It's Equal Pay Day - but what do you know about the gender pay gap?

So today is #EqualPayDay, and here at Expertrain HQ, we're all for anything that makes us feel healthier and happier, so we thought we'd look into what everyone's talking about! Work takes up so much of our lives that it is really important to enjoy what you do and be happy in your job. But what happens when you're affected by workplace inequality?

The gender pay gap

Did you know that the pay gap between the genders means the average female worker earns 14.5% less than her male colleagues? This pay gap widens with age, becoming most noticeable for women in their 40s and 50s. It means that from today, women will effectively be working for free for the last 52 days of the year!

So ladies, you might as well clock off early today and make a head-start on your Christmas shopping; if you don't want to be working for free, that is. The gender pay gap doesn't just affect low paid workers and high-flying financial executives working in the city; it can affect anyone, working in any industry. But surely there's something we can do to change things?

Pay gap in education

A report on the university salaries of senior scientists revealed that female scientists earn thousands of pounds less than their male colleagues - despite working similar hours and carrying out similar duties (so that's the same work/life balance then!) On average, women are paid around £5,000 less than men for a university science professorship. However the difference at some educational institutions, such as the London School of Economics, was as high as £21,000.

It's not just salaries that are affected either - a Freedom of Information request to over 90 universities across the UK revealed that male scientists are far more likely than female scientists to reach the top of their profession - and they'll be paid more once they get there. A survey revealed that 50 male professors at London School of Economics, working in the geography, maths and economics departments, earned an average salary of £117,000 a year - in contrast the 9 female professors in the same departments earned an average of just £96,000 a year. A report in the Sunday Times showed the average annual salary for the 126 male professors in Bristol University's science faculty was £91,500, with the 11 female professors earning on average £70,300. Whilst the gender pay gap was less for other universities, it's clear that women are still generally outnumbered and underpaid.

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A worldwide issue

In case you thought moving abroad would boost your salary; it's not worth it. It's not just the UK where the gender pay gap has affected women's earnings. In the UK, women make 86p for every £1 their male colleagues earn. In the US, it's 88p to £1 and in China the pay gap is even greater, with female employees earning just 75p for every £1 male employees make.

Times are changing

But have things changed any over the past few years? A comparison of salaries revealed that in general the gender pay gap has narrowed in recent years, but men on average are still earning significantly more than women. Campaigners have warned that based on the tiny reduction in the pay gap last year, it would take 54 years for women's pay to reach a level equal to that of mens.

What can you do?

9th November 2015 is Equal Pay Day, so what can you do to change things? Well, women need to take control and be more assertive - demand equal treatment! Men often find it easier to talk about money, negotiating deals and pay rises with their employers. It's true that men often overvalue their contribution to a company whilst as women we tend to undervalue what we bring to the table. Modesty and humbleness are great qualities - but they're never going to help you get the equal pay you deserve! If you're working the same hours and have the same experience as your male colleagues but are being paid less, then do something about it; be confident and complain! The more people stand up for their rights, the more likely it is that Equal Pay Day won't exist in the future (and the happier you will be at work).

Women make every bit as valuable a contribution to society as men; so we should be paid accordingly. It's time we closed the gender pay gap - that's if you don't want to work for free for the next 52 days! With commitment from employers and the government and action from men and women at work, the gender pay gap could be consigned to history.

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Author By Paula Beaton
Date On 9th Nov 2015 at 13:09

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