It has been well over five decades since women started fighting for gender equality throughout all levels of society in the United Kingdom. In many respects, great strides have been made in this area.
There have been several women Prime Ministers throughout the years, female members of Parliament are now commonplace, and heads of many corporations are now women. These are great indicators of a society that is willing to abandon centuries of history and finally put women on an equal footing with men.
Why, then, is there still such a pay gap between men and women throughout society?
That’s right – there is still a noticeable pay gap when it comes to what men and women are making when doing the same job that they are equally qualified for. There is little denying, so it is something that we should continue to discuss.
Just recently it was found that men are paid more than 20 percent more than women in 1 one out of four companies operating inside Britain. Perhaps even more shocking than that fact is that this includes both private sector companies and public government agencies.
Given that equal pay is something individuals on both sides of the gender equation have been fighting over for years, this is something that many people thought would have reversed itself by now. In fact, some would argue that the problem is getting worse.
Given the fact that many more women today are living by themselves and many of those are caring for children, this pay divide is really hurting their ability to survive. In the past, the pay gap was excused by many as being reflective of a society where women were to focus on taking care of the home in the first place.
Any money that they did earn would just be used to supplement to that of their husband’s. While this line of thinking may no longer be embraced by the masses, the reality is that pay levels still remain abysmal for many women working across the United Kingdom.
If you go back just a few years, the pay divide that exists has not really shifted in the last decade. In fact, it went down just .1 percent from 2017 to 2018. When you account for inflation, this means that women actually made less than men in 2018 than they did in 2017. This is just adding salt to wounds that have persisted for decades. It has also been discovered that 8 out of every 10 companies operating inside the United Kingdom are currently paying their male workers more than their female counterparts. This statistic has drawn the interest of various members of Parliament, but legislating is another story entirely. It is more of a social issue. While the government has successfully legislated equal rights for many marginalised members of society, they are still falling short of manding economic equality particularly when it comes to private enterprise.
In the United Kingdom, any organisation that employs more than 250 people must publish their own internal figures when it comes to a gender pay gap. Even charitable organisations must do the same. What has been discovered is that the problem we just talked about is not reversing. In fact, well over 2,500 companies are paying women more than 20 percent less than men. Compare that with the less than 100 that are paying women more than 20 percent than men and it is easy to see where the problem lies. The gap should be narrowing, but it is not. Part of the reason that this requirement exsits is to encourage businesses to evaluate their salary scale each year in an effort to make sure it is equitable. What the government is finding is that this effort is largely not working. Companies are just filing the information because they have to. Once the numbers are submitted, they are quickly forgotten.
Moving forward, the pay gap between genders will continue to be talked about. This is a positive development that has come about because of increase gender quality throughout British society. At the same time, just talking about it does not solve the problem. There is still much work to be done if women want to finally be paid the same amount as men when it comes to qualifications and years on the job.