It’s Only $0.20 – Gender Pay Gap, What Can You Do?
The questions around how much women earn, and what the pay gap is in each sector are slowly starting to be dusted off and have a light shone on it. While many companies are unwilling to talk about the discrepancies between the wages of a male and female in the same role with the same responsibilities, others are being open and holding their hands up with the promise to do better. It doesn’t seem to matter if you work in the UK’s hardest jobs or America’s big banks – the gap is there.
And while a promise is nice, actions are nicer. There are a few things you can do to help move things forward.
Read up. It is easy to find ourselves in an echo chamber, with the likes of our social media. We tend to follow people who are like-minded, and when they share news or opinion, it will likely be read and repeatedly shared among all of your friends for a long time. You can learn a lot of information on the GOV.UK or the Institute for Women’s Policy Research depending on the information you’d like to read. Aim for unbiased facts, but it is worth noting that opinions opposite to your own are always worth listening to, different points of view are still welcome in broad discussions, but facts are hard evidence, and that is where the truth is.
Pay attention. When legislation and acts come before Congress, like the Paycheck Fairness Act, of the Fair Pay Act, learn what that would mean and the impact it would have. Each month there is another news story about a male celebrity who refuses to work on a movie unless everyone is on equal pay. This is important because they are making an impact on young people who look up to them, making it more visible but also obviously something that can be actioned. It is the same for many companies. If you work in a company that pays women less on a like for like job, then start talking to the relevant departments to get that rectified. But with other acts coming in to play more and more people can talk about their experiences and shine a light on the murky corners of the gap.
Be prepared. Some of the longest and most frustrating conversations you will have will be with men (and many women) claiming that the pay gap is not real. Or providing reasons that it might be happening. If you are prepared to answer those responses, you will be helping to educate more people.
The idea that $0.20 doesn’t make all that much difference is ridiculous when you consider that that is around $10,000 per year. In fact, one that one single statistic, women are more likely to be in poverty, and in some of the wealthiest countries in the world it is shocking that a working person would be on the breadline merely because they aren’t valued as much as a male counterpart.
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