The gender equality pay divide – is it our own fault?

The BBC today released the salaries of it’s top celebrity earners and it turns out that Claudia Winkleman, the BBC’s top female earner is earning four times less than Gary Lineker, the top earning man. When you look at figures like this, it is blatantly obvious something needs to change. There is a massive gender equality pay divide to be dealt with.

Is this the BBC displaying a flagrant disregard for equality? Are they saying that their male employees are that much better than their female counterparts? I bet your bottom dollar that you are about to read a wealth of posts, articles and outrages suggesting just that.

Whilst, I admit that I am shocked at the massive pay divide between the men and the women gracing our screens, I have to say that actually I’m more shocked by the fact that someone wants to pay Danny Dyer over £400k for acting that bad! Anyway I doubt, perhaps naively, that this is a deliberate or active attempt at gender discrimination. To me, it seems much more of a passive type of discrimination – a hangover from the working standards of the 1970s if you like. People are just doing it, paying those salaries because they always have and it is not being challenged enough.

Don’t get me wrong, gender discrimination gets my goat, it really does. There is no excuse for paying someone less money based on their reproductive organs and this openness from the BBC is setting this argument alight once again. Whilst it will now be incredibly awkward on the Strictly judging panel, opening up this conversation can really only be a positive thing.

So then ladies, here we are in 2017 faced with another fight and another battle to narrow the gender divide that apparently is still alive and well. Are you ready to man your stations (er no pun intended sorry) ladies? Yes?

Because this one is down to us. Yes really.

Gender discrimination you see, is something that I know quite a bit about. I have done plenty of research and sat through many HR seminars on subjects pertaining to womens rights in the workplace. And the resounding evidence is that actually, women are now being paid less than men because they don’t have the balls to ask for what they are worth.

Seriously.

I’ve heard time and time again about how men will march into the bosses office and demand a pay rise based on the fact that they are quite clearly, masters of the universe . They don’t start their conversations with “I’m sorry but” or any kind of apology or uncertainty. They are more often than not factual, concise and to the point. “I want more money and I’m worth it because of xyz reasons.” No emotions, no “because I’ve been here so long I deserve it” type conversations. The ones who claim the top dollar are the ones who really believe in their worth and aren’t afraid to tell you.

I have asked a few men that I know and they have agreed, they would have no hesitation in doing this.

Women on the other hand, will largely behave in the opposite manner. I speak for myself and many of my friends when I say, we are far more likely to just pussyfoot around the subject, fearing that if we behaved in such a manner, it would be perceived as “arrogant” or too “aggressive”. Heaven forbid.

There is strong evidence to suggest that women are actually brilliant at getting their heads down and doing a good job but that they they then sit back and just hope that their superiors will sit up and take notice. News flash – they won’t notice and then more often than not your male counterpart will have been paid more than you for the same job because they had the balls to ask for it.

The sad truth of the matter is, in a corporate and cut throat workplace such as the BBC (yes even Spring Watch has its ambitious streak) you have to stand up and shout about your own abilities in a confident manner. You have to be good at what you do or at least pretend you are (are you listening Mr Dyer?) and you then have to stand up and confidently say to your superiors – this is what I’m worth.

It’s harder than it sounds and I don’t know why. Maybe because we are naturally a bit more modest or maybe because we have it ingrained to us not to ask for more or to make do with our lot in life. Whatever the reasons are for this reticence, it’s bullshit and it has to stop.

The BBC is obviously showing an extreme end of a salary scale but what it highlights is exactly this – we women need to pick the baton of equality back up, show the world we are shit hot at our jobs and then confidently and clearly make it known that our worth is as great as anyone else’s.

Gender equality still has some way to go and this is going to be another challenge.

This is our fight ladies and this time the balls are firmly in our court.

Good luck!

x

 

 

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