Women Are Choosing To be Paid Less?

I had to reword this post a few times as my anger was getting the better of me. Read on and it’ll become obvious why.

New figures about the gender pay gap have been released which show that the gap in the UK has widened for the first time in 5 years. That is, women are getting paid less than ever before than men for similar jobs; the pay gap is 15.7% and in the finance and business management sectors it’s even wider. In the words of TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, the glass ceiling is getting thicker.

For women in self employment the pay gap is up around 40%. One person on Twitter suggested that this meant women were choosing to pay themselves less by becoming self employed. My dander was up.

Women Choose Less Money? Pah!

No woman I know consciously makes a choice to set up her own business and earn less money. What they are doing is consciously choosing to remove themselves from paid employment where women are consistently undervalued and where the traditional model of working suits men very well, women less so. They are choosing to work in a way that suits their life styles, and, perhaps more importantly, reflects their values.

And I salute them for that. And yes, as part of my coaching I do encourage them to put up their fees and to value more highly what they do, to have the confidence to ask for more, because confidence is so often at the heart of this.

If you live in a society where women are subtly, and not so subtly, portrayed as being inferior to men then a lack of confidence is almost inevitable.

If you live in a society where most senior positions of influence are still held by men then it’s pretty inevitable that men will have a better deal.

If you live in a society where women are pilloried for daring to speak out, to have a public voice, where sexist comments are routinely made to women and girls for daring just to be out in the streets then it’s inevitable that a disparity  exists.

But don’t try to suggest that women choose this situation. We don’t. We live it and struggle with it every day.

RenewYou, making a difference to women everywhere.


Posted on November 4th, 2014 by

One Response to “Women Are Choosing To be Paid Less?”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. It’s also annoying to hear people say that women opt out of work when they become mothers because they would rather be looking after their kids. That’s simply not the case. Most women want work and children in their lives and they will gravitate to environments where that is the norm. And yes that often does mean sacrificing pay but then new research shows that Gen Y women and men will sacrifice compensation for more flexible working arrangements and they don’t have kids yet. At the other end of the age spectrum baby boomers in their 50s and 60s no longer want to work extreme hours but are not planning their retirements just yet. The workforce in general are looking for more autonomy around where and when they work and firms that don’t wake up to this really will lose out in the competition to attract and retain the best talent.

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