Out of Office - Women's Equality

Equal Pay Day is the day each year which marks the moment when women effectively stop being paid relative to men.

In 2018 it was the 10th of November.

The gender pay gap in the UK currently stands at 17.9%. 

We don’t think men's work should be valued more highly than women's - so if we're not being paid, why should we work? Every year we ask women across the UK to set their Out of Offices messages to as a sign to the world that they won’t stand for this any longer.

In in the past two years, our Out of Office campaign reached billions of people, calling for real action on the gender pay gap. This year we want it to be even bigger. 

Why does the pay gap exist?

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 always focus on the aggregate pay gap 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 long since time to chance this. 

Women's stories 

An NHS Midwife:
Laura Godfrey Isaacs: “As a midwife working in the NHS I will be Out of Office from November 10th in protest against unequal pay in all sectors, but particularly healthcare. Women make up over 77% of NHS staff, however 22% of men are doctors or dentists with only 5% women. A midwife earns only £19.21 per hour, which is 34% below the national average, however, we have one of the most responsible jobs in society looking after women and babies throughout the childbearing continuum. Midwifery is overwhelmingly a female profession, with only 0.3% male midwives, and alongside most of the caring professions our pay is low and our work undervalued.

A PHD Student at the University of Manchester:
Sarika Paul: "I work as a PhD Researcher at the University of Manchester. The pay gap across the institution is 17.1%. This means that for the duration of November and December, the women of Manchester University are effectively working for free - and this is before you begin to consider race or age or sexuality (or any other protected characteristic). The proportion of women entering post grad study remains largely gender balanced, though there are differences across subjects. This then means that there are systematic factors at play that result in the loss of women from high status academic roles, and the resulting pay gap seen across all staff members. It is crucial that both the university, and the academic world globally looks at ways of minimising these barriers to ensure that we don't lose talent along the "leaky pipeline" that so many treat as inevitable. This is why I am hanging up my labcoat for the rest of the year this Equal Pay Day.

*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.



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Published and promoted by Catherine Smith on behalf of the Women's Equality Party
at Women's Equality Party, 124 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX.

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