Marie Stopes International reports 45 percent gender pay gap

Marie Stopes House was Britain's first family planning clinic after moving from its initial location in Holloway to this building near Tottenham Court Road in 1925. Photo by: Kim Traynor / CC BY-SA

LONDON — Marie Stopes International, the family planning organization, has reported a gender pay gap of 45.2 percent among its staff in the United Kingdom.

The figure, based on mean hourly rates of pay, shows that female employees in the U.K. earn just 55 pence for every 1 British pound ($0.77 for every $1.41) earned by male employees. That is despite women making up the majority of MSI’s U.K. workforce, including at the senior leadership level.

Women’s mean bonus pay is also 74.5 percent lower than men’s.

The numbers were reported under new regulations in the United Kingdom, which require organizations with more than 250 employees to publish anonymized data on the difference in average earnings between men and women in a drive to clamp down on the gender pay gap.

The size of the difference at MSI is the highest among aid organizations to report so far, with its overall gap of 45.2 percent comparing to the U.K. national average of 17.4 percent.

However, the difference is starkest among its staff working on abortion services at clinics in the U.K., where the gender pay gap rises to 58.9 percent. In its report, MSI attributes this in part to the fact that more women are employed in nursing roles, while more men are employed in higher-paid clinical roles such as surgery, which it says reflects a sector-wide trend in health care.

By contrast, for MSI’s U.K.-based staff working on its global development programming, the gender pay gap is just 7.7 percent. It says this is driven by a higher proportion of men at more senior levels, even though women still make up a majority of its leadership and executive teams. Women in the Global Support Office also receive an average of 51.9 percent less in bonus pay.

In a statement provided to Devex, MSI’s Vice President for Human Resources Caroline James Nock said: “We welcome the government’s action on this issue, and we are fully committed to eliminating any barriers or biases within our organization that deny opportunities to women, or to any other group. It is positive that women make up two-thirds of our senior leadership roles, but these figures are a clear challenge to do more …”

“Our ambition is to close the gender pay gap of 7.7 percent in our Global Support Office, and we are already exploring ways to do that. The gender pay gap within U.K. clinical roles will require coordinated and longer term thinking across the health care sector. We are committed to playing an active role in that, alongside professional bodies and government departments who share our commitment to addressing this challenge.”

Organizations have until April 4 to publish their gender pay gap data in line with the new regulations. With two days to go, many aid groups are yet to report their figures.

MSI is one of the world’s largest family planning nonprofits. It provides private and government-funded abortion services in the U.K., where it is headquartered, but also works in 37 developing countries, offering contraception and reproductive health services to women and girls.

It employs 195 people at its Global Support Office in London who are focused on providing strategic and technical support to MSI programs in developing countries. Two-thirds of these staff are women.

About the author

  • Jessica abrahams

    Jessica Abrahams

    Jessica Abrahams is Devex's Associate Editor for Europe. Based in London, she was previously an editor at Prospect magazine and has written for publications including the Guardian, the Telegraph, Bloomberg News, and Germany's taz.die tageszeitung with a focus on global women's rights and social affairs. She holds graduate degrees in journalism from City University London and in international relations from Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals.