Mixed messages, lost in the noise

Continuing the build up up towards the next general election, amongst todays twitter noise are calls from Labour to address gender pay inequality Equal pay ‘still 60 years off’ – The Times & Exclusive: Equal pay is ‘60 years away,’ claims new research – The Independant.  Sounds laudable but, if you’re like me, you see these headlines and assume that they’re talking about the lack of women in the upper echelons of the pay scale and dismiss them as simply the hopes of ambitious women that they will be prematurely promoted in an attempt to bring the figures closer together … and the Cynic in me still feels that this is part of the truth but …

The actual story is about the fact that a very large proportion of women work in the lowest paid forms of employment and with the worst conditions of employment.  Yes, women are not equally (though possibly still ‘fairly’) represented in senior paid positions but sliding a few women into those roles would not actually make that much difference to the overall picture.  To truly start evening up the score, minimum wages have to be liveable and should reflect local conditions.  Control of minimum wage figures should be set and controlled locally, reflective of local living costs.  Women will rise to senior positions (and salaries) once they’ve served their time and earned their place at the table; if there is a culture that prevents that then that culture needs to change but artificially bumping women up isn’t the answer and it isn’t the answer to tackling gender pay inequalities.

The Cynic in me feels that, if you take ‘senior positions’ off the table then some of the interest shown in gender pay inequality would slink off.  Nothing wrong with being ambitious and nothing wrong with trying to game the system but ethically unsound to use a vulnerable and under-represented group for your purpose.

Leave a Reply