Larger employers will have to publish the amount men and women are awarded in bonuses as part of proposed legislation to reduce the gender pay gap.
The planned regulations will apply to businesses in England, Wales and Scotland with more than 250 employees.
The public sector will have to publish gender pay datum in accordance with employers in the private and voluntary sectors who already have to do so.
Latest figures show overall women in the UK earn 19% less than men.
The government also wants to see women working in the boards of all the UK’s top 350 companies.
‘Appal us all’
In July, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to end the gender pay gap within a generation.
He has said the situation is “a standing admonition to our country”.
Up to the age of 40 there is very little difference between the earnings of men and women.
But beyond that age, when more girls are likely to have taken time out to raise families and run part-time, there is a significant gap.
Women and equalities pastor Nicky Morgan said: “From the opportunities females are given in school to the ability to move up the executive pipeline, we are determined to tackle the barriers to women achieving their all.
“Business has attained huge amounts of moving forward already in recent years – the gender pay gap is the lowest since records began.
“But it should appal us all that, 100 years on from the suffragette motion, we still don’t have gender equality in every aspect of our society.”
Chartered Management Institute chief executive Ann Francke said the bonus gap was “one of the biggest drivers of gender pay discrepancy, especially at senior levels”.
CBI director for employment and skills Neil Carberry said eradicating the gender pay gap was an important goal but reporting is necessary “relevant to each company rather than a box-ticking exercise”.
The TUC said the measures should be introduced immediately, include medium-sized businesses and feature fines for non-compliance.
General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Publishing informed on gender pay gaps in salaries and bonuses is a start. But it is just that, a start. Employers need to look at why women are still being paid less than men and do something meaningful about it.”
Labour called for “action not words” on gender pay equality.
Shadow women and equalities pastor Kate Green said: “The gender pay gap is still virtually 20% above the European average.
“Working moms will bear 70% of the cuts in tax credits thanks to Tory policies, while the introduction of tribunal fees has led to a shocking reduction in the number of pregnancy and sex discrimination suits going to tribunal.
“British women don’t need warm words – we need guaranteed rights at work, properly enforced. It’s not enough to talk about equality, it must run through every piece of legislation.”
Read more: www.bbc.com