Friday 30th October is Equal Pay Day

by Helen G // 30 October 2009, 07:45

Equal Pay DayFriday 30th October is Equal Pay Day, a day of action lead by the Fawcett Society to draw attention to the fact that, on average, women’s full time mean hourly pay is 17.1% less than men’s. 30th October symbolically marks the last pay cheque that women receive in a year because, compared with men, we work on average for about two months a year without pay.

For women in science, engineering and technology (SET) - which includes IT workers like me - the pay gaps both between men and women, and between different kinds of SET occupations, show no evidence of closing:

pay-gap.jpg

(Image via BCS)

SET occupations don't show the same extremes in pay differentials between the highest and lowest paid compared with other occupations. And if you're a woman working in a SET occupation, you are more likely to be receiving similar remuneration to that of you male colleagues than women working elsewhere. But at the lower levels of SET occupations especially in skilled trades, part-time women’s hourly earnings are much less than the full-time earnings of women or men in the same occupations.

But there's no cause for complacency: there is a gender pay gap in SET occupations - as there is in virtually all occupations - and it shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon.

To find out more, you can visit the Equal Pay Day blog (link here), or go to the Fawcett Society website's page (link here) to sign the online petition and download further resources and information.

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Cross-posted at Bird of Paradox

Comments From You

sianmarie // Posted 30 October 2009 at 08:55

for bristol readers of the F word , come down to the equal pay demo tonight at college green, 6pm.
a very necessary and important fight!

gadgetgal // Posted 30 October 2009 at 11:40

There was an interesting article in the Guardian about equal pay day and the Leeds rubbish dispute (where refuse collectors' money is actually being lowered instead of carers' pay being raised to be equal, basically dodgy council tactics to get out of spending more money) but I made the mistake of looking at the comments - wow, people really have no idea, do they?

Here's the link, though, if you want any more info:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/30/equal-pay-day-women-earnings-leeds-dispute

Just avoid the comments bit unless you're building up for a boxing match or an ice hockey game or something, that's all I'm saying!

Qubit // Posted 30 October 2009 at 14:00

The Leeds bin men's scenario though seems to be proof that for women to make gains men have to make losses. The council aren't going to back down and it does feel like a situation of evil women taking money from men. I'd like to be paid equal to a man doing a job of a similar skill level and difficulty but I have to admit it doesn't seem a reasonable request or one that is likely to be fulfilled anytime soon.

gadgetgal // Posted 30 October 2009 at 14:43

@Qubit

It's a killer for women at the moment - if the councils do what they've been asked they won't be able to afford it (although judging by the spending on some councils maybe if they cut back on certain freebies, over-priced contracts handed out to friends and various party times then they might be able to!); if they try to shimmy their way out of it like Leeds then women will look like the bad guys; but if the councils don't do as they've been asked women will still not be remunerated correctly for the work they do. Any which way you look at it we're still losing!

I still think, even with the bad example Leeds have set, that forcing councils and then businesses to do it is the only way - if you leave it up to them decide when it will happen it seems to remain more of an "if it will happen" situation! And I'm not a big fan of instituting self-regulation, it relies too much on people automatically knowing and wanting to do the right thing, which isn't often the case when it comes to money!

sianmarie // Posted 30 October 2009 at 15:20

qubit - the fact is it should seem a reasonable request. it shouldn't seem wrong or out of order to want equal pay for equal work. the fact that women are being made to look bad for wanting what they have the right to - equal pay to equal work, just goes to show how horribly women-blaming our culture can be, when in fact it is the councils, managers and corporations who cheat women who are at fault.

sianmarie // Posted 30 October 2009 at 15:51

argh i didn't take the advice and started reading the comments! i left rather a rude one about how i was quitting CIF...

what always winds me up are the commenters who tell fawcett society/feminist activists to "stop complaining and do something" - which we do! all the time! fawcett are constantly active, and far more active than most the people waxing lyrical on CIF about how they know better than any experts...rage!!

the pay gap exists. we all know it does. it just scares people to admit it.

i'm off to my demo to make a noise and protest and be active!

Jess // Posted 30 October 2009 at 16:16

@Qubit Just to add to what @gadgetgal and @sianmarie have said, which I agree with, I really don't think there's any way to spin this that it's "evil" for women to expect to be paid fair wages; the question is that bin men also fair pay. The Leeds case demonstrates for me how totally embedded inequality is, and how difficult the struggle is, because without being structurally sexist in its payroll, the council (at least claims) it cannot even afford to function.

Rosalind // Posted 31 October 2009 at 16:48

@Qubit If the council hadn't broken the law in the first place then they wouldn't be in the situation of upsetting men now. The current bad situation is entirely their responsiblity not their employees' - male or female.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 01 November 2009 at 11:23

Leeds council are deliberately using the issue of female employee's lower pay compared to male employee's as a convenient way of blaming women for supposedly 'reducing the male breadwinner's living wage.'

Reducing male employees' salary in order to bring it in line with female employees' salaries is not the answer. Leeds council must look at their overall budget and reduce unnecessary expenditure. This means reducing top managers' pay if necessary, rather than always targetting the lower paid and especially low paid female council employees.

Leeds council can find the money but they are trying to evade implementing the law on equal pay. The only ones to blame are Leeds Council - not women because women, despite claims to the contrary should have equal pay for work which is comparable to men's. This is the central argument but as always giving women equal pay challenges male domination and pseudo male rights.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 01 November 2009 at 14:06

Sorry to pile on here but - Look at how angry the binman are at being asked to work for those for wages! Why shouldn't women be equally angry and demanding better pay? By paying less, the council are saying their female staff are worth less and their work is less valuable.

Kit // Posted 02 November 2009 at 13:36

I find it very hard to believe refuse collectors are the most overpaid of council employees. On the news this morning, one man was saying his annual wage would go from something like 19k to 14k after they reorganise everyone's wages! Are people in other areas employed by/ who work for the council getting the same kind of pay cut?

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