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Women Adding Value to the Economy (WAVE)









An ESF funded project through the Welsh Government

English // Cymraeg

WAVE is a partnership of the University of South Wales, the Women’s Workshop and Cardiff University who have come together to provide an innovative equal pay project.  

The aim of the WAVE project is to understand and ‘interrupt’ the ways in which gender pay inequalities are consistently reproduced through occupational segregation in employment and self employment, through the ways in which ‘women’s work is contracted’ and through the operation of pay systems.  

Whole economy figures on gender pay gaps mask different patterns of inequality in sectors, industries and workplaces. It is at the level of the workplace, in various types of employment where changes can be made, and in turn such improvements could lead to greater equity overall.

To this end, the School of Sciences at Cardiff University will be working directly with a number of employers in the public and private sectors, to analyse their workforce data on pay, occupation, job, grade and employment type (full time/part time).

Following this, new, fairer and more efficient ways of organising work will be tested (for example, finding improvements to the ‘default’ use of low hours part time contracts in caring, cleaning, clerical jobs - jobs traditionally viewed as ‘women’s work). Up to 20 organisations will be able to ‘shadow’ the learning journey so that they learn how to build their own workforce occupation and pay datasets and analyse the findings.

The WAVE team at Cardiff University will also undertake a number of more traditional, ‘like for like’/ equal value employer pay audits, to examine how pay systems can create pay disparities, and provide the underpinning research on occupational segregation for the whole project.

In summary the CU WAVE research activities include:

  • Secondary data analysis of LFS/APS/ASHE data to provide mapping of gender distribution by occupations and pay
  • Employer Case studies: collection and analysis of workforce data to identify occupational and contract segregation, and the contribution of such differences to pay disparities between men and women. Undertaking this research will lead to the development of a new model for examining gender pay gaps within organisations.
  • Gender, Employment & Pay Network (GEPN): A free seminar series for HR professionals to follow our developing knowledge on gender pay gaps and the new model for assessing these from the Employer Case Studies. For more information about the GEPN series, please download our information sheet. To join the network, please fill in this form:
  • Quantitative and qualitative case studies in knowledge economy sectors: IT, Bioscience, ‘green economy’
  • An evaluation study of IT management training to be delivered by The Women’s Workshop (TWW)
  • Qualitative research with women moving into gender atypical occupations, with participants of TWW training.

Partner Activities

The University of South Wales (Centre for Enterprise: Women's Entrepreneurship Hub and Faculty of Business and Society) will focus upon women and self-employment with the aim of tackling the horizontal and vertical segregation in self-employment, which reflects that of the general labour market. Role modelling, networking, clustering and mentoring activities will be developed.  Graduate and postgraduate modules will be provided with the aim of raising awareness and aspirations and of building human capital.  

The Women’s Workshop will aim to address the barriers that impact upon women progressing within male dominated occupations to ensure that women are well placed to fill skill shortages and add value to new economy sectors, for example, within the emerging green technologies sector. A particular focus will be the Business and Information Technology (IT) and Construction/Built Environment Sectors.

The aim of the project as a whole is to value women’s current contribution to the economy, and facilitate their movement into gender atypical work or working patterns, so that they realise better pay and working conditions and add more value to the economy of Wales as a whole.

For further information, please email:

Or visit the WAVE website:


Alison Parken
Teresa Rees Luke Sloan Eva Pocher
Amanda Kidd
Jo-Ann Hall

Further Resources

Project Overview
Equal Pay Quiz
Equal Pay Library
Equal Pay Archive