Happy Equal Pay Day!

It’s October 30th today – 1 day before Halloween, 55 days until Christmas and 61 days left of 2009!gender pay gap

 The reason today is Equal Pay Day is that it marks the date after which women in the UK effectively work for free while their male counterparts continue to get paid, due to a 17% pay gap between men and women in full time work.

 So ladies, taken as an average, when you look at the blokes around you in the office over the remaining 61 days of the year imagine they’re getting paid while you’re volunteering…see how that affects your job satisfaction!

 There are of course regional variations and Northern Ireland, surprisingly, is better than the national average with a gap of 9.5% which means we just miss out on our December paycheck.

 It’s worth remembering that the gender pay gap records differences in pay for full time workers doing similar or equal work, and worth noting this does not take into account the financial inequality between women and men due to women having a much higher percentage of unpaid caring role than men and having to take on part time jobs as a result. (93% of male employees in Northern Ireland work full time while only 64% of women employees do.) There are a number of barriers women face to getting into full time employment and as the gender pay gap reminds us, even when they get there, they are being undervalued and paid unfairly.

 It has become very common in recent years for people to use the fact that girls tend to outperform boys in school as evidence that women no longer have a case to fight on issues of equality in the workplace. However, despite statistics that boast success at school and university level (75% of girls in Northern Ireland go to uni while only 56% of boys do) this does not translate into their careers. At management level men have managed to overtake with 12% of working men in Northern Ireland being managers or senior officials and only 8% of women reaching this level. For more fun statistics like this check out the Gender Equality Strategy launched in 2006 by OFMDFM. Incidently, almost 4 years later they’ve only just begun the process of putting together the Action Plans necessary to turn this nice idea into a reality.

 So the next time someone tries to tell you women have equality in this country and feminists are just a bunch of whingers, perhaps you could politely point out that they are wrong.

 Happy Equal Pay Day!

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