Working (Wo)Mum's Pay Equality - I don't think so

>>  Sunday, February 20, 2011

Here's a statistic for you:

Women work 2/3 of the world's working hours but earn only 10% of the world's income(GuidingUK Winter 2010)

Just ponder it for a moment.  It's a statistic that needs a little thinking about for the reality of what it means hits home.

Thinking about the UK only:

If you are a mum with young children, this is how likely you are to be working compared to a man based on the age of your children.  This makes sense.  The detail is here.

Source: Office For National Statistics

But consider this:

Women on average earned 16% less than men, widening to 27% for women aged 40.

Maybe it's because women work part time jobs, the lower end of the pay scale I hear you say? No, look at this:

Source : Economic and Labour Market Review
By the time you are working 90 hours a week, the pay gap is 27%.  Who works 90 hours week?  Doctors, executives, plumbers?  We aren't talking school teaching assistants.

Why should we earn 27% less than our male counterparts?  If we are as well qualified, experienced, committed, then why?

Apparently women don't bargain as well for a higher wage and the industry we are in makes a difference.  IT and the pharmaceutical industries are the worst where the gaps are £17,736 and £14,018 respectively.  I am in IT and I know men I work with that are paid considerably more than me.

I know I could have more at work now than I do, I have turned down opportunity after opportunity.  I give up my overtime and on-call as much as possible to some of the men I work with. They are keen for the money, I am keen to get home to be with my family.

I can see my life in 10 years time, an empty house, no name labels to sew!  Why would I want to sit in an office until midnight and beyond when I want to be there when my daughter goes to bed.  Why would I rush to work to show the boss how keen I am, when I want to talk about the days plans over a sit down breakfast with my daughter before she goes to school.  Very very soon she won't need me.  And I guess my managers know, no matter how many suits I wear, that if the call from school comes I will drop everything and leave.

I believe that is why we are paid less. We cannot ever commit 100% to our careers if we have a family to look after too.

But is that extra focus a man may give worth 27%? 

Hmmm - do you know I'm really not sure, I believe complete commitment, blood letting commitment  to work,  is worth 27%.  But do all men give that, no of course they don't and besides not all working women are mums.

The flexible working legislation has done a lot to help mums back into work but when 'sick child' call comes from school I guess it is the mum that has to answer it much more often than the dad.

Being a working mum is hard, harder than anyone other than a working mum knows.  Often saddled with guilt, half a job done at home, half  commitment at work and discrimination from both employers and SAHMs alike.

It's all going to change in 2057 apparently!  I wonder if you have ever been introduced to Mary Macarthur. She led the Women Chainmakers of Cradley Health in a battle to establish the right to a fair wage.   I am proud of what she fought for and in awe of her great inner strength and tenacity.

I would debate for longer but I've got to juggle school holiday childcare, work packups, a presentation to finish for tomorrow and a mountain of childcare before bed, best run!

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