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September, in my opinion, has been one of the most depressing months of the year to date. In a year where we have lost some of the greatest influencers in music, film, and British comedy we have had new twists in Brexit, but also witnessed Donald Trump continue to make a mockery of women’s rights. One step forward for the powerful business man, and ten mighty steps back for humanity. Whilst the world has become caught up in the Trump’s never ending ‘fake news’ media storm, over in the UK, it was Mums equal pay day.
The 12th of September effectively marked the time when mothers start working free compared to their male counterparts. This is addition to equal pay day, which normally falls in early November and marks the day that working woman are effectively not earning any money until the new year begins and that’s ok, apparently.
The enduring gender pay gap shows no sign of budging anytime soon. To sum this is up mathematically, woman earn roughly 86p for every £1 made by a man. So what? 14p or 9 percent, big deal? Well yes, yes it is, as this only looks at those in full time employment and flexible work patterns which mother work with. With these included that number actually grows to 18.4 percent, so it is our duty to continue to highlight it, for a better chance of being heard.
How is this still a issue?
It is 48 years since the Equal Pay Act was introduced. This was huge for working woman—there was finally some sign of a light at the end of the on-going tunnel. The act included important factors such as pregnancy discrimination awareness and re-writing the understanding of both male and female roles within the workplace. Surprisingly, it’s not only the men that can manage the high pressure, high responsibility roles, we ladies are built for that too.
Sadly, despite some recent high profile cases, the process has been slow and judging by the fact that we are fast approaching the end of 2018 and little has changed, how long can we woman be ok with that? To show you exactly how slow the process is, equal pay day was the same between 2016 and 2017 and is predicted to take a whopping 60 years to fully close, ouch. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s a little late. Not only does this show little hope for the current working generation but holds no promises for our children. Would you tell your inquisitive, smart and over achieving daughter that her work is good - but not quite good enough?
How can employers help?
Sadly, it appears that while the UK hangs on to its EU membership card, we are still considerably behind other more progressive countries in Europe. Our sister countries have shown far more compassion and intellect when it comes to understanding the importance of woman within businesses and the importance of putting time into family life, especially on the arrival of a new born. One of the most refreshing and progressive changes I have seen has to be Sweden’s generous 480 days leave for parents per child, I say generous, it’s logical and human.
This isn’t just about the money, as an employer you should know that small steps should be being made from within—we can’t all sit around and wait for Theresa May to sort this mess out. You should know that in recent years the increase in need for settlement agreement solicitors has become undeniably apparent. This means that we still aren’t getting this right, woman are still being pushed out of their roles of employment, in most cases due to the fact they are pregnant, and therefore need external support the fight for their rights as an employee. The struggle is real, and all I want to do is shout about it.
Shout about it! Make your voice heard!
Like most instances in 2018, the only real way to be heard is through social media. We, like most large and important political issues, are left to fend for ourselves—shouting about it in the hope our unity will be heard. Of course, there are some great organisations leading the fight with hashtags such as #PayGapPledge. This is all in the hope to help highlight woman’s continuous contribution to both our growing economy and society. Equality, we all deserve it.