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Equal Pay – How Far Have We Come or Are We Going Backwards? – Innangard Virtual Conference 2021 Podcast

Regan O’Driscoll of CC Solicitors, the Irish Innangard member firm, led an incredible line up of guest speakers through an important discussion on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected equal pay for women.

Ivana Bacik, Labour Senator, Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration (Ireland), discussed the five C’s that hold women back: cash, childcare, confidence, candidate selection and culture, and discussed how the Coronavirus pandemic has led women back into stereotypical roles. Women have taken the lead with home schooling and caring responsibilities, which has also had an impact on their work, pay and career progression. Statistics show that women are more likely to be made redundant and to be selected for wage subsidy schemes such as furlough.

Claire Darwin, Barrister, Matrix Chambers (UK), shared with the audience some of the (rather unattractive) arguments advanced by the BBC in the Samira Ahmed UK Employment Tribunal equal pay case (e.g. women are not as funny as men and that justifies less pay!) In relation to gender pay gap reporting, Claire highlighted that we are yet to see any improvement for women. The UK Government’s decision to suspend reporting in year 4 because of the Coronavirus pandemic sends a dangerous message suggesting that “employers are too busy for this”.

Carl-Fredrik Hedenström of Morris Law, our Swedish Innangard member firm, discussed some interesting statistics on the impact that taking parental leave in Sweden has on the earnings of men and women. He highlighted that perhaps things have not improved as much as one had hoped, despite Sweden’s progressive approach. Employers continue to count on women to take parental leave and women take it because they remain more likely to earn a lower salary compared to their male partners. Surprisingly, Sweden has not yet had a female Prime Minister!


  • Ivana Bacik, Labour Senator, Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Ireland
  • Claire Darwin, Barrister, Matrix Chambers, UK
  • Carl-Fredrik Hedenström, Partner, Morris Law, Sweden
  • Regan O’Driscoll, Partner, CC Solicitors, Ireland (Chair)

This session formed part of the The World of Work: The Great Reset 2021, Innangard’s first virtual conference held on 24 and 25 March 2021. The conference brought together six international panels of distinguished speakers including leading scientists, politicians, in-house professionals and global HR and employment law experts, to share insights and discuss how the world of work and their organisations have adapted and will develop in 2021 and beyond.

Find out more and listen to the other podcasts here.