Equal Pay Day
10th November 2018
Today is Equal Pay day. The cut off when the 51 days of ‘free’ labour from women begins.
Overall, the pay gap in the UK is 18.4%. This gap is even wider for BAME women, mothers, and women in their 40s and 50s. In fact, the TUC found that women working full-time earn less than men at every stage of their careers once they turn 18. This is prevalent across the work force, with only three sectors (water and waste, household employers and mining) paying women more than men.
The persistence of this gap (though it is closing slowly) may be due to the fact that it is poorly understood. Women are still unclear about what the gender pay gap actually is and what this means for them. 71% of people believe that the gender pay gap is unequal pay for equal work, whereas only 20% of people know that the gender pay gap is the difference between average earnings between men and women regardless of what they do. This lack of awareness prevents collective or individual action, and women are less likely to negotiate higher pay.
Sadly, 52% of people in the UK don’t believe that the gender pay gap will ever close. Perhaps this is down to traditional views of gender; the man is the ‘bread winner’ and the woman takes care of the home. It may be due to the concentration of women in certain sectors and roles. This may also be due to the fact that, overwhelmingly, it is women who face the choice between a family and a career – demonstrated by the plethora of online articles doling out advice on when is best to start a family in order to “catch up” on earnings, or how to choose between a career and a family, or how to ‘have it all’.
Furthermore, it is not only women that suffer at the hands of the gender pay gap. Whilst there are more women in part-time work than men, generally those women receive a larger pay packet – another inequality that must be fixed.
Women Working in Development
We at CDR are helping to speed up the process of achieving gender equality. In partnership with BDO LLP UK, we established the Women Working in Development network to create a forum for female and feminist professionals in the international development sector to exchange ideas and provide mutual support.
We organise quarterly events, featuring topical panel discussions and time for networking, to bring together this community. The network comprises professionals from across the sector, including donors, the private sector, academia, and NGOs.
Our next event on 10th December, will focus on maintaining a work-life balance within the development sector, where women will share their experiences of balancing work with a family, caring responsibilities, long-distance relationships, mental and physical health concerns, and more.
We hope that this will be an opportunity for women to support and empower each other in their careers, as well as clarify some of the issues facing women in the workplace that can act as an obstacle to them receiving equal pay.