Saturday, 24 October 2015

Why are women paid less than men?

Feminism is a controversial word. I personally see it as two spectrums: on a mild and general agreement level to the proactive and full-on feminist. My stance is that feminism is the campaign in equal rights across both genders. Some argue it's too vague, but I think it's the core starting point.

How do you fancy working for free from Wednesday 4th November until the end of the year? Due to the pay gap between men and women, this is the startling fact that even 45 years on from the Equal Pay Act in the UK, women are still paid lower than men.

A few facts that stood out for me from the November Cosmopolitan issue:
  • For every £1 men earn, a female equal earns 80p.
  • 92% of secretaries of woman but only 7% are engineers.
  • The UK is 26 out of 142 countries in the global equality ranking.
  • A quarter of women earn less than the living wage
I studied the suffragette movement at A Level History and it's hard to imagine that even in a 21st century, with all those modern technology and advances, that we're still not able to solve the historic problem of the pay gap.

Prime Minister David Cameron vows to eliminate the pay gap "within a generation". Do I honestly believe that? I don't know. If it's taken 8 years for the pay gap to go from 17.4% to 9.4% in 2015 (due partially to men's wages actually reducing) then will I even see the pay gap closed in my lifetime? The UN predicts it will take another 70 years to close the pay gap worldwide... now 2085.

But these facts do show positive movements. Government initiatives to create jobs for women in STEM roles (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) have increased in funding and opportunities. As well as that, companies with more than 250 employees are obliged to publish the average pay of male and female employees over the next few months.

Personally, I think it is also a change of attitudes which also needs to be addressed. Perhaps the reason why there are more female receptionists and childcare assistants than male is because others believe the job to be too feminine and soft for men? And vice versa for a career in mechanics or computing.

What's your opinion on the pay gap? Do you believe we'll see it eradicated in our lifetime?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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