Today (10 Nov) is "Equal Pay Day", so dubbed by the Fawcett Society campaign group, in an attempt to raise awareness of the date from which women work for free because of the difference in average pay between men and women.
The gender pay gap is 18.4% on average in the UK and women across the country, including some MPs and BBC presenters, are calling for this to end. Women's Equality Party leader Sophie Walker has urged women to set their email auto-replies to say they are "Out of Office" until the end of the year, even though they are at work. With mandatory Gender Pay Gap reporting looming ever-nearer, today feels particularly poignant.
I spoke to a Senior Economist at The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) earlier today. We discussed the issue and how other countries are facing it. He told me that the gender pay gap varies by age of worker; in general the pay gap in most OECD countries is smaller for younger people than for those that are middle age and over. Young people are actually more aware of these issues, having grown up in an age where people feel more comfortable discussing gender bias and where women feel more empowered to ask for what they want and deserve. In The Netherlands, and other OECD countries, younger females are actually earning more than men but this starts to drop off as they reach child bearing age.
The Fawcett Group is claiming it will take 100 years to close the gender pay gap in the UK. Personally, I hope that's not the case as, while we are still a way off, there are so many other things at play that have to be taken into consideration such as equal pay, unconscious bias and maternity/paternity leave. Next year marks 100 years since women were first able to vote and look how far we have come. I am optimistic that the next 100 years will bring more for gender equality than closing 18.4%...
The gap in pay between men and women will take 100 years to close, a campaign group has warned. Campaigners highlight 10 November as the point in 2017 when a woman on an average wage stops being paid relative to their male counterparts. But in some parts of the UK, the gender pay gap is so wide, it is as though women work unpaid from September. Vivienne Hayes, of the Women's Resource Centre, said progress had moved at a "snail's pace". Campaign group the Fawcett Society said that progress in closing the pay gap has "stalled". If the mean average pay gap for full time workers of 14.1% closes at the rate it has over the last five years, it won't reach 0% until 2117, it said.