Today David Cameron became the latest to declare war on the gender pay gap by announcing companies that pay men more than women will be “named and shamed”. But when you look at the underlying data, you discover that the story we are being sold is a great big statistical lie.
In this article published by insideMAN last year, Glen Poole gave his response to the Labour Party’s own declaration of war on the gender pay gap which it said would take 60 years to close at the current rate.
How many times in your life have you heard that women are getting paid less than men? It’s one of the top three reasons given to support the claim that it’s a man’s world, the other two being “men have all the power” and “all women live in fear of violence by men”.
We’ll probably have a look at power and violence another day, but in the meantime, has anyone ever told you that the gender pay gap is a lie?
Last week the Labour Party-who were criticised by the UK Statistics Authority for misleading the public on the gender pay gap last time they were in power—declared that they would put closing the 19.7% gender pay gap at the heart of their next manifesto.
What the Labour Party didn’t tell us was that women under 40 in the UK are now earning the same or more than men! If you don’t believe me then here’s the official line from the government’s Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS):
“The full time gender pay gap is very low for those in the age groups between 18 and 39, for whom the gap now sits at or around zero.”
The real statistics paint a different picture
And here, if you need further proof, are the figures from the DCMS’s 2014 report, Secondary Analysis of the Gender Pay Gap (catchy title huh?):
>18-21 year olds, men working full time earn 1.4% more an hour on average
>22-29 year olds, women working full time earn 0.3% more an hour on average
>30-39 year olds, men working full time earn 1% more an hour on average
And for part-time workers:
>18-21 year olds, men working part time earn 1.2% more an hour on average
>22-29 year olds, women working part time earn 0.9% more an hour on average
>30-39 year olds, women working part time earn 8.2% more an hour on average
And yet we are still told, with the help of official figures, that the pay gap for all workers under 40 still favours men:
>Men aged 18-21 earn 3.5% more than women an hour on average
>Men aged 22-29 earn 5.3% more than women an hour on average
>Men aged 30-39 earn 12% more than women an hour on average
But hang on a goddam statistical minute, how is this possible?
If women in their twenties are earning 0.3% more than men when they work full time and 0.9% more than men when they work part time, how on earth can they those same men be earning 5.3% more an hour than women on average?
As the government itself acknowledges “the pay gap for all employees still exists” and “the differences between part time and full time pay are significant in driving this”. This is not surprising when women are twice as likely to be working part time in their twenties and 4.5 times more likely to be working part time in their thirties.
Put simply, part-timers get paid less; more women opt to work part-time and therefore women on average earn less than men.
The gender pay gap is a problem for men
So why is the gender pay gap a problem for men? Well, earnings for women aged between 30 and 39 have risen faster than any other group since the late nineties to the point where they now earn 1% less than men working full time and 8% more than men working part time—and yet because the misleading headline figure tells us women in their thirties earn 12% less than men the pressure is on employers to keep narrowing this statistical gap.
What campaigners for “equal pay” are essentially arguing is that women in their thirties (for example) should be paid more than men per hour in order to reduce the headline pay gap—and then we’ll have gender equality. Put another way, when one sex (men) earn more than the other sex (women) we need to correct that statistical inequality by paying one sex (women) more than the other sex (men)—and then all will be well in the world.
It sounds absurd, but this is the logic that is driving our national and international thinking on gender equality in the workplace—it’s a gender political narrative that wants you to believe that all women have problems and all men are the problem.
For women under 40 working full-time there is no pay gap
And yet for women under 40 who are working full time— which is 72% of women in their twenties and 62% of women in their thirties— there is no pay gap. The most significant pay gap for people under 40 is not the gap between women and men, but the gap between full-time workers and those who choose, for whatever reason, to work part-time which is:
>18-21: 50% of men and 65% of women
>22-29: 15% of men and 30% of women
>30-39: 8% of men and 38% of women
The pay gap is certainly a minority problem, but for people under 40 it’s not women who are in the minority but part-time workers, both male and female. Of course the loudest voices campaigning on the pay gap don’t want you to know this because they aren’t driven by the politics of equality, they are driven by the type of gender politics that advocates for all women and against all men.
So why should men be bothered about this? If only 8% of men in their thirties are working part-time, who gives a shit if those men get paid less? They could just get their fingers out and get a full-time job like the other 92% of hardworking men aged 30-39!
Well my dear brothers, you could be next!
Employers are under constant social pressure to keep closing the headline gender pay gap and the only way to address this statistical anomaly at present is to pay women more per hour than men.
Men in their thirties who work part-time are now paid 8% less than their female counterparts so who’ll be next? Well men in their twenties are already earning slightly less than women—whether they work part time or full time—and the gap looks set to keep growing, with full-time male workers in the thirties the next in line.
The question for all men is this: is this a trend you want to continue or do you want men and women to have an honest and open debate about pay equality—a debate that isn’t based on the big white lie that the “gender pay gap” has sadly become?
If you want to help us make this debate happen, why not try asking a few people if they knew that the only group under 40 to suffer a significant gender pay gap are men in their thirties who work part time—and see how they respond.
Oh and let us know how you get on in the comments below, we’d love to hear your experiences of starting discussions on this issue.
—Photo credit: Flickr/Images of Money
Article by Glen Poole author of the book Equality For Men
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