The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

10 reasons why the gender pay gap matters to you

What you should know about the gender pay gap and why it’s a bigger problem than you might think…

By

Women are being paid less than men despite working in the same offices on the same jobs. Research shows that female bosses work for ‘free’ for two hours a day, getting paid almost a quarter less than men in the same positions. Would you agree to work a ten hour shift but get paid for eight? Of course not. The gender pay gap begins as soon as you graduate. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the average graduate salary for male graduates is £2,000 higher than that for female counterparts. Women in management are both under-represented and under-paid. The CMI/XPertHR survey found that 67 per cent of entry-level jobs in management are done by women, yet they make up only 29 per cent of company directors in management roles… and even when they do reach those roles, they earn on average 11 per cent less than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap is present in most fields. If management is sounding a bit grim now, you could enter the wonderful world of architecture, where women can earn up to 25 per cent less than their male counterparts. Or even more lucrative, finance, where the pay gap can be as high as 40 per cent. Even winning the Hunger Games won’t help you with gender equality—Jennifer Laurence was paid significantly less than her male co-stars in American Hustle despite having a major role in the film. The pay gap is an international problem. According to Eurostat, there’s only Poland and Italy in all of Europe in which women get paid more than men. The UK does not look great in comparison, and in fact, South East England has one of the largest pay gaps within the continent. The World Economic Forum believes it will take 118 years to close the pay gap, so David Cameron’s claims to put an end to the gender pay gap by the next generation don’t sound too feasible. His plan of requiring companies with over 250 employees to publish the pay gap in their workplaces is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t force businesses to act upon them. The gender pay gap appears to be decreasing, but not necessarily because women are being paid more. Although the Office for National Statistics found the gender pay gap this year (9.4 per cent) is the lowest compared to previous years, it’s suggested to be due to men’s wages decreasing rather than women’s increasing. No one wins there. The reasons behind the gender pay gap are problematic. They range from straight-up gender discrimination to the ‘motherhood penalty’, which is the disadvantage women face when it comes to pay and career advancement after having a child. In contrast, men appear to benefit from a ‘fatherhood bonus’, which is a double standard if there ever was one. It influences people’s views on a woman’s worth unintentionally. A 2012 study found that participants assigned lower starting salaries to women than men even though they were presented with CVs with identical content but just female or male names.