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The gender pay gap is the difference between male and female earnings.
What does it entail?
It reduces women’s lifetime earnings and also affects their pensions, it’s, in fact, one of the principal causes of poverty in later life for women.
In the UK the law regarding Equal Pay for Equal Work (without distinctions about the sex) date back to 1970, though today the gender pay gap is around 20%, this means that for £1 earned by men women will earn just 80p.
What are the causes of the gender pay gap?
Women’s competencies and skills are often undervalued, so women frequently earn less than men for doing jobs of equal value. Funny, if we consider that IQ scores are on average higher than men’s, they graduate with the highest marks and even on multitasking they are far superior to men
Women are furthermore penalised because of the biggest gift they could offer: life. Recent research showed that women are promoted at lower rates than men. On 10 possible promotions, 8 will be assigned to men and only 2 to women. Their status as mothers may mean that organisations question their commitment to work (being a father does not seem to create similar effects).
Gender pay gap also reflects the gendered division of household labour which is considered “women’s duty”. Domestic work is not equally shared between men and women, so women have more frequent career breaks, mostly to bring up children. In this way, women have an additional job, a job that no one will recognise.
The gender pay gap is a complex issue that has its roots in our cultural heritage. We live a contradictory reality: on one side we declare to be the modern, emancipated society. On the other side we are conditioned from our birth to distinct different roles between genders. We relate with a world where equality has been reached, but just on paper.
Gender equality is not solely women’s issues. All manners of inequality will lead to social inequality. And, unfortunately, social inequality often lead to the violence led by the belief, in this case, of a gender superiority.
On this 25thNovember I, therefore, urge you to take to the streets in protest against society’s mentality, with the strong conviction that violence can be beaten just by fighting stereotypes and inequalities.
Alice Zanola, correspondant from England