect the people they are affecting?

Cuts disproportionately affect women

• Women still experience a full-time pay gap of 14.9%

• Women’s average personal pensions are only 62% of the average for men

• The costs of childcare in the UK are amongst the highest in the world, heavily limiting women’s choices to take up paid work

Over time, the impact of austerity will not only be calculated through the money in women’s pockets and their spending power relative to men’s. It will result in a society in which women’s voice and choices are diminished, where women’s access to employment, justice and safety are undermined and where women become more, rather than less, dependent on the state or their families for support.

How does this affect TSSA members?

There is nothing to indicate that the transport and travel industry is any better than the national average. Employers have consistently refused to share information on gender pay with our organisers and the combination of serial reorganisations and constant franchise turnover will mean that terms and conditions are confused and potentially unequal.

The research TSSA has carried out in Network Rail has uncovered an average gender pay gap of £4,500 (for many women the gap will be significantly higher than the average) in management grades. Much of this gap appears to be due to the arbitrary nature of the pay structure (i.e. women tend to get paid less for doing the same job). However, it is not the case that all women are low paid and all men are highly paid. It’s an inevitable consequence of a pay and grading structure that ticks all the wrong boxes for fairness and equality.

So what do we do about it?


We want to hear from you about your experiences and want to encourage more women to get involved as reps and activists in the workplace so we can talk the talk and walk the walk.

  • You can develop your ability to speak up by attending the TSSA Negotiations Skills for Women course in Manchester on 23-25 July 2012. Please display the flyers in your workplace and talk about the issues with your colleagues

  • Please advertise the event online and join on Facebook

  • Get involved with Women In Focus (WiF) the self-organised group for women members in TSSA

    Contact the Equalities and Diversity Organiser on or speak to your local rep or Branch activist


Thank you

Our local reps and branch activists are core to this union. While head office can prepare training courses, materials, and leaflets, without your efforts they would not be heard about, so thank you very much.


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