It's Time To Close The Gender Pay Gap
For many years there has been a gap in the market that has remained a constant, but it is far from a positive area, or indeed one that provides opportunity… We are of course talking about the gender pay gap.
While it has long been an issue boiling under the surface of society, it has only recently started to become widely publicised with many of the biggest corporations being outed as still having substantial gender pay gaps.
You can find our previous comments on the gender pay gap situation here.
Bookmaker Ladbrokes, budget airline Easyjet and Richard Branson’s banking venture Virgin Money were among the major companies to recently reveal gender pay gaps of more than 15%, a pretty staggering figure for the supposedly progressive times we are living in. At Easyjet for instance women's hourly pay rates are 52% lower than men's, while on average, women earn 15% less per hour at Ladbrokes, and 33% less at Virgin Money. Despite this, all three have claimed men and women are paid equally when working the same role...
While it should not have got to the stage of a law being enforced, this new element of transparency with corporations of all sizes is a real breakthrough for the women’s equality movement, but there is still much to be done in closing it for good. As women, and men for that matter, there are a number of steps you can take yourself to ensure the gap closes. Be accountable.
Alter Your Outlook
As Amy Poehler, the American actress once put it “It is never overreacting to ask for what you want and need.” The current reality in the majority of workplaces the world over is that men are more likely to ask for a pay rise than their female counterparts.
The Financial Times’ Money Mentor Columnist Lindsay Cook feels this could be down to the personal situation of each women individually. It might be because they are far too busy doing their job they had before they had children and squeezing five days a week into four. It could also be because their workplace is still male dominated, and they feel they will be victimised or talked down to if they mention being worth more. It might simply be that you have heard from your male counterpart that he is making x amount for doing essentially the same job.
If any of the above describes you or you simply feel undervalued, stop going about your day with your head down and start asking if your contribution is being fully recognised, regardless of the hours you work or the sector you are in. Don’t suffer in silence.
The gender pay gap issue is one which should not just be something women campaign for, men can - and indeed they should - do their part too to ensure their female counterparts receive their deserved salary. This is simply remaining vigilant at all times within your office environment and reporting or challenging any foul play or cases of women being unfairly paid to your superiors, or if they are the perpetrators then above their head to HR or contact the government run helpline. The very fact the government are taking notice and putting a support mechanism in place is a very positive step in the right direction, and it is there to use.
Think Out Your Next Move
Think about how you can help yourself, help other women, or how you can make a change in your situation to better your life. Your current job may not support equal pay, but many other firms do. So you could potentially doing the same role or a similar one but for more/equal pay. Be on the lookout for your next move, be that a career move, or a step in your current workplace to challenge the powers that be and close the gap.
Women’s equality activist and Harry Potter star Emma Watson says that "the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work." This is an extremely sad prospective future. So with other facets of society moving so fast in the right direction and advancing for the better, why would we want a vital part of it to be stuck in the dark ages?
It is a no brainer.
If you want to read more about the gender pay gap in the UK, we can highly recommend that you read Sandi Toksvig's brilliant article "The gender pay gap isn't the half of it: our economy runs on women's unpaid work".
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