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To be incredulous that people still claim the gender pay gap doesn't exist

23 replies

Whatafustercluck · 15/11/2019 08:36

I should preface this by explaining that I base my experience on nothing more than Twitter, following the Labour pledge to cut the gender pay gap in 11 years.

Women: "11 years! That's a huuuuuuge amount of time!"

Men: "It doesn't exist."

I've heard it all. The tampon tax is "only" 5%. Men should receive tax relief on plasters because they get injured more often. I've been called 'dear'. I was told by one delightful individual that women have not 'evolved' as much as men and that's why practically all significant accomplishments since the dawn of time have been by men. This is all on top of a clear misunderstanding that 'gender pay gap' is the same as 'unequal pay' (plenty of men clamouring over themselves to explain to me that it's illegal to pay a man and a woman different amounts for doing the same job).

It's hopeless isn't it? Aibu that I was so naive and thought we'd made huge advances in equality?

OP posts:

antisnowflake · 15/11/2019 08:53

Doesnt exist.

If it did, i wouldn't have a job.

There is women in my work who do exactly the same job as me but earn more money than me.


TheBitchOfTheVicar · 15/11/2019 08:56

@antisnowflake Hmm


MaxNormal · 15/11/2019 09:00

@antisnowflake thanks for proving OP's point.


Hellofromtheotherside2020 · 15/11/2019 09:00

It does exist! Not only that, but often women are overlooked for jobs because they're in their prime breeding years and may pop out a baby and leave anytime soon.
Honestly, I've lost count of how many times I've been asked "do you have children" or "will you be having any more children" or "who'll look after the children" during an interview. How many men get asked those questions?
I also get really frustrated when men start claiming that the gender pay gap exists due to women being able to claim maternity pay.


Newoneonherr · 15/11/2019 09:00

Well it doesn't really exist in the context that the media would have us believe.

There is a national minimum wage in the UK, so the "gender pay gap" only applies to positions where salary (not pay) is negotiable.

If a female (can we even use that word anymore?) Newsreader at the BBC is happy to apply for, and accept a position where she gets paid 250k p/a to read three news bulletins a day, that's her decision. She is free to ask for more money if she thinks she is worth it. If a male Newsreader gets paid more, because he negotiated a higher salary, then frankly, that's nobody's business.

I work is senior IT, all salaries are negotiated, if you're "headhunted" it's a give in that you'll demand a higher salary than what was initially offered. If you don't that's your issue, not your male colleagues.

I get very annoyed when I read about this "pay gap" issue. It's business, not the equality commission, business exists to make money, my company wouldn't pay my salary if my work didn't generate a profit. I wouldn't accept a salary which I felt didn't reflect my worth to the company.

If your skills are good enough, people will pay what you ask. If you're skills aren't good enough, or you don't ask, then you won't get paid.


PhonicTheHedgehog · 15/11/2019 09:00

I do t know about the gender pay gap but the sex pay gap exists.

My work explained how it might have the gap but how it wasn’t it’s fault. We have pay grades and the pay grades at the bottom just happen to have a lot of women in them. That’s what messed up their “gender” pay gap.


TabbyStar · 15/11/2019 09:02

A lot of it though is individual men who refuse to take a career break or let their female partners prioritise their own careers so that women have to step down into lower or past time roles.

I wonder what planet Labour are on and how they think this will be achieved.


Velveteenfruitbowl · 15/11/2019 09:04

Well it does exist but it’s not exactly straightforward. It doesn’t exist out of inherent unfairness but through choices that people make. The only way you can correct it is to socialise the next generation not to think of mothers as the main caring parent and to socialise girls to make similar career choices to boys. It doesn’t matter how fairly you treat women if they choose to become school teachers and social workers while men are going into engineering and finance.


Newoneonherr · 15/11/2019 09:11


That illustrates my point perfectly. If you're worth the salary, if your work generates sufficient profit, you will be paid the salary you are worth.

Asking for a pay rise and being rejected is not evidence of a gender pay gap. It's evidence of an employee who isn't performing to a level which justifies the salary they are suggesting they're worth.


Pukkatea · 15/11/2019 09:18

@Newoneonherr you seem to be suggesting, as the logical consequence of your argument, that more men are 'worth' their pay rises than women. Now how could that possibly be unless you are explicitly saying you think men are better at their jobs than women?


stucknoue · 15/11/2019 09:19

The main gap is due to structural issues, personal choices etc not a man being paid more than a woman for the same job. I'm paid much more than my male colleague for instance (I also do payroll).

My income lag against h is due to part time working and career choice not being singled out for lower pay. I made my choices


PettyContractor · 15/11/2019 09:19

I may be mis-remembering, but aren't the latest statistics that it's only over-forties woman who are paid less? And even then, the difference isn't huge.


Whatafustercluck · 15/11/2019 09:23

I wonder what planet Labour are on and how they think this will be achieved.

Well there's plenty of evidence from Scandinavian countries for them to draw on, where family friendly policies in the workplace aimed at promoting equality of opportunity have seen them become quite successful at closing the gap.

OP posts:

Pukkatea · 15/11/2019 09:24

I'm paid much more than my male colleague for instance

I HATE when people use anecdotes as data.

I have a friend who does it - 'I don't think women suffer sexual harassment in the workplace because my wife doesn't' I mean, bully for your wife, want me to list all of the women I know who have been sexually assaulted by someone they worked with?


Whatafustercluck · 15/11/2019 09:25

@PettyContractor there is a gap across all age groups, but it is minimal for younger women/ men (around 1%) I think and jumps considerably from late 30s and for the rest of their lives.

OP posts:

nornironrock · 15/11/2019 09:30

The issue here is definition of what constitutes the Gender Pay Gap. If you simply measure women's salary against men, then yes, there's a gap.

The issues though is why that gap exists. For instance, at Easyjet the gap is huge becuase traditionally, pilots have been men (very highly paid) and cabin crew have been women (not so well paid). So, huge gap.... we need to ask why more women are not becoming pilots. There are numerous other examples.

It does seem that in the main, a lot of the difference can be explained by role differences, but that there are also many other reasons why pay differs.

The poster ascertaining that it is illegal to pay a woman less for the same work is of course correct, and any woman on the wrong end of that should be taking legal action.


Brefugee · 15/11/2019 09:46

the Gender Pay gap is clearly defined though so I don't know what the debate is.

The debate to be had is why it still exists and why men still don't take the hit to their career/salaries by doing 50% of the childcare - and more so why women let them.

A piece of research was published recently (might have been in Germany?) that said "men who take parental leave suffer a hit to their career prospects/lifetime earnings"
Cue thousands of outraged male-tears tweets, and fewer eye-rolling tweets from women saying "DUH!". Guessing the research was published by men because women have been saying this for ever.

(but if we're being anecdotal: I have always earned more than my DH and i earn more than the men in my office. Mostly because i've been here longer and have clawed my way in to a senior position. The only man in the same position only earns a wee bit less than me, has way less experience and from the same starting position was promoted in double the time i was. My guess is he'll outstrip me within the next few years. And THAT is the gender pay gap in action. We both have similar aged DC)


Bumpitybumper · 15/11/2019 09:47

I think that whilst attributing the pay gap to "personal choices" might be accurate, I think that it also completely glosses over the societal and biological differences that exist between the sexes that mean that men and women have a propensity towards making different "personal choices" and it totally ignores the fact that the way these decisions are rewarded or penalised is a total construct largely designed by men to favour men.

For example, we have all been conditioned to believe that length of service and experience is important and is a key factor when it comes to understanding an employee's value or worth. Women are much more likely to need time out of work during the child-bearing years which also coincidentally align with the years when most people make the most career progression. Women therefore contend with a double whammy of potentially needing time of work to contend with pregnancy issues or recover from the birth just as their male counterparts are accelerating ahead on their careers through using their competitive advantage that is fundamentally rooted in their biological difference.

In response, women are told to struggle through pregnancy as much as possible acting completely normally at work because after all pregnancy isn't an illness (anyone with hyperemesis, SPD, preeclampsia is obviously a failure), then they must take the bare minimum maternity leave and return back to FT work ASAP regardless of what birth injuries or psychological issues they have sustained through carrying and birthing another human. Only women who do the above can have any hope of minimising damage to their career and any woman who deviates from this absolutely deserves to fall behind career wise because they have made "personal choices" and boy, will they be penalised for these choices.

The whole system is rigged to favour men. Women have been conditioned to believe that it has to be this way, but it really doesn't. A radical rethink is needed to ever allow real equality otherwise we will continue to be castigated and punished for being women.


user1477391263 · 15/11/2019 10:05

As I understand, childless women earn about the same as men if they are in the same line of work--it's really more of a motherhood pay penalty. It is that that need talking about, because it is very real.


OnlyAGirlsHorse · 15/11/2019 10:19

As an engineer, it definitely exists in my experience, industry & role to different degrees.

And it's cultural as well as reinforced by my employer.

I hate admitting this but I'm burnt out by the mentoring, coaching and "you can fix your problems yourself" employee blaming... You can only fight against something for so long without getting burnt out, it's energy my male colleagues generally don't have to exert.

I used to be heavily involved in the women talent initiatives in professional bodies & at my employer, but I've taken a conscious step back. I suppose I've just became cynical about the lip service we all pay to sorting out the problem.

I also have to immediately delete any company newsletter about how we're fixing the talent pipeline (it's lower level women in the HR department doing that work, the senior male managers and engineers don't expend any real time on it). These days I just get angry.

I wouldn't advise any of my DDs to waste their time engaging in low level, ineffective pay gap etc discussions.

What we need is a large scale overhaul about how the world of work is structured. If you're anything other than an able bodied fully available worker, you're hamstrung. That includes caring for elders as well as kids.. or, you know, you want to volunteer, or get home at a time to build strong community, religious or family bonds.

The problem is far bigger than gender pay gaps.


user1477391263 · 15/11/2019 10:36

Well there's plenty of evidence from Scandinavian countries for them to draw on, where family friendly policies in the workplace aimed at promoting equality of opportunity have seen them become quite successful at closing the gap.

Nope. Try again.

The Nordic countries have very high rates of female labor force participation. Their record of on the pay gap is mediocre:

When it comes to pay, the difference between gross average hourly earnings of male and female employees in Denmark, Iceland and Norway is only slightly below the EU average of 16%. In Finland the figure creeps to 16.7%. Sweden comes out best with 12.3%, but still lags behind Luxembourg, Italy and Romania, which all manage a pay gap of 5% or less.

The reason for this is that it's normal for women with kids to work in the Nordic countries but a really large number of them work part-time or second-earner-track type jobs, very often in the public sector.

The tax system in the Nordic countries tends to make part-time work viable, and the public sector is very large, supply huge numbers of "safe" non-stressful jobs which a lot of mums like to do (but which of course tend to earn quite a lot less than jobs in the more competitive private sector).

The high cost of labor in the Nordic countries makes "domestic substitution" type services (nannies, housekeepers, cleaners) expensive, so a lot of women make the decision that it makes more sense for them to go part-time/stay on the second-earner job track so they can cover more of the domestic matters, rather than aim for managerial level and outsource all the domestic work, which impacts on the number of women in management positions. The % of female managers is lower in the Nordic countries than it is in the US, for example. Yes, men could do more of this domestic work, but they never do as much of it as women, not even in the Nordic countries.

As for the futurethe % of women among STEM degree graduates is unusually low in the Nordic countrieslower than in the UK, US or in most of the Mediterranean, Eastern European or emerging-economy countries.

The Nordic economic model just involves different sets of trade-offs. It's dicey to just assume that the pay gap "must" be low in the Nordic because they are such nice countries or whatever. For what it's worth, I think I'd be happy to live in a Nordic country, but then I'm only moderately ambitious and like to work reasonable hours and have more time with my kids (like a lot of women!) If I were a super go-getter who wanted to take over the boardroom, perhaps it wouldn't be so great.

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