Increasing income inequality is good for business, especially big business, even if it’s not good for most of us. But never mind that, let’s talk about the gender pay gap instead…
In case you missed it, January the 4th was Fat Cat Wednesday.
According to an independent London think tank (which is always a dodgy way to start a sentence), by the mid-week point of the first working week in January the UK’s top CEOs will have already made more money than an average worker will earn in the entire year.
Consequently, the purpose of Fat Cat Wednesday is to highlight this quite staggering pay gap and encourage both Theresa May’s Government and their constituents to take action.
“We hope the Government will recognise that further reform to pay practices are needed if this gap is to be closed,” The High Pay Centre
You’d be forgiven for missing the #campaign highlights because, by a remarkable coincidence, the UK’s corporate media machine spent most of Wednesday making an awful lot of noise about the ‘Gender Pay Gap’.
Indeed by the time the dust had settled the next morning someone in the Guardian was even confusingly arguing that it would probably be sexist to give women a discretionary days leave every month when aunt flo is visiting but they should definitely get an extra 12 days per annum because of…sexism.
In the UK the gender pay gap is smaller but still significant. Women in their 20s earn an average of 5% less than men of the same age, so a day off each month would be about right to equal things out. Abi Wilkinson, Guardian
For the uninitiated, the ‘Gender Pay Gap’ is something distinctly different and infinitely more complicated than the ‘Equal Pay Gap’, let alone the ‘Income Inequality Gap’ or better still the ‘Wealth Inequality Gap’.
Some people argue that the gender pay gap is a myth but EYEwouldn’t go that far.
After all, we’re only in the first few days of 2017 and already we have plenty of headlines establishing that it still very much exists in the public consciousness, even if most of us don’t really understand what it means, how big (or small) it is, why it exists or even if it’s really that much of a problem in the grand scheme of things.
Which is why on Wednesday we were witness to such a diverse narrative as: The gender pay gap halves for millennials, or is almost gone for UK women in their 20s, but British Mothers face dramatic pay gap ‘penalty’ or is the gender pay gap down to choice? or possibly the most scandalous gender pay gap may be a hidden pension gap or maybe it’s just a pity that The gender pay gap hysteria still refuses to die.
Of course, even if we can agree that most of the fat cats of this world are still pale skinned males, one inconvenient truth for the PR Department of Sophie Walker’s wee Party is that in reality not every day is International Men’s Day for every man.
Indeed, whilst only one actual day is actually International Men’s Day, there are currently at least three official equal pay awareness days scattered throughout the year (not including March 8), so you have to wonder why so many publicly payed platforms (from the Today Programme to Channel Four News) where prepared to pander to people pushing a particular pink pay perspective to the top of the corporate news agenda…on Fat Cat Wednesday of all days…
Predictably enough the entire distraction was sparked by the research findings of an(other) independent London think tank. Specifically the Resolution Foundation who, ironically enough ‘work to improve the living standards of those in Britain on low to middle incomes’ by conducting ‘authoritative analytical research on living standards in the UK that help shape the debate on economic and social policy’.
They posted an article considering the question: Is the gender pay gap on the brink of closure for young women today? And to the surprise of absolutely no one remotely paying attention concluded that the answer was… Yes, unless (or at least until) they have children.
The Resolution Foundation estimate that there is now only a 5% ‘negative’ gender pay differential between young adults. Full Fact.org reckon they’re right but then again Forbes reckon they’ve significantly mangled their sums and EYE would tend to agree because by now even the Guardian have reported that ONS statistics show there has been an (ahem) ‘positive’ gender pay gap in this age range for some time now.
EYEwas raised raised not to quibble over a small percentage on the bill (assuming we’re going dutch obviously) but ‘positive’ pay gaps aren’t going to help put the bread sauce on professional feminist’s tables, which is presumably why so many of them where so quick to embrace the latest opportunity to push the ‘relentlessly negative’ victim narrative onto the nation’s daughters and granddaughters and nieces.
[Jo Swinson] talked about how shocking it was that young women just going into the workplace still only earn 95p for every pound that a man earns when they have often been out-performing men at school and university. She says that there is no reasonable excuse for what can often be unconscious discrimination at this stage. The Liberal Democrat Voice
Which is not to say that our nation’s daughters and granddaughters and nieces aren’t necessarily going to get a worse deal than their comparatively privileged parents.
Because as Newsnight had the decency to highlight, some men and women in one of the world’s richest countries spent Fat Cat Wednesday hoking through bins for something to eat. Specifically because of a benefit sanctions regime supported by the very vast majority of our political representatives and introduced after we bailed out those fat cats.
It’s been illegal to pay someone less because of their sex since the 1970’s. That doesn’t mean that it absolutely never ever happens or that we couldn’t do more to support working parents but maybe at least one day a year ‘feminists’ should reflect on the fact that since the 1970’s onwards there has been a steady, sometimes sharp, rise in ‘negative’ income equality for almost all.
Or ‘positive’ income equality depending on how full your glass happens to be EYE guess…