How can we make things better?
2016 was the year it was all meant to change, wasn’t it? Hillary Clinton was going to win and little girls, and boys, would grow up knowing that being a woman’s no impediment to success. That didn’t happen. Clinton may have won the popular vote in the US Election, but a woman’s place is in the White House is a slogan a vast amount of people want to ignore. If we weren’t wallowing enough, a recent study from recruitment firm Morgan McKinley reporting that the Irish gender pay gap stands at 20 percent is another blow.
On average, men in professional jobs earn €12,500 more than women when bonuses and salaries are taken into account. If you look at bonus trends alone, the gap’s as high as 50 percent. One good piece of news? The pay gap in tech’s three percent.
However, we can’t all go back to college and learn how to code – and even at that, women with masters degrees earn 33 percent less than men with the same qualifications. But we could look at the playbook of countries copped onto the fact women deserve equal pay.
Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden rank in the top four best countries for the closest pay gap, according to the World Economic Forum. Experts point to family-friendly policies including paternity and maternity leave, as well as childcare. Last September, Ireland finally introduced paid paternity leave. For two weeks.
So can we close the gap? You could email your TD to lobby for more Scandi-alike policies, or we beleaguered women could actually strike, like the women of Iceland did in 1975. That year, women across the country refused to work – in the home and office – to remind the ruling class, i.e. men, just how integral they were to society’s running. Women gathered in the streets, convinced their friends to join them, and ignited a feminist conversation that saw them elect the world’s first female president five years later.
Last October, on the anniversary of their original protest, Icelandic women paid tribute to their marching matriarchs when they walked out of work one afternoon at 2:38pm to protest the 14 to 18 percent pay gap that means women effectively work for free after that time each day.
Even when you have it comparatively good, make some noise. Other women are listening.
The article first appeared in STELLAR’s January/February issue. Our March issue is on shelves now!
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