Gender pay gap reporting regulations: advancing gender equality policy in tough economic times

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This article sets out to explain why mandatory gender pay gap reporting regulations were introduced in 2016, whereas the two main parties had previously opposed state regulation. Observing the rise in the number of female MPs, it argues that the rise in descriptive representation has enabled substantive representation, but that this does not necessarily explain outcomes. Critical mass is a problematic concept due to difficulties of definition. Rather, the empirical evidence supports the idea that critical actors able to build alliances within the state machinery and beyond it, particularly by working with business influencers, are decisive in exploiting opportunities for change and securing support for it. Feminization of parliament and government also facilitate institutionalization of gender equality actors, although this process remains incomplete and contingent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-140
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Politics
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Critical actors
  • Equality act 2010
  • Equality machinery
  • Gender equality policy
  • Gender pay gap reporting
  • State feminism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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