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Gender Pay Gap

(54 Posts)
Gracesgran Sat 27-Aug-16 13:41:43

I couldn't find a thread about this even though the Equalities Select Committee released their report in March and according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies women on average now earn 18 per cent less than men.

My reaction is not to be outraged - I probably would be but I don't think that has made any difference so far, but to wonder just what can be done now. The Ford's Dagenham machinists strike for equal pay for work of equal value was in 1968(!) and we have achieved this in many cases but obviously not overall.

I was prompted to ask your opinion because of the strap-line in an article in The New Statesman by Helen Lewis (sorry I can't find a link, perhaps someone else can). This says "Getting women to enter male fields won't close the gender pay gap - those jobs just lose their prestige." I felt this had a ring of truth and wondered what others think.

It does seem to be a mainly motherhood gap and I wonder too what can be done about that.

granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 14:28:20

"Getting women to enter male fields won't close the gender pay gap - those jobs just lose their prestige."

I find this statement outrageous and appalling. Would you care to perhaps explain a bit more how you feel this has 'a ring of truth' in it, please.

Do you mean that when women become Consultants instead of GPs- the position of Consultants loses prestige?

Or when women become Inspectors in the police- or Heads of Schools, or full Partners in their firm or business.

Elegran Sat 27-Aug-16 14:40:46

Do you feel that the job you do/did is devalued because you do it and not a man, Gracesgran ? Surely you don't have such a low opinion of yourself?

Unless you are really Graces grandad - disguised as a granny - and have a low opinion of women?

granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 16:08:18

many women choose not to be mothers- and many mothers choose to organise themselves- often as a couple- so that both can continue a career- some to the top level. But I agree society should support them more in achieving this.

How can it lose the prestige of a profession when women become top Consultants rather than secretaries, cleaners or nurses?
Did Marie Curie lose the prestige of medical research and medicine?

gettingonabit Sat 27-Aug-16 16:24:15

granjura what do you mean by "society should help them more in doing this*?.

Surely having children is a choice around which compromises are made?

I'm not sure if the op is talking about Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value, or the Gender Pay Gap, which are similar issues affecting women negatively, but not quite the same.

As to work "losing prestige"....confused.

Gracesgran Sat 27-Aug-16 16:26:35

I shall leave you to your tempers. I made a comment; I did not declare war. Try the "open mind" treatment of wondering if the statement in an article (which I did not write) may contain some truth ... or not. If you think it cannot be true how about saying why instead of attacking me.

Gracesgran Sat 27-Aug-16 16:29:16

That was a reply to Elegran Sat 27-Aug-16 14:40:46 and Granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 14:28:20

sarahc446655 Sat 27-Aug-16 16:39:51

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

thatbags Sat 27-Aug-16 16:50:45

I read an article this week that said that when you take into account the amount of time worked, experience, maternity leave and so on, there is no gender pay gap. Women who have the same qualifications and experience as their male counterparts get paid the same for the same work. That figures when you consider that it's against the law to pay women less than men for the same work.

Biology and tradition still mean that women who have children usually take some time out of the job market (even if it's only minimal maternity leave) whereas men don't. Many women with children also work part-time. Both these things make a difference, especially to experience and amount of time worked. I think some Scandinavian countries are trying to get men to take a similar amount of time out for their children but it's still a fairly new venture so I doubt if any real conclusion can be drawn from it yet.

Elegran Sat 27-Aug-16 17:19:40

sarahc446655 You are not really invoking the Nazi comparison surely, because someone doesn't agree that a JOB loses its prestige because women enter a male field to do it? So if a woman enters the legal profession, the job of a lawyer, solicitor, attorney then loses its prestige and becomes - what? - something for unqualified amateurs to do?

A job which requires specialised training and experience still requires spoecialised training and experience whoever does it. The standard of entry is the same, the experience gained by the practictioners in X years of doing it is still the same. If those practitioners take some years out to concentrate on bringing up children, (or to do anything else which is outside their profession - write a book? travel the world? compete in the Olympics?) then whether they are men or women they have lost the experience of those years.

The job itself still has the same prestige, it is the seniority that an individual has acquired in doing the job that may vary - and they don't have to be female for that. You don't get seniority by not being there.

nigglynellie Sat 27-Aug-16 17:35:23

How on earth can a profession lose prestige when the top consultant, Prime Minister(?!!!) or anyone else for that matter happens to be a woman? Presumably these women have the same qualifications as a man, so how can the job they're doing carry less prestige than if a man were doing the exactly the same work? Simply doesn't make any sense!!confused

Elegran Sat 27-Aug-16 17:45:14

Even lowly jobs have the same level of prestige (or lack of it) whether men or women are doing them - it may be low, but it is the same. It is illegal in this country to differentiate. The pay should be the same for the same work.

If the individual woman has a lower prestige (or a lower position in the firm) when she returns after an absence from a job than a man who has been doing it while she wasn't there - then that is her not the job itself.

granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 18:32:10

sarah- you nazzi comment is truly beyond the pail and distasteful.

Gracesgran- no-one has lost their temper, and no-one has attacked you. But several of us have found your comment baffling and appalling in its concept.

I do find it very strange that several members here are beginning to post threads which are clearly controversial and will attract passionate comments- and then throw hands up in the air when people dare disagree. I am pretty sure that you are not naïve enough to not have realised your post and quote would not lead to strong comments.

I do question your motivation here.

Gettingonabit- yes, having children is a personal choice- made by a couple, not ba a woman on her own (well generally) - children are required to keep a society going, to become tay payers and contributors- pay our pensions even. So yes, society can help- in providing more childcare facilities, good family support as well as family/child allowances, planning the school day and structure to best support families (not just women), and employers can also give better support for women after childbirth, more flexibility, creches, etc.

Some countries, eg Skandinavian countries, and France too- are much better organised to help with this. Switzerland has been far behind with this- but my own area heavily subsidises childcare and also provides before and after school facilites and school lunches (almost unheard of before in Switzerland).

Lots of ways society can help. Perhaps the help of older women like us would be useful too.

granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 18:35:52

You asked for opinions- and you asked what society can do about it. So why complain when people respond?

I felt this had a ring of truth and wondered what others think.

granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 18:49:10

thatbags, I'd be really interested to read that article- do you have a link please? It totally disagrees with other articles and research I've seen.

Although different salaries for the same job is illegal, employers find 100 and more ways to circumvent this, adding 'supervisor' to tile, or similar. And in managerial posts in businesses and professions, salaries can vary hugely without having to justify it either.

obieone Sat 27-Aug-16 19:08:44

I thought I read, way back when, that teaching has somewhat lost it's appeal to men because it is now seen as a woman's job, particularly primary teaching?
And also that the job of a GP is now too? I could be wrong.

granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 19:35:35

And ...?

Yes, when I started teaching. it was well known that any man in a primary school, especially if he could play the guitar, the piano or football, cricket or rugby- would automatically become a Head within 10 years.

So yes, they do have more effective competition now.

gettingonabit Sat 27-Aug-16 19:41:13

obeone I remember when I started teaching back in the late 70's that it was regarded as "the women's profession". Not quite sure why-perhaps something to do with the fact that women tended not to enter "professions" such as law, accountancy etc in those days.

Yes, it's true about primary teaching not employing so many men. It's not the case so much here in Wales; however. I think it's a great shame that there aren't more men, but there you go.

granjura Scandinavian countries pay more taxes than we do, so childcare is more affordable. I think it may be the case in other European countries too. Support, especially via the State, costs.

It's hit and miss in the UK; I gave up my hard-won career when I had dd as did many others. It was my choice, but I found it impossible to get back onto the "ladder". Those with family support fare much better, obviously. I count myself lucky that I was able to avoid a full-on job for a while. Others may prefer to take some time out but don't feel able to. Caring is not valued.

I think the most worrying issue is not about lack of women in senior posts but that of women carrying out responsible work, such as caring, which is undervalued, and will remain undervalued whilst it's regarded as "women's work".

Granny23 Sat 27-Aug-16 19:58:50

I agree with obieone and Gracesgran having heard similar comments about female ministers and plenty about female undertakers! It seems that many people - in my experience mostly women - feel that there is less gravitas, dignity and respect when women perform these roles. My DD is an Independent Celebrant and has occasionally had a ceremony cancellation when the bereaved family have realised that she is female and requested a male celebrant instead.

Obviously I find this bizarre and insulting to female professionals - I am merely reporting that such attitudes persist.

50 years ago I was the senior clerkess in a Branch of one of the big banks when a woman came in and asked to see the Manager. I explained that he was out on business but perhaps I could assist? She looked at me as if I was mad and said 'I would rather speak to the man'. I looked all around for a 'man' and suddenly realised that she was indicating our new apprentice, a gangly, shy youth who had gone bright red on hearing the customer's request. I hastily explained that he had only been with us for a few weeks and made an appointment with the Manager for her the next day. The customer only wanted to open a savings account for her new Grandson......

That was 50 years ago but I am afraid that this attitude still persists. I know a female Bank Manager who has said that she has often been asked by customers if there is 'someone more senior' that they could discuss their business with. She knows that what they really mean is A MAN.

granjura Sat 27-Aug-16 20:00:30

According to the Fawcett Society, 9 November marked Equal Pay Day – the date from which women in Britain effectively work for free until the end of the year, due to the 14.2% gender pay gap. Myths and misconceptions still persist around unequal pay. (This week alone I’ve heard “the gender pay gap doesn’t exist”, “women shouldn’t have babies if they’re going to complain” and “women aren’t paid less, they just earn less”.) So in the interests of clearing up some confusion, here are 10 facts you might not know about the pay gap …
1. It starts young … really young

A website set up to allow parents to pay pocket money to their children via online accounts revealed that boys were paid 15% more than girls for doing the same chores. The gap widened for homework, where boys received more than double the amount of pocket money girls did for completing an assignment.
2. It’s an intersectional problem

Research by Race for Opportunity found that black, Asian and minority ethnic (Bame) workers make up a disproportionate number of people in low-paid jobs, with almost a quarter (23%) of Pakistani employees and a fifth of Bangladeshi, Chinese and Black Caribbean workers earning less than £25,000 per year. It also found that a white British employee has an average of almost four promotions during their career, compared to just 2.5 for British African, Indian and Pakistani employees. Figures from the Low Pay Commission found that 15.3% of Pakistani/Bangladeshi workers earned the minimum wage – more than twice the number of white workers in minimum wage jobs. And the pay gap is wider for older women than for their younger colleagues, with women in their fifties earning nearly a fifth less than men of the same age.

Research also suggests that trans women are more economically vulnerable and can earn almost a third less after transitioning.
3. It’s complicated

The pay gap exists for many and complex reasons. As well as both direct and indirect discrimination, there are issues such as occupational segregation, and the devaluation of jobs primarily associated with female labour. The fact that women make up the majority of part-time and low-paid workers, and the relative lack of promotion opportunities for part-time workers, are also factors. Among part-time workers, women are still more likely to be lower paid than men.
4. It happens across a huge variety of professions

Attention has recently been drawn to the wage gap between male and female stars in Hollywood. But the gender pay gap affects everybody from architects to athletes. Recent research from the Office for National Statistics revealed that female architects are paid a whopping 25% less than their male counterparts. And while members of the England women’s football team earn around £20,000 per year, male Premier League players earn an average of £1.6 million per year.
5. It’s not performance-based

Talking of football, the US national teams recently provided a stunning, high-profile example of pay failing to correlate to performance. In the World Cup, the women’s team were victorious, winning the whole championship, while the men’s team went out in the first round. But the women’s team won prize money of $2 million, while the men won $8 million just for being eliminated at the first hurdle.
6. While working mothers lose out, working fathers actually benefit

We all know that the motherhood penalty can have a huge negative impact on women’s careers. Mothers are less likely to get jobs in the first place, and less likely to be paid as well as their similarly qualified male colleagues. But to add insult to injury, working fathers actually see a boost to their salaries, with their earnings increasing an average of over 6% when they have children, compared to mothers, whose salaries decrease 4% for each child on average.
The growing gender pay gap in the public sector is a problem for us all
Sheila Wild
Read more
7. It affects graduates too

Much has been made recently of the diminishing pay gap among younger workers. But studies still show a graduate pay gap, where women can earn up to £8,000 less in their starting salaries than their male peers who took the same degree. According to the Higher Education Careers Service Unit, one in five men are paid more than £30,000 after their degree, compared with just 8% of women who earn the same. And research from the Higher Education Statistics Agency found that the average graduate salary is £2000 higher for male graduates than for female graduates.
8. Not all work “counts”

As Katrine Marçal points out in her recent book Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? the very methods by which we measure and value labour have long disregarded the enormous contribution and impact of the unpaid domestic and caring work predominantly carried out by women.
9. It can arise from subtle bias

When we think of the pay gap, it’s easy to imagine a villainous boss deliberately choosing to pay a female employee less than her male counterparts. But while that can happen, discrimination can also be more complex. A study published in the journal PNAS submitted identical applications for laboratory manager jobs, but assigned female-sounding names to half the applications and male-sounding names to the other half. In a randomised double-blind study, participants not only considered the “male” applicants more competent and hireable, but were also likely to offer them a higher starting salary.
10. Even technology isn’t immune from discriminatory practices

It was recently revealed that Google’s algorithm displays far fewer adverts for high-paying job opportunities to women than it does to men. So the next time someone tries to tell you feminism is unnecessary and the gender pay gap doesn’t exist, fix them with a beady stare, talk them through its complexities, and if all else fails, hit them with Twitter user @LauraLuchador’s viral joke:

thatbags Sat 27-Aug-16 20:23:35

The kind of prejudice you describe, granny23, is not institutionalised prejudice but personal prejudice. It is against the law to pay a woman less than a man if she is as qualified and is doing the same work.

Unfortunately, there's not much law-making can do to change people's personal prejudices where education has failed.

I guess the only cure is keep on with the education.

Granny23 Sat 27-Aug-16 20:53:19

Bags I don't think education is the answer. I think this kind of thinking occurs mainly in the older generation and will die out when they do. People who hold to the idea of the superiority of men in certain roles/occupations would not consider themselves to be sexist or prejudiced. They simply believe that they are conforming to traditional ways.

obieone Sat 27-Aug-16 21:29:22

I wonder if it is still raging. In reality shows, which I assume are voted on more by the young, it seems quite clear that girls will be booted out before men on the whole, for no apparent reason that I can see.

granjura's list
1. I am very surprised. I myself was scrupulous with mine, they earned exactly the same at the same age.
2. Not surprised that this happens at all. Very bad and sad sad
4. I have also noticed that in films, generally there are far more male actor roles than female ones.
5. Personally[and here I need to duck], I do actually prefer to watch males in a few sports[by no means all] than women. Sorry! On the other hand, if it say hockey and some other sports, I do prefer to watch women.
7. I find that quite shocking, and I cant think why that would still be so in this day and age.
9. Interesting, and not in a good way. And illegal? confused
10.I dont understand that one either.

obieone Sat 27-Aug-16 21:33:22

Should have added that I think that it is more young girls that vote than young men.
So young females voting out females.

Babyboomer Sun 28-Aug-16 10:33:49

For me, female equality will only be here when women have real choices about how they live their lives. Women who want careers will have support with childcare. Women who want to stay with their small children can do so without feeling guilty, and will not find themselves at a lifetime disadvantage when they return to work. Women are individuals, and are capable of making the right choices for themselves and their families. I would never judge any woman for the choice she makes, but unfortunately society does, and always has done. My (unasked for!) advice to younger women is to do what feels right for you. But I know this is rarely possible.