Imagine this, it’s November 4th and your boss calls you into the office ‘Hey there, due to your vagina you won’t be getting paid until January. So you’re working for free and that guy over there – yeah, the one that does the same job – well we’re still going to pay him.”
Would you stand for that? Well that’s essentially what the pay divide means for women in the UK.
What about if you and your male college, both in management roles, were given a bonus for all your tireless hard work and you were given £3,000 whilst the guy was given £6,400?
Would you speak up? Would you even know?
There are so many reasons contributing to the pay divide; motherhood, paternity leave, esteem and just plain old sexism. All of which we need to tackled but the overriding issue is surely, transparency.
I know that I have experienced sexism in the workplace and I know I’ve held back when I should have spoken up.
I’ve been told to flirt with client on a work engagement, I’ve been told I was on a pitch just to even out the male to female ratio (eye twitch), I’ve sat in silence whilst male colleagues have taken credit for my work and I’ve been labelled too emotional in reaction to a work issue which was only dealt with when experienced by, you guessed it, a male colleague. These things, to me at least, were experiences I feel I’ve either tackled or learned from.
However, when it comes to cold hard cash I’m a bit lost. I know the statistics, I know it’s not great for women in general but personally I’ve never really known how much cash my work peers are on. And it’s not because I haven’t asked (I have, it was awkward)
According to figures based on the Office of National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Incomes, the pay gap between men and women in their twenties has DOUBLED since 2010.
I’m nearing the end of my twenties now and I’m looking on to my thirties which again is an age group where the pay gap has also increased from 11.9% to 12%. It’s scary and demotivating to contemplate that we’re still in this state of inequality alas, here we are.
Again, the key for both men and women is to have transparency. That’s why Grazia have launched a petition calling for a piece of Labour legislation – Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 – to be enforced.
Basically, it will mean that companies with staff of more than 250 people will have to publish anonymised details about the hourly pay of men and women they employ. Which means you would be able to see if you were being paid less than your male colleagues and given the opportunity to speak up.
I believe that the issues we have are so ingrained that employers don’t always realise the affect it has on women. So this move is a chance for every party to become more aware. The more conscious we are of the almost habitual inequality we project on to men and women, the more opportunity we will have to change it.
Grazia need 100,000 signatures to make take this to Parliament. So please, sign, share and speak up.
Tweet your experiences to #WhatImWorth and add your name to the petition here.