How do we fix the CEO gender pay gap? Watch the STRICTLY BUSINESS debate on how even women right at the top still get paid less

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What can we do about a gap that starts right at the top? Ruth Sunderland and Alex Brammer discuss this issue.

At all levels of our careers, from the very top of the corporate ladder, women are paid less than men. writes Ruth Sunderland.

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Jane Fraser, the British-born chief executive of Citibank known as the First Lady of Wall Street, made the news after she received a 9 per cent pay rise to more than £20 million last year.

A huge catch by any estimate, but still less than her male equivalents.

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David Solomons, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, made £21 million. James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, took home £26m. Brian Moynihan of Bank of America made £25m and Jamie Dimon, longtime boss of JP Morgan Chase, made a cool £29m.

Very few people could sympathize with a woman who made £20 million a year. (I’ve carefully avoided the word “earned” here, as it’s hard to imagine anyone actually earning rewards on such a colossal scale.)

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However, if shareholders are going to pay men ridiculous amounts to run banks, they should do the same for women.

It would, of course, be much wiser if salaries and bonuses were reduced for all genders to a more reasonable level, but this will never happen.

The same applies to sports, where women earn less than men.

Winning Lionesses are in a much lower position than male soccer players. The average salary in the Women’s Super League is £50,000 – that’s a year, not a week – which is unlikely to keep men at Ferrari.

From a financial standpoint, being a WAG makes more sense than being a world-class athlete in its own right, which is depressing.

It’s all pretty rare, but it does affect ordinary women, who typically earn nearly 15 percent less per year than men.

This is the equivalent of working for free for almost two months a year. And the injustice does not end even in retirement, because a lower salary means a lower pension.

Explanations are familiar.

Women are kept at work by caring for children and other relatives. Childcare is expensive and sometimes unreliable. Female co-workers are less self-confident. There are many anecdotal evidence that we underestimate our abilities and do not seek promotion.

There is another explanation: antediluvian installations.

While outright sexism is much less common these days, most women can tell stories of unconscious discrimination at work.

A recent thread on Mumsnet was full of angry female executives talking about being mistaken for PA, sent to run errands for men and similar humiliations.

Many women may not even realize that they are being paid much less than their male counterparts or even the men who report to them.

Much more transparency is needed.

When the BBC unveiled the awards for its top stars, the differences were shocking.

But women don’t know if they are being paid fairly compared to men, whether in the same company or other firms in their industry.

We should have the right to see anonymous payroll data at our level in the corporate hierarchy so we can see for ourselves if we are being scammed.

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