Crisis may seem a little alarmist. Maybe it is, but probably not. The Enlightment taught us that there exists no better way for us to accrue knowledge about the world than the dispassionate, evidence-driven approach of the scientific method and, conversely, no bigger obstacle to progress than ideology and dogma.
Pay transparency is a simple measure, but sometimes simple changes are the most powerful. Once implemented, employers of over 250 workers will have to publish details of the average pay of their male and female employees, meaning for the first time, women will be able to see if they are being paid less than their male colleagues. Women still earn on average just 81p for every male pound and the rate at which the pay gap is closing has slowed under this government. In fact, if we'd continued to make the same progress we were under Labour women working full-time might be over £100 a year better off.
A slogan like "Girls Rule" seems little more than a lie in this context. It implies that women leaders are respected, listened to, and rewarded for their hard work, talent, and intelligence - when that is clearly not the case. Perhaps the slogan "Girls Rule!" was created as a way of hiding the sad reality of gender inequality.
This week I and many others in the Labour Party have joined readers of Grazia magazine to write to the Business Secretary to ask him to implement pay transparency. This measure would see large companies of over 250 employees publish the pay gap between the hourly wages of men and women on an annual basis.
It's not just that there is a 'moral case' for greater diversity in business. Capitalising on women's potential makes economic sense. Having more women on corporate boards has been shown to increase both the share price and the return on equity. It doesn't surprise me that the 2013 list of the world's most valuable brands showed companies with a greater than average proportion of female board members outperforms those with an all-male board. So why are women undervalued across the business spectrum?
We have a lot be proud of when it comes to gender equality and there are many signs that show how much progress has been made. Over two thirds of working age women are in work - more than ever before; nearly 60% of new graduates are now women, along with over 50% of new postgraduates... The workplace was designed by men, for men. The Government is playing its part too by helping to modernise the workplace. However, we still have much more work to do.
We already have a great network of organisations and individuals working to achieve this through educational, vocational and mentoring schemes, but more support is needed - both financial and on the ground. We need more men to get involved too, as these are problems that affect us all. Things won't happen overnight, but I believe that change is possible
The death this week of city intern, Moritz Erhardt, was a tragic and pointless loss of a young man's life. More disturbing still is that his death (reportedly caused by a heart attack) is not an isolated incident. Within the last few years there have been five reported suicides at one city site alone. It's time we started joining up the dots.