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Women Adding Value to the Economy (WAVE)

The Women Adding Value to the Economy (WAVE) Programme was funded by the European Social Fund, through the Welsh Government (WG) and key partners: the University of South Wales, The Women's Workshop @ BAWSO and Cardiff University (CU). The first phase of WAVE ran between 2012 and 2015 with the aim of understanding and 'interrupting' the ways in which gender pay disparities are consistently reproduced through occupational segregation in employment and self-employment, through the ways in which 'women's work' is valued and contracted and through the operation of pay systems.

The second phase of WAVE will continue in 2016. In the meantime we are delighted to offer you the opportunity to read our research reports and make use of the Equal Pay Barometer.



The aim of the WAVE project was 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.

The Wave Team at Cardiff University set out to support employers to undertake the analysis and action required by the 'equal pay duty', to ensure its effectiveness and to make lasting impact on gender pay disparities in Wales

Research and Action on Gender Pay Gaps

There is a long and creditable history of actions to address gender pay gaps in Wales. The Close the Pay Gap campaign, run by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Wales TUC and funded by the Welsh Government between 2001 and 2007 worked to raise awareness of gender pay gaps and actions to address them.

Political will, national joint agreements in the public sector and equal pay toolkits have all contributed to awareness of, and commitment to, the principles of equal pay in Wales.

However, evidence shows that the persistence of gendered occupational segregation confounds even best practice gender pay evaluation and audits as they centre on comparing the pay of men and women in the same jobs or similar jobs and grades

Differences in the ways men and women are employed - uneven gender distribution by sector, occupation, grade in workplace hierarchies, contract type (permanent / temporary, fixed term/ casual) and full or part time hours, combine to create gender pay disparities. These gendered patterns of working are known collectively as occupational segregation.

These are some of the reasons that the Welsh Government introduced a specific equality duty to address gender pay disparities. Known as the 'Equal Pay Duty', its purpose is to tackle systemic inequalities one organisation at a time by requiring public sector employers to understand how gender pay gaps arise within their organisations and to take action to address them.

Selected publications

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Gender Employment and Pay Analysis Method (GEPA)

Our learning from the case studies, has informed the production of the Gender Employment and Pay Analysis (GEPA) Method.

The Welsh Government has endorsed the GEPA Method as a mechanism for employers to gather evidence and create action plans to fulfil their statutory requirement to report against the Welsh 'Equal Pay Duty' (Welsh Government, Report of Equalities, 2014).

We are now piloting and testing GEPA with a small group of employers Once the testing is completed, the method will be made available so that all employers can make use of it  to look for gender and employment pay disparities within their own workforce.
Use of GEPA, together with employers' action on the evidence it produces, could realise large-scale impact on gender pay inequalities.

The Equal Pay Barometer

Based on our labour market research, the Equal Pay Barometer (EPB), provides a search mechanism to view the average pay, working patterns and gender composition of occupations in Wales.

This tool will be of use to young people thinking about future jobs and careers, careers advisors, and anyone considering changing job or career to earn more. It also shows the occupations with the largest and smallest gender pay gaps.

The EPB was launched at Arriva Trains Wales, where young women from Treorchy Comprehensive School tried out the Train Driver Simulator.

Lead researcher

Dr Alison Parken

Dr Alison Parken

Honorary Senior Research Fellow


Academic staff

Professor Sin Yi Cheung

Professor Sin Yi Cheung

Professor of Sociology

+44(0) 29 2087 5446
Dr Luke Sloan

Dr Luke Sloan

Reader, Director of Recruitment

+44(0) 29 208 70262

Gender Employment and Pay Network (GEPN)

This network for equalities, human resources, and workforce planning and organisational development professionals has around 40 members representing more than 30 organisations. The network has met quarterly for 2 years to discuss findings from the employer case study research and change management action plans, and participate in an unconscious bias workshop.

The network has also received presentations from representatives of the collaborating case study employers, who discussed why they had participated in equal pay research, what they learned and the change actions they are implementing.

GEPN members are likely to be among the first group of organisations to try the GEPA Method in their own organisations.

WAVE Women in Leadership seminar

Over 100 delegates attended this evening seminar at Cardiff University to hear the latest research on the lack of women in leadership roles. Jointly hosted by CU WAVE, The Women's Workshop @Bawso and Chwarae Teg, the event was opened and addressed by Dame Rosemary Butler, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales.

Professor Michelle Ryan from Exeter University presented her 'the glass cliff' research, Dr Johanne Grosvold from Bath University discussed her research on the links between well-developed welfare provision and increasing women's presence on company boards, and Dr Amanda Kidd, from Cardiff University, highlighted, the importance of embedding gender issues into leadership development programmes.

At the end of the evening, Joy Kent, from Chwarae Teg, and Jane Butcher, from The Women's Workshop at BAWSO (TWW), joined the other speakers for a lively panel debate. The event garnered significant media comment on the issues.