Disclaimer:
picture credit: Steph Martin

Note: I was going through a few of my things to re-organise and came across this op-ed I wrote in 2015 on the gender pay gap. It is still, unfortunately relevant. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported: Among all employees the [gender pay] gap fell from 17.8% in 2018 to 17.3% in 2019. The official figure of 17.3% is based on the average hourly earnings of all workers, both full-time and part-time. It means that, for every £100 a man earns, a woman earns £82.70. It’s revolting how, in 2020, this is still happening.

Feminism. It’s a word that evokes a wide range of emotions, and many people STILL mistake those who are feminists for being man-hating, irrational misandrists, but this is clearly not the case. According to the Oxford Dictionary, feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes and not only is this desirable, but it’s morally essential if we are to enjoy an open, free and democratic society.

For over two hundred years, people have been told that feminists are a group of women that hate men, but really, what crazy things were these man-hating, anti-family, anti-God, radical hedonists asking for? The right to vote, right to own property, get an education. The right to enjoy all of the reasonable things that men have taken for granted throughout history.

It seems like the very idea of women aiming to break through the glass ceiling and reach levels of success is terrifying to those who are so used to patriarchal traditions and the way things were in the past. And so, the thought of a group of women joining together to fight for their rights and attempt to get equality for both sexes is absurd. And on a scale of one to ten? It’s an eleven.

But surely, you may ask, this was all sorted in the 1960’s, wasn’t it? The answer to this is an emphatic no. Recently the female workers at ASDA, Britain’s second largest retailer, had to take a mass legal action against the industry, because they were being underpaid, compared to their male counterparts. 

Recent reports have shown that the gender pay gap is still a problem. In 2013, the difference was 19.7%, which means that the average woman is earning 19.7% less than the average man per hour. But that doesn’t matter at all, does it? Women don’t need to be paid the same amount as their male colleagues; women don’t need to be taken seriously, because women are expected to settle down, get married and give birth to a child one day. Women exist to solely serve men and men’s needs and men’s desires.

It’s 2015, but with the way things are going, it’s almost as if we’ve travelled back in time. The American Association of University Women’s research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, shows the occupation, degree achieved, hours worked, family commitments and other factors and reveals that university-educated women working full time are still paid 7% less than their male counterparts were paid one year after graduating. 

Trust me, these statistics exist and aren’t just made up by money-crazy, men-hating feminists in order for women to achieve equal pay. 

Emma Watson, appointed Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women (great job, Emma. Hermione would love you), said “I am from Britain, and I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.” 

And Emma is right. Women need to be given the same respect as men, be paid equally and not be discriminated against for having body parts that push out babies. It is imperative that the gender pay gap needs to be closed. As Sleeman said, “I know that women alone cannot close the gender pay gap. We need policymakers to do their part.” 

It’s time for a woman’s income to rise and catch up with the 21st century; it’s another year, and there still has been almost next to nothing done to secure the rights of women to equal pay in the workplace. If not now, when?

Posted by:Sumaiya Ahmed

i aim to challenge the cultural toxicity of the south asian community and the bs "what will people say" terminology that causes such detrimental harm to so many of us brown girls.

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