Friday 10th November is Equal Pay Day, which marks the moment which women effectively stop being paid until the end of the year.
The full-time pay gap in the UK is 14.1% and if you factor in part-time work, the vast majority of which is done by women, it leaps to a shocking 18.4%.
We don’t think men's work should be valued more highly than women's - so why should we be working? We’re asking women across the UK to set their Out of Offices on Friday 10th November as a sign to the world that they won’t stand for this any longer.
How you can take part
Join our campaign on 10th November by setting your out of office to the following message:
SUBJECT LINE: Out of Office. For the rest of the year.
Not really, I’m just making a point.
Today is effectively the last day women in the UK are paid to work. Because of the gender pay gap the average woman is working for free until the end of the year.
So, if women aren’t getting paid, why should they work?
That’s why I’ve switched on my Out Of Office.
This is to raise awareness of the pay gap, which on average is 18.4% and for some women it’s even worse.
If like me, and the Women’s Equality Party, you think it’s time something changed, you can join in by copying this message and switching on your Out of Office too.
This Equal Pay Day, it’s time to get rid of the pay gap.
So why are we making a fuss?
The work women do, the industries they work in, and the caring responsibilities they generally shoulder are not valued by our society – not enough to pay them a fair wage. This is exactly what the Women’s Equality Party seeks to overturn.
We represent the women who are being paid unfairly and often not being paid at all – either for their domestic labour or care duties - or because they have been fired for getting pregnant.
Equal pay is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and it creates the context for other inequalities, such as violence against women and girls and unequal access to health.
Though Equal Pay Day focuses on the full-time pay gap, WE focus on the aggregate pay gap always because it tells you more about the balance of power in our society.
The gap is even bigger for some women. For example, Black African women face a pay gap of 24%, while for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women it stands at 26.2%. Or women in their fifties, who face a pay gap of 26.6%. As for women with disabilities, it's impossible to know for sure as the data available is limited. What there is tends to compare disabled women with able bodied women, but does not scratch the surface of how this stacks up with able bodied men.
It’s time to change this. Set your out of office and make the world aware that this injustice has to end.
"Sexism in the gender pay gap is an offensive reminder of the way corporate culture sees women. For black women like me, it's double discrimination when race is factored in. In my experience, working doubly hard for less pay and recognition for the same or similar role as a male counterpart is the very antithesis to gender equality and job satisfaction."
- Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, Lawyer and Founder of Women in Leadership publication
"Unfit for Office. As a woman with a disability, I am expected to be out of office all year. In the UK alone there are over one million people who are willing and able to work, but are systematically discriminated against during the job search. With recent and pending cuts to the Access to Work Scheme, it is becoming increasingly difficult for qualified and eager persons with disabilities to get the tools and assistive technology they need to do their jobs.According to the UK’s Work Capability Assessment, if you are unable to pick up a one pound coin off the floor you are “unfit for work or work related activity.”By government standards, both Stephen Hawking and myself fall into this category. Never mind our university degrees, our publications, our abilities we are, quite simply, ‘unfit.’In an age of technology, we can find fulfilling and appropriate work for those with massive physical limitations. It is our job to ensure the each person is able to reach their potential through creative solutions rather than dismissing people as ‘unfit.’ In 2017 we can do better.WE believe we need people of all abilities to make up a healthy, strong, and viable workforce that thrives in modern conditions. Let’s make sure that those who can and want to work are not simply viewed as ‘unfit.’"
- Athena Stevens, Playwright
"I'm out of office because I’ve been sacked for getting pregnant. My employer left me a voicemail to tell me that my contract was being pulled the day after I informed them I was expecting. The experience left me heartbroken and terrified. My confidence was shattered and I felt like my career was over. Financially I was in a mess, I had a mortgage to pay and now that my pregnancy was visible, applying for a new job felt impossible, at worst it felt deceitful. Losing that contract cost me £16,000, money I had already allocated to paying bills and saving up for maternity leave. The stress was so severe that it took its toll on my mental health and I was informed my pregnancy was high risk, a situation which prevented me from accessing justice and potentially recouping any financial loss. Pregnancy and maternity discrimination costs British women £147 million a year but these statistics don’t take into consideration the long term financial impact. Many women who encounter discrimination are forced to leave the labour market for good. For others, their confidence is so damaged by the experience that their career completely stagnates or they find employment in a position way below their skill level. As a country we are not utilising the skills and competencies of thousands of brilliant mothers, what a waste this is for us all."
- Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant then Screwed
*The Women’s Equality Party encourages anyone taking part in the campaign to discuss it with the management in their workplace. With the disadvantages the women face in the workplace already we don’t want to give any employers any excuses to isolate their women employees. Please use your discretion when taking part.