Today is Equal Pay Day in the UK.
From now until the end of the year, women are effectively “working for free” compared with men, due to the gender pay gap.
Women earn over 15% less than men do.
The gap has become worse this year in the UK, for the first time in five years.
So for all of the people out there who ask why we still need feminism in the UK; who think that everything is now equal between men and women; who think that people like me should just shut up and be grateful for how gender equal we are in this country (which, for the record, I absolutely am, but that doesn’t mean the work here is done)… have a read of this, and do try to be a little bit less naive.
Equal Pay Day is three days earlier this year than it was in 2013.
Some people claim that differences in pay are down to more women holding part-time jobs than men.
But there is still a marked difference in pay in full-time jobs.
The average woman working full-time still earns £5,000 less than the average man working full-time, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
By the way, it is more than 40 years since the Equal Pay Act was brought in.
Part of the problem is that industries dominated by women tend to be lower-paid than those dominated by men – think education, care, nursing and so on. Activist Rebecca Winson has written a great column about the subtleties of the numbers here, if you want to explore that more.
Women are significantly less likely to hold the highest-paid jobs in our society.
They are half as likely to have a job paying more than £50,000, according to an analysis by the Trades Union Congress of ONS data to mark Equal Pay Day.
Only one in 15 full-time female workers earns more than £50,000 a year, compared with one in seven men.
The picture is also a bit bleak at the very top of British business, although things are improving.
There are only five female CEOs in the FTSE 100
They are: Veronique Laury of Kingfisher; Carolyn McCall of easyJet; Alison Cooper of Imperial Tobacco; Liv Garfield of Severn Trent; and Moya Greene of Royal Mail.
One in five FTSE 100 board positions are held by women, according to research from Cranfield University.
This is a commendable improvement on 2011, when only one in eight were.
But the FTSE 250 is still lagging…
Things aren’t much better in the wider management community.
There is a 23% pay gap between full-time female managers and full-time male managers, according to a survey of some 68,000 professionals across the public and private sectors conducted by the Chartered Institute of Management this year.
The UK is also slipping in the world rankings of gender equality, according to an annual ranking compiled by the World Economic Forum.
That puts us behind Rwanda, Burundi, Nicaragua and the Philippines.
All of which is rather dismal.
So if you want to do something to help combat pay inequality in the UK, get stuck into one of these…
>> Let’s close the gender pay gap. Women, this is how to ask for a pay rise
>> This is how London’s top businesswomen believe we can get more women into senior roles
>> Are boardroom quotas for women patronising or positive?
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