gender gapBy making companies publicly air their salary information, Britain intends to force a reckoning. Officials in London hope the embarrassing revelations in the reports … will shame companies into doing more to close the divide.

The push is one of a growing number of efforts among countries to promote the principle of equal pay. Australia recently mandated gender pay gap reporting for most companies. In Germany, a new law will require businesses with more than 500 employees to reveal their pay gaps. Nordic countries like Iceland have been even more aggressive, by making companies prove they are paying male and female staff equally.

Proponents of the British effort argue that the increased transparency will lead to smaller gaps … Even without stricter enforcement, the government is betting that the mere publication of pay data will shame companies into taking action, and provide employees with ammunition to press for greater pay equality.

Liz Alderman/New York Times

The gender pay gap is a fact that, sad to say, to a non-negligible extent is the result of discrimination. And even though many women are not deliberately discriminated against, but rather self-select into lower-wage jobs, this in no way magically explains away the discrimination gap. As decades of socialization​ research has shown, women may be ‘structural’ victims of impersonal social mechanisms that in different ways aggrieve them.

Wage discrimination is unacceptable.

Wage discrimination​ is a shame.