(Not So) Happy Equal Pay Day - Why Are Women Working For Free?

07 November 2013 by

Equal Pay Day

How would you feel about not being paid for your job today? And if that doesn’t make you stop and read, how about not being paid for the rest of the year? Thought so. Yet, depressingly, this is exactly what is happening to women all over the country - probably you included. Because today marks the day that, when taking into account the gender pay gap, women are effectively unpaid for the hours they put in between now and January.

Yes, it’s true. In 2013, 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, Equal Pay Day - and this deplorable situation we find ourselves in from November 7 - still rolls round each year. Misogyny in the workplace is still costing us thousands and the gender pay gap still looms between us, lowering our societal status and our self-esteem. According to a new report by the TUC (Trade Union Congress), female professionals in some industries are earning £16,000 less than their male counterparts, with female private sector workers facing a 19.9 per cent gap. Why?

Sadly, it's back to the same old issues - flexible working, part-time hours, greater transparency, more cultural awareness and active change, a limited number of women on boards - that are still lingering over us, year on year.

And there's more: now, we’re called “sorry skirts” - a term, according to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), coined as a result of the female tendency to apologise more often than men. And, says Ann Francke, the CMI's chief executive, it’s not just the perennial glass ceiling we now have to break through .

"Rather than a pipeline, we've had a female management pyramid for too long and it is time for change,” she says. “Businesses need to support women to be authentic, individual and assertive, without becoming a cultural clone in a macho male environment.

"For years we've used the phrase 'glass ceiling' for women at the top, but more and more we find other obstacles, even at entry level, through middle management and beyond.”

There has to be more that can be done - through businesses, the government (hi Cameron, hi measly male to female cabinet ratio) and ourselves. We need to shout about it. And if we do, hopefully, this annual, quite unacceptable day, will be redundant once and for all. Equal Pay Day, your days are numbered.


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