IN THE UK WE’VE ALLOWED OURSELVES TO PASSIVELY-ACCEPTED THAT IT’S FINE FOR WOMEN TO BE PAID LESS THEN MEN. IMI BYERS FINDS OUT THE REAL PROBLEMS OF WOMEN’S PAY GAPS.
Kate Winslet recently stated that public conversations regarding the gender pay gap are “a bit vulgar” and may cause many women to call out a cry of concern. But if we don’t talk about it, there will be no action- and no offence to you Kate Winslet, but I don’t think your earnings are typical of the average working woman. Apart from the need for women to speak about their pay gap with men, we need to see tackle the problems women face everyday in the workplace.
The 9th of November 2015 marks the day where technically, woman are no longer being payed for the rest of the working year in comparison to men (14.2% difference). Women’s pay gap is still active here in the UK despite the Equality Act, which stated 5 years ago that there should be no differences in pay due to race, gender, and disability discrimination. In 2013, the average full-time working-woman was still being payed £5000 less than a man in the same job even if she was more qualified, which indicates just how slow this shift towards real gender equality actually is.
In order for a woman to change their wages to determine equality with a men, they must first find out how much less they are being payed (this alone can be a tricky task to carry out as many employees are secretive about their pay) and then either demand a pay rise from their boss – which can be a daunting process- or take out a £1200 tribunal against their employees that wont actually ensure a change in results. It doesn’t sound easy does it, and that’s the problem.
In retrospect, trying to combat women’s pay gaps is like single handedly fighting a loosing battle. And, in addition to this there is no doubt that sexism is still alive and breathing in the workplace.
Unfortunately in male dominated work environments, many women are presumed to have lower skill and competence. Yes, on one hand this is the social effect caused by a once aggressively patriarchal-society, but on the other the fact that we’ve moved on from Suffragettes and women not being allowed to vote, and still aren’t paid the same in an ‘equal’ society is worrying.
Examples of casual sexism in the work place can go from being mistaken as a secretary/ tea-lady, to being subjected to the wandering hands and flirtatious behaviour from male co-workers (I am not saying that this also doesn’t happen to men as well, but there have been more reported incidences of sexual harassment in the workplace on women). Either way, there is no question that in many circumstances woman are treated differently to men, and are even exploited by some companies (tampon tax anyone?).
The original assumption that woman don’t have the same ambition and determination in the workplace as men, and that we should be more focused on domiciliary tasks like cleaning and cooking is now just simply outdated. It isn’t uncommon for women to be rejected from certain job opportunities and promotions due to the dreaded ‘ maternity risk’. Heaven forbid our womanly ways in the fact that we are able to have babies and have the potential to leave a company mid-crisis bearing child with a supposed guaranteed return. Times are changing nowadays and surprise surprise, not all women even want to have children, and would actually rather work their way up the career ladder instead – and our companies need to understand this.
It has to be acknowledged however, how much has changed over all in our society- with powerful woman now running and working at high-ranks in some of the most renowned companies in the world. For example, the CEO of mega companies PepsiCo and Yahoo are female, and have a powerful influence in a male-dominated environment.
Although this encourages us women that change is happening, it is thought that it will take up to 70 years for the pay-wage gap to fully be removed, which in any aspect, is far too long. Earlier this year, 250 major companies were complied to publish the data on how they pay men and women due to the Equality Legislation Act 2010. And, it was revealed that Britain has the 6th-worse gender pay-gap difference in the European Union. Something needs to change, and fast.
Edited by Natalie Whitmore