Gender pay gap: keep the ‘pity payments’

Joanna Williams has written a really interesting article published in the Times Higher yesterday (16th June), exploring the gender pay gap, and arguing that one-off sums ‘reward biology rather than merit.’

”The current discourse promotes a false perception that women are disadvantaged in academia and need special treatment to achieve equal status with their male colleagues. One-off payments to “compensate” for the average gender pay gap, such as the one made at Essex, reward biology rather than merit. They suggest that women should be paid more just for being female, rather than for publishing papers or generating funding. Female academics have no need for such pity-payments. Finally, the gender obsession detracts from other, far greater, pay inequalities. Many women employed by universities work in catering or housekeeping. They clean the offices and make the coffee for academics. I suspect that they may well be envious of the additional £4,000 female professors at Essex are about to receive.”

These is currently considerable debate surrounding all of these topics and this is likely to continue.  What do you think?


Why Such Tepid Government Aspirations?

On 16th July Athene Donald published a blog post about the gender pay gap, and how equality needs to be on everyone’s agenda.

‘………. changing a workplace culture doesn’t happen overnight. It is hard and many women will still suffer setbacks and possibly victimisation for speaking out. Everyone has to play their part and, unfortunately, not everyone wants to. People have axes to grind, egos to fuel or just intrinsic blindness to the lack of equality surrounding them. Management has to take a clear lead so that they are responsive to the issues every time they are raised.’

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What needs to be done at the University of Reading?  What more can we as individuals do?

Plans to tackle gender pay gap

One of the main stories on the BBC News website today is about plans to tackle the gender pay gap.

‘The government is to press ahead with plans to force large firms to disclose data on the gender pay gap among staff.  A consultation on the measure – introduced in the final months of the coalition – is to begin on Tuesday.  David Cameron will say the move will “pressure” firms into boosting women’s wages, as he vows to eliminate the gender pay gap “within a generation”.

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Although not covered by this initiative, at the University of Reading there is a 25% pay gap between genders at Grades 9 and above.  This was highlighted at a recent ‘Ask the Board’ event as an issue which needs to be tackled.  How can this be changed?  In the long-term how can this be prevented from happening again?