As we're busy trying to recover from the financial excesses of the festive period, working women are likely to continue to be irritated by the fact that, in effect, they worked for free from early November until the end of 2015. This is because working women in the UK earened 19.1% less than men in 2014, according to gender pay gap statistics from the Office of National Statistics. The US statistics are similar with full-time working women earning 18% less than men in 2013.

Although paying a woman less for doing the same job as a man has been illegal for 45 years, the gender pay gap still exists. It is caused by various factors, including more women working part-time and women tending to work in lower paid roles and industries.

While we have more women in work, more women on FTSE boards and more women-led businesses than ever before and the gender pay gap is decreasing, the World Economic Forum has concluded that if change continues at the current pace the global gender pay gapwill not be eliminated until 2133 - 118 years from now.

The UK government has taken various steps aimed at seeking to redress gender inequalities. These include measures such as shared parental leave; designed to enable men to take a more equal responsibility for child care.

The next step in legislative intervention on the gender pay gap will see all employers of more than 250 people being required to publish their gender pay gap statistics from Spring this year. It is currently unclear exactly what information wll need to be published and whether organisations will be able to report their statistics in varying ways, or with explanations (presumably to tru and defend any significant pay gaps). This has, however, been the subject of a government consultation and it is hoped the response will clarify these points. Some things are clear, however, including that companies will be required to include variable pay, such as bonuses, in their calculations. It also seems likely that companies will need to provider their gender pay gap statisctics to a central authority and to prominently publish the statistics on their websites.

This legislation may go some way to encouraging transparency about pay and cause employers to address unconscious bias and allow job seekers to make informed decisions about their future employment.

This article was originally published in Network Magazine, February 2016.