Mind the Yawning Chasm
This year Equal Pay Day in the US was April 10th – approximately the day the typical woman must work into the New Year to make what the typical man earned at the end of the previous year. Overall, women in the United States were paid just 80cents for every dollar paid to men -though the gap is far wider for women of colour compared to white, non-Hispanic men – and for mums compared to dads! British men on average earn 19% more than British women. To make the same money as men, women have to work up to a quarter of a year more.
PICTURE: Julia Andrews-Clifford
Aside from recent revelations about the pay gap of actors and TV presenters, the issue for ordinary men and women seems to come down to two things: the type of jobs women choose and their lack of experience in negotiating pay. In Time Magazine Christina Hoff Sommers noted that the gender pay gap figure “does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure or hours worked per week,” and that when those factors are considered, “the wage gap narrows to the point of vanishing.”
Really? Isn’t that exactly the point. When will careers that have traditionally been perceived as women’s, such as teaching and nursing, simply be given equal value with banking and management salaries? When will career breaks and part-time work be considered necessary requirements for a capitalist society that relies on unpaid childcare. Masculinist arguments always point to women making changes along the lines of ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ rather than tackling the fundamental inequalities within paid
work hierarchies and the disproportionate value placed on certain kinds of jobs. Not to mention part-time pay for full-time hours!