2020 marks half a century since the enactment of the Equal Pay Act of 1970, however, there are still disparities today as 78% of Britain’s top employers reported a percentage gap in 2020.
The Gender Pay Gap refers to the difference in earnings made by men in comparison to women, for the same role in the workplace. PayScale reported, on average in 2020, women made 0.81cents for every 1$ a man made. The closing of this gap has increased since 1970, however, it is now slowing down once more (it has shrunk by 0.1$ since 2015)
It is universally acknowledged that there has been prejudice against women in the workplace for hundreds of years. Businesses are fighting to claim a place on Forbes’ list of the Best Employers for Women, Campaigns like Bridge The Gap and Fair Pay Campaign are flourishing… but why is there a need for this in the 21st century? Surely women should not have to actively search for a diverse employer or worry about the disparity between their income and their male counterparts.
Why did the Gender Pay Gap become apparent?
Women have, historically, been more likely to leave work due to childcare or seek lower-paid positions that offer more flexibility.
There is also an unconscious bias against women, with 42% of women admitting they have experienced this by employers.
Women with children often suffer from the motherhood penalty (discrimination due to their child-bearing abilities).
However, society is changing. It has become more frequent (and socially accepted) for women to choose their careers over motherhood, often freezing their eggs for later use, or moving past the idea as a whole. Furthermore, the ideals of modern marriage have changed aspects of life at home. The term ‘househusbands’ has become more and more popular since 2015, with more men choosing fatherhood over being the dominant income-bearer. It is not just women who are discriminated against in the workplace, and this fact is often overlooked, many men are victimised for choosing on such a 'feminised role', such as childcare rather than work, heavily impacting on their mental health.
So, although the disparity between the incomes of men and women is smaller than ever, it is still prominent – and it shouldn’t be. Women should not be penalised for prioritising their career. Women should not be shamed for prioritising their children. Women and men should not be discriminated against for choices made in regard to their happiness.
Please visit the Fawcett Society, Pay Scale or McKinsey for more information on The Gender Pay Gap, and how we can help to diminish this disparity.