Monday, 26 September 2011

Gender Tender

We don’t need to have people escort us out on dates, we’re allowed to vote, we don’t need to burn our bras in protest, we are free to choose what to wear and we’re allowed to have our own opinion. Things have moved on so much for women right?

Well yes, in many ways they have, but if you expect to have equal rights when it comes to pay – think again. Us ladies are still bottom of the pile when it comes to wages – men are still earning more. I can’t even believe I am typing this to be honest.

According to a poll by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), on average the difference between what men and women earnt for the doing same job between February 2010-February 2011 was £10,031 (based on the private sector and 34,158 male and female executives).

Surely if you are doing the same job as another person – be they another gender, race, age or religious belief to you – you both deserve the same salary. Now if you outperform someone, show you are more committed or achieve more for a company then clearly you deserve a bigger cash reward. For being born with breasts and not a penis however is not the same. In any way.

What exactly is the reasoning behind this pay difference? Is it because companies feel women aren’t as committed because we’re off with ‘women-related’ troubles or that we’re all desperate to run off and have babies? Are we too sensitive to deal with the same big issues as men? Or is it that we can’t down as many pints with the lads in after work drinking sessions perhaps?

What was the point of the 1970 Equal Pay Act exactly? Why did the world of tennis listen and start to pay women equally in Wimbledon, but sadly the business world did not?

Some would say there is some hope however, in the fact that the research also showed that junior female manages for the first time earnt more than men. No. This isn’t good. In the same way I don’t want us girls to get less than the boys in work, I also don’t want men getting less than women. We should just earn the same. Why is it so difficult? Moreso, why is it still in this day and age still an issue?

Many companies encourage people to keep the pay they receive to themselves, we assume in a bid to stop us demanding more money if we discover we’re not all getting the same. What would you do though if you did discover somebody in your team doing the same job as you was earning more as you – the only difference between you being that you are female and he is a guy? Would you go and complain and demand more? I’d like to think I would. However, findings suggest – and the fact that we’re still experiencing such a big gap – that women don’t. We just sit back and work hard and get on with it, not stopping to demand why this is happening and fighting for what we rightfully deserve.

Nowadays so many of us are just so grateful to even be in employment we don’t feel strong enough to question things – after all we should feel lucky we even have a job right? When does this current climate of fear stop though? If the tough economic times continue when will we ever feel able to argue against things we feel are unfair? In fact what lies ahead of us if hard times keep going? A company needs to make job cuts – do they get rid of the women as they are the timid ones who don’t argue back? Or do they keep us and work us until we make ourselves ill because we’re cheaper to keep on board?

Perhaps it’s time us ladies go back in time - like those people paying our wages seem to be – and take note of the bravery of those women many years ago who really did fight for our rights? That washed out, aged, greying bra you’ve found in your cupboard? Keep hold of it, who knows, you may well be needing it to burn sometime very soon…

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