Feminism and the Gender Pay Gap

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by friendofdorothy, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    Following on from JudithB's thread, I think this issue deserves a thread of its own.

    How is it that 50 years on from the equal pay act that women are still generally paid less than men.

    Let's a light on the worse offending sectors/industries and firms

    Lets hear some ideas how to approach the whole issue, ideas on what to do to work towards more equal gender equality in pay.

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  2. cupid_stunt

    cupid_stunt Dyslexic King Cnut ... the Great.

    I still can't believe it's happening, and even worst the likes of councils & the BBC have been named & shamed for their inequality. :facepalm:

    Most of my working life has been in the private sector & local newspapers/magazines & radio, where males & females have always been treated & paid equally in the businesses I've work for*, and I simply don't understand why this is not standard across all sectors/businesses.

    * Although most of these have been small independent businesses, but I see one big group I worked for, Newsquest, actually pay women better than men, but the rest of the big groups in that sector completely fail, the worst being the [Daily] Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).

    Newsquest paying women more than men, new data reveals.
  3. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat meh

    if (as a male person of the opposite sex) i may offer a few thoughts, i'd say there are multiple angles to this

    different people being paid different rates for the same job (there is some evidence to suggest that this often affects people from ethnic minorities as well as women) is (if it's on race / gender lines, is illegal under law that's been around for some time) but happens in workplaces where there aren't 'going rates' or transparent pay grades / structures, and broadly means that people will get offered the lowest amount the employer thinks they can get away with, and employers are generally fairly happy to play employees / groups of employees off against each other. (and a heck of a lot of employees go along with the thatcherite idea that people should see their colleagues as rivals, and see trade unions and solidarity as a bad thing)

    trying to work out what 'work of equal value' is - this is something that has come up a lot in local authorities since 'single status' about 20 years ago (although the privatisation / outsourcing particularly of 'blue collar' jobs means it's not as big an issue as it could have been. Are the respective levels of skill / physical effort / decision making / emotional labour assessed in a fair and reasonable way? does the process put most emphasis on the physical effort that is (or historically was) involved in a job? this would tend to favour mens' jobs (e.g. dustmen)

    some roles traditionally seen as "womens' work" - e.g. cleaning, caring and tend to be paid less

    is the socialisation of men / women different - do women (in the same proportion as men) either want or go after some of the higher paying jobs out there - and if not, do women (in general) want those jobs? are women brought up to think that they can aspire to that sort of job? what's putting women off from going for those jobs, if that's what's happening? are those working environments unfriendly towards women? do employers try and encourage women in to these roles? do any good intentions from the board room actually happen in the actions of middle managers and supervisors?

    likewise, do women (in general) negotiate individually as successfully as men (in general) when it comes to pay and conditions?

    then there's the effect on a career path / promotion and so on that family / child care / other caring responsibilities have - the majority of women will at some point take some time off for having child/ren, and may be less likely to take a job that involves working way from home / lots of travel / long hours. and women are probably more likely to move house because their male partner changes jobs than vice versa.

    that having been said, employers often can't cope with the idea of male staff having caring responsibilities - some years ago one of my uncles had something of a battle with his (then) employer when he needed time off to look after his mother - the policy at the time was that career breaks for this were only an option for female (seen as 'less important') employees.

    I don't think there's a simple answer and don't pretend to know the answer.

    Some of this is down to employer / employee relationships - more transparent structures and / or greater trade union activity tends to go with better practice in equalities, although some trade unions have not always been great on this (if any improvement in some workers' pay and conditions is seen as a zero sum game, will the other workers be prepared to accept this?)

    Some of it is down to socialisation / society in general when it comes to gender roles / expectation and so on, and starts at a pretty early age.
  4. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    This is not just an issue for high paid workers.

    It happend in my last low paid job. I accidentally glimpsed the pay letter of a unskilled male co-worker who often filled in the same role as me - it looked as if was paid more. The co-worker was vague about his pay. He did a traditionally male unskilled job and I did a traditioanally underpaid female job. HR would not confirm if he was paid more because of confidentiality. HR waffled about market forces, recruitment difficulties, different roles, yadda yadda. This was in a low paid charity care sector workplace, were most of the unskilled roles were all paid minimum wage and wages did not increase with length of service.

    I recall at the time getting very support on a thread here on U75 from a lot of male posters who only wanted to talk about the inequality of very high paid women at the BBC.

    As far as I understand gender pay gap happens at every level.
  5. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    Why are we all so cagey about what we earn? Is british embarrasment thing? a class thing? distaste or disgust about discussing the 'dirty' subject of money? Is there any research on this issue? Why is pay so private and confidential?

    Has anyone here discussed what they earn with their male/female co-workers?
    farmerbarleymow likes this.
  6. Sea Star

    Sea Star have you ever explored your dark side?

    i work with a bunch of cis women and every one of them gets paid more than me!
  7. BristolEcho

    BristolEcho Well-Known Member

    Employers don't like workers talking about their wage and people don't know there boss isn't allowed to tell them not too. One company I worked for didn't have any pay structure at all. So when I found out a worker that started after me with less experience was being paid more than me you can imagine I hit the roof, they did then give me a pay rise. Then later on when I was given a further pay rise I was asked not to tell anyone. It's a ploy that sets workers off against eachother. (I will point out that we were both males in this instance.)

    This has made me think about the work that someone I know does. They are in a female only work place and they get paid less than the male equivalent. The two are ran by different companies, but they do the same job. I'm going to bring this up with them as it seems totally wrong and they could probably push for equal pay.

    There is definitely still a long way to go.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  8. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    I am effectively HR director in our firm so see all salaries. It's difficult to draw conclusions because we have fewer than 20 employees which isn't a very big sample size.

    TL;DR - hard to calculate GPG but probably women earn less mainly due to 'choice' to work part-time but also to structural/tradition reasons of traditionally male/female job types.

    The detail is:

    - two comparable jobs where the woman earns more than the man in gross terms but works part-time so her take-home is less (she earns more than her partner but works part-time for childcare reasons)

    - a first group of employees who are majority male because traditionally within the industry that job is done by men (we had one female employee in that job who was excellent but she moved elsewhere)

    - a second group of employees who are female because traditionally within the industry that job is done by women (we have never had a male applicant)

    - the first male group are paid on average more than the second female group but they are harder to find and have a formal qualification (we are trying to get one of the female group to qualify and move to the first group)

    - a third group of employees who are female and who are paid on average somewhere between the first and second group

    The Directors of the firm are all male but we are offering Directorship to a man and woman on equal terms - however the woman will earn less because she is part time.

    We also had a woman who earned as much as a comparable man (gross) but worked part time and then became a consultant because she wanted to spend more time with her kids.

    NB I still work part time (90%; was originally 70%) and we encourage flexible working.
    equationgirl and friendofdorothy like this.
  9. Humberto

    Humberto the same thing we do every night

    Are we talking two people with the same job title, and hours, taking home a different wage overall because of a sex difference? If so that is scandalous. Pardon my naivety/ignorance if you will.
  10. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Seagull + Chips = Happy Seagull

    It's a weird hang-up and I've seen the reluctance in my workplace. I couldn't care less if a colleague asks what I'm paid - I'll tell them. It's just a number and everyone should be open about this. If they were that interested they could see my payslip.
    bullshorns and friendofdorothy like this.
  11. Rutita1

    Rutita1 Sassy McFlashy

    You are a union rep aren't you? I am surprised you haven't challenged or investigated such a situation... :confused::hmm:

    Are men also making more money than you where you are?
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  12. Humberto

    Humberto the same thing we do every night

    lovely bucolic women

    innit great.
  13. FabricLiveBaby!

    FabricLiveBaby! Live Baby Fabric!

    I think there's two things to tackle here:

    The gender pay gap culturally. As in, why is "women's work" deemed superfluous in our society. Why is any female dominated profession seen as not as worthy as male dominated ones?

    As for the gender pay gap in companies: Why do some companies pay women less for the same job, why is it not always the case?

    I'm not sure, but I think the first one is to do with the system and radical analysis (problems with the system at its root) the second question is a little bit more liberal (as in, not looking at the system, but problems within it and trying to equalise on a micro scale).

    I think answering these two questions separately might be useful because it's easy to derail critique with whataboutery.

    If you're talking about systemic problems you always get a liberal form of whataboutery (as a derailment tactic). "Whatabout those companies where that isn't the case?" (Whatabout them, indeed!)

    If you're talking about your own company someone will try to shift the conversation to the system itself.

    Both deserve answers within their own context of course, and it may be the case that we discover something interesting as a consequence. :)
  14. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    If the reason an individual company has a pay gap is not systemic then what is it? People having a personal mission to deprive women?
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  15. Manter

    Manter Lunch Mob

    Absolutely agree ^^
  16. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    Good post FabricLiveBaby! and I would say there is a 3rd thing which is the assumption that women are more likely to go part time for childcare reasons (probably parent care too at the other end.
    friendofdorothy and Manter like this.
  17. Manter

    Manter Lunch Mob

    What I read it to mean is that work that is traditionally done by women is traditionally lower paid. Eg nursery carer/receptionist/dinner lady vs maintenance/facilities/builder. That is structural.

    Within a company it can be much more complex/nuanced. What work is genuinely equivalent for example, experience, qualifications, working patterns, career choices/opportunities, chance, individual performance, the external job market. Some of that has structural elements- eg the very structure of career progression and what you have to demonstrate is quite ‘male’- but some of it, arguably, doesn’t. And yet so often seems to shake out so men earn more....
  18. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    I’m not just being facetious or anything. I genuinely fail to see what isn’t structural about how companies end up with a gender pay gap.
  19. Manter

    Manter Lunch Mob

    I would never tell some of the (very macho and competitive) men in my workplace what I earn. I simply couldn’t be bothered with the bitching and emotion about it.
  20. Manter

    Manter Lunch Mob

    Some is, some isn’t. I did x job and learned I skills that means I can offer z on the job market. That drives what I can ask an employer to pay me. Someone else who made different choices will be able to ask for different things and in some circumstances may be worth more to an employer. Is that structural or just career?
  21. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    The whole basis of what you can ask for and what somebody is willing to give you is the structure of the job market. It’s not just personal whimsy or something.
    friendofdorothy, S☼I and 8ball like this.
  22. ElizabethofYork

    ElizabethofYork Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    It's a little more nuanced than that. In my own experience, I've worked for many years in Admin type roles. I've always had titles like Secretary, Co-ordinator, Assistant, that sort of thing. The men in the company that do the same job, and have the same responsibilities, tend to have titles like Office Manager, and get paid about twice as much.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  23. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    within my own sector i'd have thought that part of it would be to do with job mobility - apparently within the library world the best length of time to spend in a job is 18 months, which would only see you get one increment. so people who gain experience in a number of roles might find themselves generally pegged around the bottom of their pay grade, even if they're going from (e.g.) library assistant > senior library assistant > user support manager etc. and women are something like 60% of the people who work in libraries...
    equationgirl likes this.
  24. Rutita1

    Rutita1 Sassy McFlashy

    What is your point caller? :confused:
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  25. Humberto

    Humberto the same thing we do every night

    Yeah soz wasn't at you

    *gets coat
  26. 8ball

    8ball Hetero Sapiens

    People at my company usually blurt out their salaries after a good few pints on a Friday night. :D
  27. Sweet FA

    Sweet FA ✪ Three rounds Lord, in my .44 ✪

    friendofdorothy likes this.
  28. Albert

    Albert Well-Known Member

    Isn't it pretty clear that the 'gender' pay gap is a function of being a mother (or viewed as a 'potential' mother)?

    IMG_20190430_124653.jpg IMG_20190430_124707.jpg
  29. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    This is where concentrating on personal responsibility gets you. Everyone wants to think they are the good guy and can reasonably claim they personally were just making honest decisions.
  30. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    What conclusion do you take from that?

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