This blog is part of The Future Is Feminist campaign. It discusses what the gender pay gap is and attitudes of young people in Cardiff toward the gender pay gap. This is part one of a two-part article.
What is the gender pay gap?
The gender pay gap measures the difference in average hourly pay between men and women. It’s a good indicator of gender inequalities in access to work, rewards, and career progression.
What do young people in Cardiff think about the gender pay gap?
Here’s what TheSprout asked, and what young people’s initial thoughts were:
As you can see from the Jamboard, most young people defined the gender pay gap as men getting paid more than women for the same job. It was mentioned that men often have more rights and opportunities than women in the workplace.
Working in STEM fields was used as an example to highlight a male dominated industry that is paid extremely well but is less accessed by women.
Historical inequalities like women’s dependence on men for resources such as money were discussed. Fast forward to today and women are much more likely to work AND be the sole/primary caregivers to children, despite the gender pay gap.
Some young people shared feeling of upset, anger and disgust at the gender pay gap and how this is “wrong”.
To further explore the gender pay gap, we watched a video above about how Iceland (the country, not the frozen food shop) is trying to fight the gender pay gap. After watching, the young people shared their answers to the following questions:
- Is the gender pay gap fair? Why?
- Should all jobs be paid the same? Why?
- In your opinion, who is most responsible for making a difference to the gender pay gap?
- What can we do to fight the gender pay gap?
The responses to the first two questions will be discussed within this article. Click here to read about the latter questions.
Is the gender pay gap fair? Why?
All young people thought that the gender pay gap was unfair. Gender is not a good enough reason to discriminate against pay:
‘No because your gender doesn’t affect how good you are at things; just how good people think you are’ – Dylan
‘The gender pay gap has never been fair from the beginning. Your income should be based on the work you’ve done and not the privileges granted my certain genders.’ – Lewis
‘No, just because you were born a different gender does not define how good you are at work.’ – Ava
‘It doesn’t set a good example to younger generations if you’re judging a book by its cover.’ – Eshaan
“Pay based on skills”
Some young people suggested that employees should be paid differently but according to other factors such as productivity, rather than gender:
‘Employees should be paid based on their skills, experience, and education rather than their gender.’ – Hal
‘I believe strongly that people should be praised based on their skills and talent not their gender. Everyone is equal.’ – Hajer
‘No, because if men and women do the same job they should receive the same pay. People’s salaries should be determined by their skills rather than their identity.’ – Hana
Tomos came up with an analogy to make sense of the injustice of the gender pay gap and inequality. He compared it to tomato ketchup:
‘Smart Price does the job just as well! Just because a bottle of ketchup has a fancy sticker it does not mean the content is any less valuable. The same applies to women in the workplace. They are no less valuable than men. They should be paid their worth in wages.’ – Tomos
Some young people dove a little deeper and discussed why the gender pay gap is not only unfair but also damaging for our society:
‘The gender pay gap is not fair as it discriminates against women and favours men. Both genders put full faith within the workplace and how it is run, thus, if one gender is being paid less than another gender it can cause conflict and disagreements within the workplace.’ – Samar
‘The gender pay gap is bad for the global economy (we simply can’t afford for our economy to get worse during and after this pandemic).’ – Eshaan
‘Women are having to work a lot throughout the day, especially if they are single mothers or need to care for other people. If women are paid less, they may struggle financially and not be able to provide for their family.’ – Samar
Should all jobs be paid the same? Why?
Despite all young people holding the belief that gender should not be a discriminatory factor of pay, most young people suggested that all jobs should be paid differently. This depended on multiple factors, such as responsibility and level of education:
‘Jobs should be paid according to the quality and quantity of hard-work that has been put in every second at work.’ – Eshaan
‘No, there should be different pay for different jobs. For example, doctors/nurses should get higher pay than someone working in a shop. As a doctor, you need to go to college and learn more stuff.’ – Ava
‘Jobs should be paid according to levels of responsibility and stress on the employee, as well as the quality of their work, rather than their gender.’ – Hal
“Equal pay and equal rights”
To most young people, paying employees differently depending on the job responsibility was fairer than paying everyone the same. However, discriminating pay between genders doing the same job is unfair:
‘Not all jobs should be paid the same because some do more for society and have more effort. But all people doing the same job should be paid the same.’ – Dylan
However, one young person shared that paying people differently based on their jobs is also unfair:
‘Everyone should have equal pay and equal rights; we can end corruption and greed which is rife in modern day society.’ – Anonymous
“A universal basic income”
Some young people suggested that the difference in pay between jobs is understandable, but could be reduced as all jobs are beneficial no matter what the level of education:
‘I don’t think all jobs should be paid the same, but I think the difference in pay between jobs should not be as drastic as it is currently. At the end of the day, most jobs are there to benefit society in some way’ – Anonymous
‘Not all jobs should be paid the same, because they are not all of equal value to ordinary people. However, there should be a Universal Basic Income to ensure nobody slips through the net, any wages for jobs could then come on top of this’ – Tomos
Now that we have seen what the young people at Cardiff Youth Service think of the gender pay gap, we can see what they think we can do to tackle the gender pay gap and build a #FeministFuture. Click here to see more content from The Future is Feminist campaign.