Gender pay gap? Yes, yes. It’s a thing.

Look, we all know we’ve come almost a million miles in gaining equality for women in the past century. That’s indisputable. So, let’s celebrate that for a moment – WOO! Okay, moment over. Now, let’s face the fact that there is still inequality, lots of it. Now, I have to make a disclaimer – I am focusing on Western countries and using British statistics, so by no means am I claiming this is accurate for the whole world. Let’s face it, Eastern culture has even less equality (sorry).

So let me hit you with some F.A.C.T.S (Fucking Awful, Crazy, Terrifying Statistics). The average gender pay gap in 2017 between employees of all ages in all full time occupations was 14.1%. (I should probably state now that all the statistics I provide are averages found in government research.) Culture, media and sports occupations face an average pay gap of 35.9%. This should come as no surprise if you saw the leaked pay of BBC employees. Now, some people argue that it’s a different argument for the BBC because popularity and fame has to play a certain role in the salaries, which to some extent I agree with. However, let’s take BBC news readers as an example, no offence to them but I wouldn’t say people get excessively excited when a specific reporter is on the 10 o’clock news. The 3 top paid news readers are male, earning from £400,000 to Jeremy Vine’s higher band of £749,999. The first woman comes into the table at number 5, which seems good, and it’s Fiona Bruce earning between £350,000 and £399,999. Fair play to her, you go girl. But then the rest of the female news readers are capped at £200,000 to £249,999 with Victoria Derbyshire being the next highest paid female after Fiona, in 12th place. Now, I may be mistaken but I don’t think gender plays any role in how the news is presented, and yet almost all the female news readers are in the bottom bracket of the salary. To use another example, let’s look at Clare Balding. We all know Clare Balding and frankly if you don’t you must live under a rock. Clare Balding is the 96th highest paid BBC star. I’m sorry but I think Clare Balding is pretty popular, she’s pretty well-known; so if the BBC have to also take popular demand into account, I’d expect Clare to be a little higher on the list…

On a different note, let’s look at the difference in pay gaps in various age ranges. It didn’t surprise me at all to learn that the younger generations have smaller pay gaps, for example ages 18-21 have an average of 6.7%. I think this is because the opportunities for promotions, pay rises and everything else haven’t yet come to workers at this age, so at the base of it the genders start equally. It’s only when women go on maternity leave, when they fail to get or even apply for the promotions which men will inevitably get, that the pay gap widens. The pay gap in workers of 60+ is 18.4%. Now, we cannot deny that this gap is a result of previous inequality and that, sadly, many women of that generation may be so used to being paid less than men that there is less argument against it from them. Let’s break it down even further and focus on specific jobs. In health care professionals aged 60+ the pay gap is 45%. This is shocking as, for most people, these are their last years of work when they are trying their hardest to earn whatever they can to better their pensions. So, the female health care professionals are being practically robbed of a better pension, based quite frankly purely on their gender. I can’t tell you what the pay gap is for health care professionals aged 18-21 as it is not available for whatever reason, but the pay gap in ages 22-29 in this field is 13.9% which is vastly smaller than that of the older workers. Are organisations taking advantage of the fact that older generations are more accustomed to the pay gap? Are they using historical cultures to save money cunningly? As a whole, the health sector pay gap is 27.9%, one of the highest of them all. And yet, this is, for the most part, a public sector and the average pay gap in the public sector is 14.3% compared to 17.1% in the private sector. Why is this relevant, you ask? It’s relevant because there are far too many people looking at statistics individually and not combining them to find where certain fields of work are really abusing the pay gap. You might look at the pay gap among sectors and think, rightly so, that private sectors are more guilty of unequal salaries. But that doesn’t mean that the public sectors don’t have worse pay gaps in certain fields of work.

Is this making sense? I’m writing this and confusing my own brain a little bit so I don’t blame you if you’re baffled. I know I’ve simplified this a lot but that’s because you’d be reading an entire dissertation if I put it all into one post. It’s a very complicated thing, the gender pay gap, because in some cases it can be purely coincidence that a woman is paid less than a man for a similar job, dependent on circumstances and whatnot. However, when a man and a woman do exactly the same job, there can be no excuse for paying the woman distinctly less than the man. But alas, as much as some may deny it, certain companies still do this despite the laws in place and their moral compasses (which I have come to the conclusion that they must lack because how can you have one if you think women deserve less than men for the same job purely because they have a vagina between their legsSorry, I’m getting emotional about it, blame my hysterical womb! You see, I’m giving you all these numbers because I know people prefer facts and figures to opinions and emotions. So, take this cold, hard evidence and I will not place my emotions on top of it. But believe me I’m emotional about it. It is ridiculous. Sorry, emotionally unstable woman speaking, I know we’re only here to be looked at, not heard. I know our opinions aren’t as valid as men’s, I know, I know. What? Am I being outdated? Well, since we’re still living in an outdated world when it comes to gender pay, why not play the role?

One thought on “Gender pay gap? Yes, yes. It’s a thing.

  1. Hi Loveday,
    The reason I am writing this is as I disagree with the general conclusion your text has. I have left my name anonymous as i would prefer not to be seen to anyone, although i read your posts i don’t know you well enough to feel comfortable leaving my name.
    To summarise my view: The figures suggest in aggregate that there is a gender wage gap and that more specifically women earn around 80% of what men make. However, i disagree with you on the fact that women are being discriminated against. Here are a few reasons to why women are on average getting paid less.
    1. The calculation that everyone has heard is that women earn ~77% of what men make. However, this statistic is not well explained. This is calculated from taking total hours worked and multiplying by wage and comparing it to men. The reason this is not useful is that women and men work different hours and different types of jobs. Men tend to prefer STEM subjects 85-90% of the workforce ( and have a large proportion of degrees in STEM) are males. In addition, women tend to prefer social work which often get paid less (https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm In america 82% of social workers are women). Furthermore, Men work more hours than women which also will cause a pay gap. (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article86173192.html)
    2. Women simply take more time off after having a child. In Britain 70% of women reduce their working hours after having a baby, whereas, Fathers only 11%. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpE8ttCEd-w) This of course means men are more likely to gain a pay rise than women who work fewer hours after their child. The reason that more women take time off seems obvious: too look after their children. I would argue that women take the burden of the children more than men simply because women tend to be more empathetic and caring then men and they would prefer it, not because society “forces” them to. Aside: Women taking time of work to raise their kids is a wonderful thing.
    3. Men often take riskier jobs than women and are thus re compensated more. This is because men tend to be more suited for the work being on average stronger and on average less risk averse than women. For example, construction or firefighters work, there is of course a high chance of injury through accident.
    In conclusion: Women earn less than Men. Women earn less than men due to the reasons i have listed above and not because they are discriminated against.
    Anonymous

    Like

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