In 2015, The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that women were paid 9.4% less than men – shocking! The World Economic Forum also, predicts that it will take until 2133 to achieve global gender parity – only 117 years to go! What worries me is that people don’t look at the number and worry? Imagine if Starbucks announced that women would receive 9.4% less coffee than men, and that they are not sure why, but are looking into it! I think both men and women would be absolutely outraged! The thought of receiving less for your money seems ridiculous doesn’t it? So, why is it accepted for something as important as our livelihoods?
It is clear that the gender gap exists and no one knows why? What can we do as women to close the gap? Let’s explore…
The gap is between intention and action…
I believe there is a real stigma attached to talking about the topic, that women are scared to be seen as ‘feminist,’ ‘trouble makers,’ ‘justice warriors,’ ‘man haters’ and every other term going. I am none of the above, but I am curious, to why women are paid less, that’s all, I am just curious.
If the gender pay gap is not addressed by women nothing will change, and ten years from now, your daughters will probably be faced with the same pay issues. Would you accept it for them? We need to move from intention to action, and that might just be to start believing that you deserve the same as your male counterparts, or asking for flexible working hours. It might just be as simple as asking – starting a conversation about it. It is about challenging when something is not right, and not brushing the issue under the corporate carpet.
Even David Cameron is talking about it…
Prime Minister David Cameron says, ‘You can’t have true opportunity without equality. There is no place for a pay gap in today’s society and we are delivering on our promises to address it.’ His new measures will force large companies to disclose the gap between the pay of male and female workers. Under this new regulation, in 2018, companies with over 250 employees will be forced to reveal the pay gap. I hope this will start a conversation that leads to action, and not about naming and shaming.
As women we are not responsible for the pay gap?
I don’t believe that all businesses intentionally pay women less, but having to disclose the salary gap might force businesses to question, and make more conscious decisions around salary. There are lots of questions around the ‘gender pay gap’ today; do the differences come from different career choices, different working hours and patterns? I don’t know the answers, but I hope the right people will start talking about how we actually close the gender pay gap and not whether it actually exists.
I don’t believe that women are responsible for the pay gap, because they choose to have children or work flexible hours. However, I do believe we have a responsibility to do something about it, to represent ourselves in a way that demands fair treatment. That might not be something that all women are comfortable with, and that is okay too; it is scary sometimes speaking up for what is right. If you are the type of woman that is not scared to speak up or to ask the right questions, then I believe you should, because it is only when it becomes the norm for women to have a voice, will they one day have an equal voice.