This year is the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. Whilst we have come so far, the current Coronavirus pandemic demonstrates how the work that women do, and women themselves are consistently undervalued, none more so than women in the social care sector. 
This event is a part of our #CoronaConversations series and will focus on why women's work is undervalued, how this drives pay inequality and what we can do to change it.


Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society


Sam joined Fawcett in August 2015 as Chief Executive. Prior to Fawcett, she was the Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus for over six years. Sam is no stranger to equalities and gender issues having worked for both the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. She also served as a Fawcett trustee between 2007 and 2010, was a trustee of Gingerbread for seven years and has nine years’ experience working in Parliament. Sam is passionate about equal representation, valuing and sharing care and closing the gender pay gap.


In a BBC career spanning more than three decades, Carrie Gracie has served as China correspondent and Beijing bureau chief as well as a presenter on the BBC News Channel and host of the weekly BBC World Service programme The Interview. In January 2018, Gracie left her post as BBC China editor in protest at unequal pay. In June 2018 she won an apology and pay parity from the BBC. She donated all her back pay to the Fawcett Society to help low paid women facing pay discrimination. She continues to serve as a BBC News presenter and, as a member of the ‘BBC Women’ group.


Dr Wanda Wyporska, FRSA, is Executive Director at The Equality Trust, the national charity that campaigns to reduce social and economic inequality. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of York, a trustee of ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations), Redthread Youth, and Equally Ours and Governor of a primary school. She is a regular keynote speaker and sits on or has advised a range of bodies, such as the ACEVO race advisory panel, the Fight Inequality Alliance Steering Group, the Sheila McKechnie Foundation Social Power review, NUS Poverty Commission and the Sex Education Forum Advisory Group.


She is a past president of the TUC – the first Black woman to be elected to this position and has held several senior positions in over 25 years working in trade unions. Gloria is a formidable campaigner and negotiator for workers’ and trade union rights, equality and human rights.

She has served as a Commissioner on the Commission for Racial Equality and Commission on Older Women. Gloria is a member of the Executive Committee, Women’s Committee, Chair of the Race Relations Committee and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

She has been instrumental in campaigning for EU competence on equality and securing the European Union Article 13 Treaty of Amsterdam Race and Employment Framework Directives; leading development and implementation of work on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and Task Group and Unison's Equality and Race Strategy.

Brendan Martin (@BrendanFMartin) | Twitter


Brendan leads Buurtzorg Britain & Ireland, a partnership between Public World, an international social enterprise he founded, and Buurtzorg Nederland, the ground-breaking Dutch social enterprise that has revolutionised care at home in the Netherlands.

Buurtzorg Britain & Ireland supports public services and social enterprises to achieve their purposes more effectively and efficiently through self-managed teams in which practitioners are supported to co-create solutions with the people they serve.

It works with NHS, local government and ‘third sector’ organisations interested in supporting their staff to work with greater freedom and responsibility, leading to a happier and more stable workforce.


A professional care worker of 12 years, Karolina is the former CEO of the National Association of Care and Support Workers and the new Executive Director of The Care Workers’ Charity.

The Care Workers Charity exists to create the support structures that people need whilst actively promoting the immense contribution that the UK’s care workers make to our society. The CWC vision is to create a UK where no care worker faces financial hardship alone.

Please submit any questions you have for the panelists by emailing them to [email protected]

This event will have live captions. 

We like to keep our events free, but to celebrate 50 years of the equal pay act all donations for this event will be put towards our Equal Pay Advice Service. This service is for women on low-incomes who need access to legal advice. If you feel you can afford to make a contribution we would be very grateful. More information on our Equal Pay Advice Service can be found here

Booking for this event has now closed.