10th November marks Equal Pay Day – a symbolic point in the year that woman start working for free.
Despite the Equal Pay Act 1970, almost half a century later, women still earn an average of 13.9% than their male counterparts. The current pay gap means women effectively stop earning relative to men on this day in November.
That’s right ladies, from Thursday 10 November to the 31 December, women in full-time jobs are effectively working for free.
Though the discrepancy has narrowed since last year, when the gender pay gap was at 14.5 per cent and Equal Pay Day fell earlier on November 9, there is still huge developments to be made.
Women in the UK are still paid significantly less than men for doing the same job. By 18.1% in fact. In recognition of this disgraceful inequality, @stylistmagazine will be closing down its computers at 3.34pm and going home, 18% early, as today also marks the day in the calendar year when women effectively stop being paid, alongside men. This needs to change. Ask your employer to do the same as a mark of solidarity. And let's hope Theresa May is listening. #equalpayday
But why does this pay gap exist in the first place? Reports show women are at a disadvantage because they do the most caring in society. Despite laws introduced by the Government in 2014 to allow everyone the legal right to request flexible working, 60% of UK working mums still don’t have access to flexible work. Of Scottish mums, 68% feel they’ve had to compromise their work skills and experience in some way in order to find work that works around family. Only 9% of mums living with children aged 18 and under in Scotland felt their skills hadn’t been – or wouldn’t have to be – compromised at all to find a flexible job around childcare.
In an open letter, written to PM Theresa May, women complained “they can’t get the flexibility they need, nor the affordable childcare. Low paid part-time work is still the preserve of women, but that’s because we have few quality part-time jobs that allow women to balance work and care.”
In the letter, the 38 signatories also called out the lack of women being steered towards “roles at the frontline of our national industry, such as those in STEM”. They also highlighted segregated workplaces, discrimination and harassment as being at the root of the problem.
The letter, signed by Jacqueline Gold CBE – CEO of Ann Summers, political activist Shazia Awan and junior doctor and MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, amongst others, called on Theresa May to close the gender gap and make a stand for the value of women’s work.
— Salka Sól Eyfeld (@salkadelasol) October 24, 2016
Their campaign follows on from thousands of Icelandic women leaving work two hours early in protest last month. On the 24th October thousands of women in Reykjavik gathered in central Austurvöllur square after leaving their workplaces at 2.38pm. By shaving 2 hours and 22 minutes from their working day, they aimed to highlight the percentage of the day they worked for free in contrast to their male colleagues.
Iceland is the best country in the world for gender equality, yet women still earn on average 14 to 18 per cent less than their male colleagues. According to unions and women’s organisations, this means in every eight hour day women are essentially working without pay from 2.38pm.
If you think women have #EqualValue to men, then shout about it on social media this #EqualPayDay!