If there were a general election tomorrow the gender pay gap would be a crucial factor in voting intention, especially for women voters. For the past two general elections, undecided women voters amounted to around 4-5 million votes.

The gender pay gap is closing at a glacial pace. We know that key drivers of the gender pay gap include pay discrimination, a failure by employers to promote women, women being overrepresented in low-wage sectors (occupational segregation), the burden of caring responsibilities largely falling on women, and a lack of flexible work and affordable childcare.

The government urgently needs to address these issues.

In our commissioned poll for Equal Pay Day 2022 Fawcett discovered which policies addressing the gender pay gap would win 'red wall' votes. These marginal seats which were Conservative gains from Labour in the 2019 general election, will be crucial in deciding the result of the next general election. With women comprising more than half the electorate, and more likely to be undecided than men their votes will be equally swaying. 


Our findings 

  • 84% of women in red wall constituencies say that taking action on the gender pay gap is important to them when deciding which party to vote for in a general election.
  • 36% of women in red wall constituencies would like to work more (paid) hours than they currently do but are being prevented by reasons including a lack of flexible work (33%), their caring responsibilities (23%)and affordable childcare (23%)


  • Three quarters (75%) of red wall constituents said that affordable childcare is important to them when deciding which party to vote for. 
  • Over two thirds (71%) of red wall women said that gender pay gap action plans and 'Right to Know' policies for equal work done by males would make them more likely to vote for a party. 
  • Over two thirds (70%) of red wall women said their vote would be swayed by a mandatory requirement for employers to include flexible working options in job adverts 
  • Over two thirds (68%) would be more likely to vote for a party with a policy of mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. and the same number would be more likely to vote for a party that stopped questions about salary history during recruitment. 

Each of these policies were supported by the majority of Conservative and Labour voters.

Evidence above clearly points to the significance for all political parties need to commit to policies which reflect women’s priorities if they want to stand a chance at the next election - women are equally as likely to vote as men and form a greater proportion of the electorate.

We are calling on the Government to:

  • Reform the childcare system to increase affordability whilst ensuring our children get the best start in life
  • Requiring employers to publish action plans to tackle their pay gaps, so that real action is taken to reduce pay inequality with accountability and transparency
  • Ban questions about salary history during recruitment and require salary bands to be displayed on job advertisements putting power in women’s hands to challenge unfair pay and pressure on employers to act.
  • Introduce a free standing and legally enforceable ‘Right to Know’ what a male colleague is paid for equal work tackling pay discrimination
  • Require employers to offer flexible work arrangements as default and advertise jobs with flexibility built-in, this would give parents and those with other caring responsibilities more choice about how to balance their working lives.
  • Introducing mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for employers- crucial to understanding racialised discrepancies in pay and taking action to tackle them. 

For more of Fawcett's current work on pay inequality:

Equal Pay

Equal Pay day 2022: Women's Missing Money

End Salary History

Broken Ladders: The Myth of Meritocracy for Women of Colour in the Workplace

Gender Pay Gap Reporting: A comparative analysis


Your voice has power!

Sign up to be a member of Fawcett, stand in solidarity with the feminist community and join our campaign for change