EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK

 

For anyone who doesn’t believe that the gender pay gap between women and men exists, here are some statistics and some links to some statistics.

“When calculated using the mean rather than the median, women’s hourly pay was 16.4 per cent less than men’s pay for full-time employees, 13.2 per cent less than men’s pay for part-time employees and 20.2 per cent less for all employees. The mean pay gaps for full-time, part-time and all employees in 2008 were 17.4 per cent, 15.2 per cent and 21.3 per cent respectively.”

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=167

And, over in the USA according to the latest US Census figures:

“Based on the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers, women’s earnings were $35,745 and men’s earnings were $46,367. Median earnings for most women of color are even lower. In 2008, the earnings for African American women were $31,489, 67.9 percent of men’s earnings (a drop from 68.7 percent in 2007), and Latinas’ earnings were $26,846, 58 percent of men’s earnings (a drop from 59 percent in 2007). Asian American women’s earnings in 2008 were $42,215 — 91 percent of men’s earnings, an increase from 89.5 percent in 2007.”

http://www.pay-equity.org/

See also here, for further details:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male%E2%80%93female_income_disparity_in_the_United_States

And, again, according to the statistical office of the European Commission:

“On average, women in Europe earn almost one fifth (18 percent) less than their male counterparts… “

And for a brief glance at the picture world wide:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_gender_gap

Are things improving even slowly?  In fact, as covered in one of the links above, there’s also evidence to show that the gender pay gap is actually getting wider rather than narrowing.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/censusandstatistics/a/paygapgrows.htm

A strong factor in why the majority of women workers get paid far less than the majority of men workers is that the type of jobs and professions which are predominantly female-dominated are grossly undervalued in a male-dominated, sexist world. Take, for example, the fact that professions such as nursing, secretarial and admin work and cleaning are much, much lower-paid than professions that are male-dominated.

In fact, not only are the so-called ‘pink-collar jobs’ much lower-paid than those in which males predominate but they are typically well below the average wage for each particular country – including developed economies such as the USA and the western EU countries.   Most secretarial, admin and cleaning jobs, for instance, don’t even provide for a decent living wage. The assumption that women don’t need to work in order to survive – in fact the heterosexist assumption that a woman will only work for ‘pocket money’ until she gets married to a male who will be the main breadwinner is still – even at the beginning of the 21st century – very much alive.

Of course, these assumptions (by a patriarchal male dominated ruling class) have never been true. For instance, in the UK, when women were prevented from working in occupations such as mining (and still are) as a result of the 1844 Factory Act this even led to desperate female miners (suddenly deprived of a means of living) disguising themselves as men in order to find work. Of course, banning women from working down the mines was all packaged up as chivalrous concern for womankind – yet if 19th century sex work was treated with such sensitivity by the authorities there might have far less child prostitution in Victorian Britain.

Although standards of living (at least in some parts of the world) have undoubtedly improved over the last 170 odd years – and, yes, now some countries even have laws about equal pay; have societal attitudes and expectations of women and work changed that much since the early days of the Industrial Revolution?

No, if the widespread preponderance of the seemingly automatic assumption that a man is always going to be the main breadwinner is anything to go by.

It’s also a sad indictment of the priorities of certain societies, when female-dominated jobs like nursing and teaching (the caring professions) pay far less than male-dominated jobs such as finance and banking roles etc.  

Seemingly then, caring for people (particularly those most likely to be vulnerable – the very young and the very old and the very ill) and even saving lives is seen as far less important than making one’s own personal fortune by gambling with other people’s money.

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