Is equality a reality or an ideology? I only ask because more than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act was outlawed, females are still earning less than their male equivalents.
New reports have emerged that female bosses earn approximately 35% less than their male colleagues. You would think after four decades that companies would realise that not only is this unfair, but it is illegal.
Data has emerged that female managers tend to hit “a midlife pay crisis”, meaning female managers over the age of 40 years old earn 35% less than men. The facts speak for themselves, as the average pay gap between men and women between the ages of 46 and 60 stands at a whopping £16,680 per year. In fact, male company directors earn around £21,084 more than their female counterparts – all that for doing exactly the same job!
A person’s anatomy should not determine how much they are paid – the same way race, sexuality or disability should not. Sexism is a very real problem in society, with women being undervalued and underpaid on a daily basis. Why should a female, who performs the same role as a man, be paid less for the same job, or have to struggle with their finances or turn to a debt advice company whilst their male colleague sits comfortably on their income?
It appears we have failed to move on much since the 1980s, with Helen Pitcher, the chair of the human resources consultancy Advanced Boardroom Excellence, recently commenting: “I am not surprised by the findings at all – and that is no criticism of the report at all. I wrote my thesis on women in management in the 1980s and very little has changed. The solution is all about transparency. Women often struggle with asking for a pay rise, whereas men don’t. I don’t think that most women would want to go as far [as taking legal action]. Very few women want to stick their heads above the parapet on this stuff”.
Part of the problem may be that women are too scared to speak up over fear of losing their jobs, and very few equal pay cases are rarely taken to court. However, we cannot forget how 174, mainly female, employees claimed compensation over missed bonuses -which led to Birmingham city council paying approximately £1billions to settle the claims.
In order for women to be treated as equals, more women need to speak up and push for equal pay. Whilst the prospect of standing up to employers can be a little daunting, female workers are entitled to the same pay as their male colleagues. However, it is not just the employees themselves that need to take action, companies and colleagues need to realise that more needs to be done to challenge this shocking statistic, and that means fair pay for both genders. We are living in 2014, so it is about time we started acting like it.