Will Brexit shrink or widen the gender pay gap?

|1/4| To celebrate International Women’s Day we’re releasing new blogs every week this month  from Kasmin Cooney (OBE) Righttrack Consultancy founder, sharing her decades of experience in equality and diversity training in the business world. 

At Surrey Business School we’re passionate about advancing female candidates with the MBA Women in Business Scholarship, covering between 10 – 50% of the total tuition fee awarded on a rolling basis. 

With the UK opting for leaving the European Union, prospects for gender equality and shrinking the gender pay gap have been thrown into uncertainty.

The EU has been a force for good in the pursuit of gender equality through a pltheora of policies promoting equal pay for work of equal value, minimum maternity guarantees and the prevention of discrimination on grounds of gender.

It was due to EU pressure that the UK introduced domestic policies to aid the pursuit of gender equality and there are no assurances that these mesures won’t be reversed. However, with a female Prime Minister at the helm of the country, one would hope that no reversals do occur.

The one way in which women could benefit from Brexit is that, because Britain may now have restricted access to foreign talent, employers will recruit British women into the workforce to adress the shortfall.

However, will this be able to subsidise for the loss of benefits form the European Commissions recent ‘Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality: 2016-2019 plan which they’ve allocated a budget of €6.17bn to? When Article 50 is enacted, Britain will no longer have access to such sizeable funding which is concerning.

Although it is too early to make any educated predictions, there is a chance that Britain will become complacent with gender equality post-Brexit, meaning progress in shrinking the gender pay gap will be hindered.


Kasmin Cooney (OBE) Righttrack Consultancy founder