Minister for Women and Equality Nicky Morgan has suggested that women should boycott companies that have a considerable gender pay gap. The Conservative MP made the comments as she announced that companies with poor gender pay differences will be named and shamed by 2018.

In two years, the member for Loughborough will begin to expose businesses for failing to tackle inequality or trying to mask it by using bonus payments. The new initiative will give companies with more than 250 staff until April 2017 to assess average salaries and then publish the information in one year.

Prime Minister David Cameron said last year that he wanted to quash the gender pay gap "within a generation" when he promised to publish the league tables. The government says it is going further than the prime minister's pledge by forcing companies to publish how many women and men are in each pay range.

Another government stipulation is that they must now disclose how many women are in the top and bottom quarters in terms of all forms of income. The new rules are designed to catch companies that may use bonus payments to obscure differential pay between the sexes.

Morgan will implore "women across Britain to use their position as employees and consumers to demand more from businesses, ensuring their talents are given the recognition and reward they deserve". The UK gender pay gap, the difference in average salaries paid to all men and women in the UK, was 19.2% in 2015. And Morgan also announced a drive to get thousands more girls into careers where the gender pay gap is deemed too big.

Morgan added: "In recent years we've seen the best employers make ground breaking strides in tackling gender inequality. But the job won't be complete until we see the talents of women and men recognised equally and fairly in every workplace."

But Kate Green, Labour's Shadow Minister for Women and Equality, said ministers should introduce the plans immediately. She said according to The Sun: "At this rate it will be another 47 years until the gap is closed, so we haven't a moment to lose. 2018 is far too long for women to wait when the UK gender pay gap remains well above the EU average."