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Official data from the Department for Education (DfE) indicates that women are more likely to be in work after graduation than men, but earn less from the very start of their careers.
The gender pay gap is the percentage difference between average hourly earnings for men and women.
By 4 April 2018 every company with more than 250 employees must publish a report which details their gender pay gap.
The introduction of mandatory pay gap reporting shows that women are systematically undervalued in the workplace.
The report revealed that nine out of ten public sector employers pay men more than women, with women paid on average 14% less than their male colleagues.
Robert Joyce, associate director at The Institute for Fiscal Studies said: “traditionally it has been lower-educated women whose wages were especially low relative to similarly educated men.
“It is now the highest-educated women whose wages are the furthest behind their male counterparts – and this is particularly related to the fact that they lose out so badly from working part-time.”
Women seem to be like men, only cheaper.
But as students, what can we do?
In a fight for equality, we must use the data produced by the gender pay gap to promote action and change gender-based stereotypes and the culture of part-time and flexible work.
#PayMeToo encourages women to find out what the pay gap is where they work, what their employer is doing to reduce the gap and crucially, allows women to talk to their co-workers about their wages. #PayMeToo is a cross party group of MPs, led by Labour MP, Stella Creasy, who aim to tackle the gender pay gap and fight for equality in Britain.
“If we are serious about tackling the gender pay gap then we have to do more than publish data – we have to show we’re watching what happens next,” said Creasy.
The #PayMeToo campaign gives practical advice on how to talk about the gender pay gap at work and exactly what rights employees have to do just that.
The latest statistics from the DfE show that female graduates take home around £1,600 less than their male peers a year after graduation in the year 2015-16, with a typical salary of £18,300, compared with £19,900 for men.
“The difference between male and female median earnings also increases with years after graduation – male earnings were 9% larger than female earnings one year after graduation, 11% larger at three years after graduation, 13% larger five years after graduation and 30% larger at 10 years after graduation.”
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “No woman should be held back just because of her gender.
“We now have the lowest gender pay gap for full-time workers on record, and more women in work than ever before.
“But we know there’s more to do – that’s why the UK is one of the first countries in the world to require employers to publish their gender pay and gender bonus gap.”
According to research conducted by The Fawcett Society, at the current pace of change, it will be another hundred years before women are earning as much as men.
But has gender pay gap data publicity going to boost this change? If it empowers women to resist the male misogyny of why their wages differ then yes, perhaps. Time will tell but most social revolutions start with a seemingly small step.