Saturday, 18 November, 2017

The gender pay gap is largely a myth

Gender pay gap will take 100 years to close, says campaign group Unequal Pay
Juana Turner | 11 November, 2017, 00:57

So says the Fawcett Society campaign group, which has dubbed 10th November "Equal Pay Day" - raising awareness of the date from which women work for free because of the difference in average pay between men and women.

This year, the gender pay gap has been front and centre of everyone's minds, particularly in the wake of the revelation that numerous BBC's woman presenters were paid less than their male colleagues.

I suspect at least part of the explanation also lies in workplace culture.

An earlier equal pay campaign from WEP and Now created a visually arresting outdoor campaign for the Women's Equality Party and Liverpool Metro Mayoral candidate Tabitha Morton.

As a self-employed gardener, Natasha Ransom, 36, from North Thanet, is not office based so she left an "out of office" voicemail on her phone instead after looking up the gender pay gap in her area and finding it sits at 20.9%. "I hope that in a few short years we'll be saying 'how is it possible that women could be paid less for the same work as men?' Are we willing for our daughters to be paid less than our sons?" I also think we're facing into a period where we're going to see misogynistic language in the public sphere around repealing the 8th amendment.

"We have secured a commitment from the BBC to address the cases that NUJ members have brought forward - we are clear that in the course of pursuing these cases, industrially or through litigation, that we will not tolerate inequality and unequal pay".

Fawcett claims it uses the mean to take "into account the fact that more men than women are earning higher wages at the top".

Correct - If there are pay discrepancies that can not be objectively justified, then they must be corrected and the causes addressed to avoid a gap reopening.

"The gender pay issue at the BBC appears to be focussed on a relatively small number of staff in particular roles, " continues Haynes, "but these statistics suggest that many other organisations have a much wider pay gap". That is why we have introduced a legal requirement for all large employers to publish their gender pay and bonus data by April 2018. We need enforcement action against any who don't comply.

"All employers need to take a long hard look at their workplace culture".

Leave for fathers needs to be longer and paid at a higher rate - with a presumption of equal responsibility of caring for children. Across the board, women are nearly twice as likely (1.8 times more likely) to receive the lowest pay - with 221,000 women earning less than the statutory minimum wage, 100,000 more women than men.

Sometimes it feels as if we have a mountain to climb to close the pay gap.

"We are going backwards and that is extremely worrying", Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society chief executive, said in a statement.

The gap now stands at 14.1 per cent, the same as it has been for the past two years, and at this rate could take until 2117 to close.

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