Today is 'Equal Pay Day', i.e. the day when women officially stop earning due to the pay gap. That's right ladies, you can keep working till the end of the year, but the pay gap means that some of you are basically working for free. It sucks!
Earlier this year, companies with over 250 employees were asked to publish the differences in pay between men and women. The data showed that:
78% pay men more than women13% pay women more8% said they had no gender pay gap
The BBC had one of the biggest gender pay gaps, with Sarah Montague, BBC radio 4's presenter, earning £150,000 compared to her male colleague John Humphrys who earned £600,000-£649,999 last year.
The gender pay gap varies amongst different industries. According to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the average female manager earns £11,606 less each year than a male colleague. They also found that more women are likely to be in junior management roles compared to men, in fact 66% of lower level positions are filled by women.
The Institute of Economic Affairs says that a major contributor to the gender pay gap is motherhood: specifically, women taking time out of work to have children, and often returning into part-time work, which tends to be less well paid.
We can't just turn a blind eye to motherhood and say 'well you're a mother, that was your choice, therefore you will be paid less.' The UK has one of the highest rates of childcare costs, so we need to figure out how to SUPPORT mothers.
Fortunately, Shared Parental Leave has become a common concept in the workplace, however, the AAT’s ( a professional accounting body) Chief HR Officer research shows that take-up of Shared Parental Leave has been very low. She also points to the stigma that surrounds men taking time off work for childcare, and the fact that men are often the main breadwinner, meaning many families feel they can't afford to share parental leave.
The Equal Pay Act came about in 1970 (thanks Jean Winder), and yet 48 years later, women are still being discriminated against. On average, a full-time working woman earns 13.7% less than men.
According to the World Economic Forum
the gender pay gap across the globe won't close until 2186
Writing this actually made me really angry. I first came across the gender pay gap when I was writing my University dissertation about factors that prevent women reaching senior level positions. I remember reading that women earn tens of thousands less than their male colleagues every year. I then googled 'reasons for the gender pay gap' and I couldn't find one logical reason for it. That was a huge turning point for me, and it's actually when I came across the term 'feminist' and wore it with pride.
It's frustrating to know that I am just as educated as my male friends, and to be honest may even work harder than some of them, yet I may be paid tens of thousands less than them.
Not only have I worked super hard to achieve the level of education that I have, but my parents also worked hard to fund my education, and to be honest they should be paid back thousands of it if I'm not going to be given the same opportunities as men.
I haven't experienced the pay gap myself...at least I don't think I have. It's a situation where 'you don't know what you don't know', i.e. because I'm a women and have never experienced working as a man, I'll never know if I have actually experienced the pay gap. As Sam Smethers, chief executive of The Fawcett Society says:
"People do not know their basic rights and do not know what their colleagues earn.”
All I know is that they pay gap HAS to end. It's heartbreaking to know that if I have a daughter, she won't be given the same opportunities as her male friends and family and will be given jobs based on her gender and not her abilities.
Rani & Co. is making a stand with lots of other women throughout the UK, and we're turning on our 'Out of Office' on our emails (we'll still respond to your emails though!)