“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." Emma Watson (HeForShe Campaign, 2014)
We have undoubtedly come a long way, with an increasing number of women moving into traditionally male-dominated industries in ways our grandmothers could only ever dream of. But despite the huge advancements, the average difference in pay between men and women remains a staggering 18%. In this this day and age, this statistic is ludicrous and something’s gotta give.
In the UK, Equal Pay Day marks the day after which women are effectively working for free - this year, our last work day relative to men was on November 10th. Does this mean we can all boycott going to work and spend 51 days sipping mimosas? Sadly not, but we certainly think we deserve a hefty compensation!
Proof that the gender pay gap is real: show us the numbers
We’ve now established that we still have an embarrassing amount of work left to do before we eradicate gender inequality. If you still need proof that we’re miles behind men in our earnings, here are some stats: according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ research, women, on average, earn 18% less than men, with the gender pay gap being particularly harsh to mothers, growing to a whopping 33%.
If you live in the UK, the pay gap prognosis is particularly bleak. According to a new report by glassdoor, Britain has one of the worst records of gender equality in the workforce. The UK ranks 11th out of 18 countries in the league table, lagging behind the US, France and Spain. Not quite what we’d hope for a progressive society.
On speaking up and challenging the status quo
“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it!" - Roseanne Barr.
This week, we asked our friend Jess Rose Morley from the Vestpod community to contribute to our newsletter with some genuinely inspiring and practical tips on female empowerment in the workplace. Jess rightly states that we should all be speaking up and that the status quo is not okay. “Ultimately, it is about time that we realise that we are not Ariel, the little mermaid. We did not sign away our voices to an evil sea witch in order to be able to walk on land,” she argues. Let’s go and reclaim that power.
On why a woman’s place is in the house...and the senate
The disparaging stereotypes about a woman’s “place” in society are most certainly not new. Both men and women’s roles were prominently divided and sharply defined in the 19th century, the two genders inhabiting what the Victorians called the “separate spheres” - women occupied the domestic sphere whilst men dominated the public sphere, taking prominent positions in everything ranging from politics and academia to manual labour. It wasn’t until 1975 that the Sex Discrimination Act came into force - protecting men and women from discrimination on the grounds of gender.
The progress women have made since has been nothing short of impressive, which makes it all the more disappointing that we are still not where we should be in terms of equal pay.
What’s good for women is good for business
At the end of the day, closing the gender pay gap isn’t just about women’s rights. Research has consistently shown that diversity in the workplace has a positive effect on a business’ ability to deliver better financial results and new processes, leading to increased productivity and creativity.
“A Britain that works for everyone,” Theresa May emphasised her objective for the country in her first speech as British Prime Minister. We are keeping our eyes peeled on a new set of regulations that will come into force in 2017, requiring larger companies to publish their gender pay gap statistics. The data will be made public in 2018. Here’s to hoping that with the help of similar initiatives, we won’t have to wait until ‘better luck next time’ or an entire 170 years to finally see the day of the gender pay gap come to an end.
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