Tuesday 21 January 2020

Colette Fitzpatrick: When it comes to pay and salaries women are like men - only cheaper

Jennifer Lawrence has spoken out about pay gaps
Jennifer Lawrence has spoken out about pay gaps

If you're a woman and you're reading this and on your way to or from work, you won't be pleased to know that essentially you're working for free.

Because of the gender pay gap here, which stands at 14.4pc, women basically spend seven to eight weeks working for nothing every year. This is because they're paid, on average, a sixth less than men.

If you're well up the corporate ladder or recently got promoted, you better stop reading now or you'll be fuming. Because the gap increases the higher up you go.

If you're a working woman in a top-paying job you get paid on average a quarter less a year than your male colleagues. So essentially you work for free for three whole months. From the beginning of October to the end of December, for instance.

Last Monday was Equal Pay Day, an initiative to highlight the gender pay gap. At the rate we're progressing, it'll be almost 80 years before women are paid the same as men.

Perhaps my three-year-old daughter will see it in her twilight years. But her daughter's daughter's daughter will be in the first woman in our family to get paid as much for doing the same job as a man - that's my great, great-granddaughter.

Why is the gap there? It doesn't just boil down to sexism or misogynistic bosses choosing to pay men more, it's actually far more complex.

Women leave the work force for periods, for example for maternity and for child rearing, so that is a factor. There could also be other issues - perhaps some men have more experience and more qualifications, for example. And there's also evidence to show that women don't drive a hard enough bargain when negotiating salaries.

Amy Adams is paid considerably less than her male co-stars
Amy Adams is paid considerably less than her male co-stars

It also appears that the imbalance starts at home. A UK website set up to track pocket money revealed that boys were getting 15pc more than girls for doing the same jobs.

Female stars such as Jennifer Lawrence (right) have been talking a lot lately about the pay gap between themselves and "people with dicks".

Lawrence said she was shocked to learn that she and her American Hustle co-star Amy Adams were paid considerably less for their roles than Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner.

While the irony of over-paid and over-pampered celebs like Lawrence talking about pay gaps shouldn't be lost on anyone the point is that such gaps exists across all jobs, in Hollywood and elsewhere.

Perhaps Jennifer should be also be talking about how much her make-up artist and the female technicians on her set are paid, rather than just her own bank balance.

The way we're going now, if you had a cent for every time someone talked to you about a pay gap, as a woman you'd have 85 cents for every euro your male colleague had.

Complexities aside, there isn't a single country in the world where a woman earns as much as a man for doing the same job. Women: we're like men, only cheaper.

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