November 7th is a crucial date in the fight for equal pay between men and women; the gender pay-gap means that, as of this point, women are working for free until the end of the year.
The word ‘feminist’ was once attached to images of protests, Suffragette marches and posters of strong, independent women flexing their muscles, saying: ‘we can do it’.
Thanks to the suffragette’s and the feminism movement, women gained the right to vote and, for the first time, women were starting to be viewed as equals.
It seems odd to think about now – women being seen as unintelligent, baby-making machines and, often at times, even as punching bags.
This opinion has certainly changed, well, at least it’s not socially acceptable to publicly voice these sexist stereotypes in the 21st century.
So, one might ask, what is there to complain about now? It appears as though there is a certain apathy towards modern feminists, and they are met with a strong sense of indifference from the majority of society.
According to Urban Dictionary, feminists are ‘lesbians, man haters and hairy-legged bitches’. How can it be, that such an iconic movement is now seen as nothing more than a bunch of PMS ridden women, looking for something to bitch about?
Although the 21st century woman has a lot more freedom and opportunity than our predecessors, there are still issues that need to be addressed in modern society, which still favours white, middle class men.
A great example of this is the substantial pay-gap between men and women; women working full time earn £5000 less a year and, within a lifetime, men receive £150,000 extra in bonuses alone.
Something that has a major impact on the pay-gap, is that women can claim maternity leave pay, if they chose to begin a family. This is an added expense for employers as they are, essentially, forking out money towards someone that is no longer a physical contribution to the company, meaning they must also hire a suitable replacement.
We know this, however, we also know that some women also chose not to have children nowadays. We also know that some women are unable to mother children.
Are these women, therefore, paid more? No, because it would be unethical for an employer to ask such questions, or to employ a woman based on whether she is likely to take maternity leave.
But surely there must be some perks that come with being a woman, within the financial industry? Well, we do statistically make safer drivers, so maybe we can get cheaper car insurance? No!? Because it is ‘sexist’ and unethical to base such things on gender?
So wait a minute, I can be paid less due to my gender and the likelihood that I might take maternity leave, but I cannot receive benefits due to statistical evidence, that suggests that I am a safer driver and would be cheaper to insure?
This not only seems incredibly unfair, but also aged; gender pay assumes that the woman is to stay at home and take care of the child, however, we know that stay-at-home dads are quite common in modern society.
What about the prominence of same-sex families within British society? Men can also take paternity leave, although currently it is only 2 weeks paid, is this likely to change?
Would it not be fairer, as with car insurance, to offer men and women equal maternity and paternity leave, therefore eradicating the pay-gap?