Gender pay gap debate

Gender pay gap debate

Women workers have long been affected by the the gender pay gap, which is the average difference between the remuneration for men and women in the work field. This phenomenon occurs all over the world and across every industry, although it is more pronounced in certain countries and work fields.

Certain factors like maternity leave that make women take time off work contribute to lower yearly earnings for women. Although the pay gap has decreased over the past few years, it still exists, despite efforts by individuals, governments and organisations to narrow it.

There are two different types of pay gaps - unadjusted and adjusted. The adjusted pay gap takes into account the hours worked, occupations chosen, education and job experience. Unadjusted pay gaps are much higher. For instance, in the United States, unadjusted average female’s annual salary has been cited as being 78% of the average male salary, in contrast with 88-93% for the adjusted average salary for college graduates.

Factors that contribute to lower pay can be due to both voluntary and involuntary choices. When someone chooses to work part-time when a full-time position is available is called a voluntary choice. Meanwhile, when someone has a low-skill job because they have no access to higher education, this classifies as an involuntary choice.

Even when the reason for the gap is voluntary, the gender pay gap presents a potential problem from a public policy perspective because it means that women are more likely to be dependent upon welfare payments, particularly in old age.

Evolution of pay gap

According to a meta-analysis by Doris Weichselbaumer and Rudolf Winter-Ebmer of more than 260 pay gap studies for more than 60 countries, from the 1960s to the 1990s, raw wage inequality on a global scale has fallen substantially from around 60% to 30%. The reason behind this decline was an improvement of conditions for female workers.

Economist Alan Manning of the London School of Economics, however, cautioned that the process of narrowing the gender gap has slowed significantly. Accordingly, women could earn less than men for the next 150 years due to discrimination and ineffective government policies.

Some of the factors that influence gender pay gap include gender-specific factors - gender differences in qualification and discrimination - and overall wage structure, the rewards for skills and employment in particular sectors, importantly influence the gender pay gap.

Other factors that explain the pay gap is that men usually choose high-paying, dangerous industries such as mining, construction or manufacturing, which women prefer clerical jobs or to work in the service industry. The growing importance of the services sector has played an important role in narrowing the pay gap over the past years.

Almost all OECD have established anti-discrimination laws on grounds of gender. The OECD points out that: "herein lies a major problem: in all OECD countries, enforcement essentially relies on the victims' willingness to assert their claims. But many people are not even aware of their legal rights regarding discrimination in the workplace. And even if they are, proving a discrimination claim is intrinsically difficult for the claimant and legal action in courts is a costly process, whose benefits down the road are often small and uncertain. All this discourages victims from lodging complaints."

Nearly eight years after the Equality Act, the UK has data - the first of its kind in the world - that uncovers the gender pay gap in private businesses and the public sector. According to the report, men are paid more than women in 7,795 out of 10,016 companies and public bodies in the country. Meanwhile, eight out of 10 companies and organisations filed had a pay gap. These figures ring the alarm in terms of structural inequalities in the workforce and may be key to narrowing the gap.

Professor of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre at Cambridge Judge business school, Sucheta Nadkarni, said that the error margin and other factors at work, the figures do show men are paid more than women on average.

She stated, Whether it is because women are getting paid less for the work that they are doing or because women are not getting equal opportunities to get into positions where the pay level is high - it doesn’t matter what the reason is, but there is a gender pay gap and in most cases it’s an issue of equality and justice. In both cases it’s an issue of an imbalance of some sort.

Women Detered in Business still in 2022

Women Detered in Business still in 2022

Baroness Gabby Bertin, a member of Theresa May's old task force to encourage women in their careers, said that the cult of superwomen having it all is dissuading women from starting their own businesses. She said it is time to be honest about how challenging' it is to be successful in a career while having children.

She added: All the talk of superwomen having it all is not very helpful to most women in this country.

The conservative peer was a key aide to David Cameron during his time in Opposition and as Prime Minister. Bertin is part of a group of senior women who have been appointed to ensure all policy developed by the Government considers the impact on women and strives to increase their role in politics, business and society as a whole.

Lady Bertin criticized the philosophy of lean in which urges women to be more proactive at seizing career opportunitinies. ‘Leaning in' is all very well if you are a highly-paid executive with wraparound childcare, but less so if you are a single parent or if both of you work very long hours and there is a hard stop for nursery pick-up, she said. It also should not be a crime against your career to want to see your children awake during the week.

The peer also criticized programmes like Peppa Pig for reinforcing gender stereotypes that hold women back. Deeply ingrained gender stereotypes starts early on, she said. ‘It can still subconsciously drive women and men down different paths.

Lady Bertin also addressed the challenges working fathers face and called for the stamping out of a macho culture that sniggers behind its hand at shared parental leave or dads playing a bigger role.

The Government's new task force strives to ensure all policy developed by the Government considers the impact on women and tries to increase their role in politics, business and society. Made up of a committee of peers, MPs and policy experts, the group is chaired by Nikki Da Costa, the head of legislative affairs at N010.

Helen Rose, COO of TSB and one of the most senior women in the UK's retail banking sector, has tried for many years to get more senior women in business. As a result, she is encouraging other senior women in business to share their stories to encourage women to make it to the top.

Rose meets with groups of women from across the business to share tips to make it in the business world. I tell them the story of when I was offered the COO job at TSB and was given 24 hours to make up my mind, she said. You have to just say yes and think later about how to make it work. Often women don't get as far as saying yes, because they've already thought about what would be difficult. Women need to be bolder, because if you're not, you'll find that one of your peers - often of the male variety - beats you to the top.

Rose climbed to the top despite working in a male-dominated environment. She started her career as an accountant and then became an auditor. I was told early on in my career that it was a good idea for women to move into tax, as it was less confrontational! Despite the difficulties, Rose stood her ground. That didn't resonate with me, as I believe women can be good at resolving confrontations.

She launched her career in senior finances roles in retail and worked in the industry over 15 years - at Dixons, Safeway and Forte. Although the retail industry usually attracts more women, at Forte, Rose was the only woman out of all the senior staff worldwide. There was a lot of locker-room banter. In that situation, it's hard to bring your whole self to work.

Things changed when she joined what was there Lloyds TSB in 2005 where two of her three bosses were actually women. Everyone was very generous and welcoming, but there was still a traditional, paternalistic culture, says Rose. One of my direct reports said to me: ‘I haven't offered Jo the promotion because she's pregnant and I don't want to put more pressure on her.' And I said, ‘Well, isn't that Jo's choice?'

A new opportunity opened up for Rose and her team to create the kind of company they wanted when TSB separated from Lloyds after the banking crisis. Building a bank from scratch was incredibly complex, but it was great to write our own mission statement and think about what we wanted our values to be, she said.

From the very beginning we built a much more gender-balanced team - 37% of our senior managers were women. Now we're up to 42% and we're aiming for 45-55%. Thanks to this change, Rose said you're much more able to be relaxed, be yourself and bring all of your talents to work.

Rose criticised the tag of superwoman and said it's possible to reach the top without being one. I personally don't like that tag, as it puts women off. We all face challenges; we just need to be more honest and open about how we ‘made it'.

When the Boss Calls Outside Regular Hours

When the Boss Calls Outside Regular Hours

Interestingly, Portugal recently passed legislation that outlaws the practice of some employers trying to contact workers after regular hours. Many bosses have been known to call their juniors directly, message them, send an email and do a host of other things outside the official work hours. Portugal's parliament prescribed a hefty fine for anyone who goes ahead to defy these new regulations.

The new laws are intended to strike a healthy balance in employees' lives, balancing between work and private life. Further, the law also includes other stipulations, directly responding to the modern-day shift leaning towards remote and hybrid workplaces. The latter situation has become more frequent in 2019-2022.

Under the new law, Portuguese workers were granted a right to refuse to do any remote work outside the regular hours. Depending on the prevailing circumstances, a worker can, however, choose to request such work if it suits him. Obviously, this would have to align with other factors advantageous to the worker. Fulfilling any remote duties also needs to be feasible in the employee's line of duty.

The regulations are also meant to curb the increasing phenomenon of burnout among over-worked staff. But there were other surprising features of the new landmark laws. For instance, if any employee incurs any unexpected expense as a direct result of working remotely at home or elsewhere, the employer is obligated to pay for such increased expenses.

As such, your boss would be obligated to pay for various seemingly ordinary expenses like electricity bills and gas. The new law also compels supervisors to meet face-to-face with members of staff under them every two months. Notably, the law doesn't apply to companies that employ less than ten workers on their team. Analysts also note that while the new law appears progressive, the Portuguese government didn't pass the right "to disconnect portion." If this were the case, Portuguese employees would have the right to turn off their work devices when the day ends.

The analysts note that the chances of passing such a law in a country like the US is significantly remote. This is because Americans, by nature, don't seem to warm up to the idea that anyone should dictate to them when they can call or receive calls from anyone else. Despite this, it's obvious that it has become ever more challenging to strike a reasonable balance between private life and work. This has been the situation worldwide, regardless of where people live. Interestingly, the US National Bureau of Economic Research recently reported that the average US employee's workday significantly stretched, increasing by 48.5 minutes in the days and weeks after the lockdown and stay-at-home orders began right across the nation.

To illustrate, almost 70% of US professionals who shifted to remote work in 2019-2022 admitted that they were forced to work even during weekends. 45% of the professionals said that, since that time, they are now forced to work many hours in the course of the week, much more than they ever did before. The statistics were gathered after Robert Half, a Los Angeles-based staffing firm, interviewed 2,800 employees to understand their situation.

Acknowledging this trend, one analyst noted that employers are now better off trusting employees to have their work done and keeping this faith no matter where their staff work, at home or in the office. It's also interesting to note that many employees worldwide have said that they prefer to keep working from home. This is because such an arrangement allows them to care for their families and prepare a more convenient schedule than when they have to work in the traditional office setting.

Erica Ariel Fox, a renowned writer at Forbes, pointedly says: "The new legislation dramatically demonstrates that a revolution aptly christened "work-life balance" is well underway." "At a time it's becoming the norm trying to reverse the equation, it's also becoming obvious that company cultures must significantly transform to embrace this culture," she adds. "Unless they do this, they'll helplessly watch their performance goals go up in flames," she concludes.

Some experts say that employers who suggest that a return to the traditional office is mandatory to ensure efficiency and productivity generally ignore the bigger picture. Here's the reason: Many observed that the novel work from home culture significantly boosted employee productivity by as much as 5%. Experts attribute the remarkable productivity boost to the adoption of new technology. Workers also spent less time commuting. The University of Chicago's Becker Friedman Institute for Economics study interviewed 30,000 Americans.

Digital addiction is similar to substance abuse

Digital addiction is similar to substance abuse

Is digital addiction really a thing or are we talking about a mere dependence? For instance, as Internet is medium rather than an activity, it's more difficult to pin down a quantifiable, negative effect of Internet use. If you find you have a compulsive need to use your digital devices and to be online to the point where it is interfering with your life and keeps you from engaging in social activities or doing things you are meant to do, that's when this digital dependence becomes an addiction.

Whether you can't live without your phone, without interacting on social media or Internet in general, these are all categorised under the umbrella of digital addiction.

Phone addiction is a syndrome where users overuse their smartphones to the extent where it has a negative impact on their daily lives. Therapist Paul Hokemeyer said that this syndrome can be a manifestation of underlying behavioural health and personality issues. Some of these underlying pathologies include depression, anxiety and a socially challenged personality. As they are affected by these issues, they rely on their phones to find some comfort.

If you feel the need to document every aspect of your life on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, then you are probably addicted to social media. Although there is no medical recognition of this addiction, recent studies have proved that overusing Facebook can decrease feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

Meanwhile, Internet addiction is defined as an impulse control disorder, which is also known as pathological internet use. People who are affected by this issue spend so much time online that they find it hard to differentiate between the virtual world and reality. This pathology increases the chances of overspending money online.

Before the days of smartphones and laptops, in 1997, psychologists were already testing the addictive potential of the World Wide Web. Even in its infant years, people who used the Net were already showing symptoms that manifest themselves with other addictions: trouble at work, social isolation, and the inability to cut back. What resulted so addictive about the Internet is the feeling of connectedness to something, rather than to an activity that could be accomplished via that medium.

Internet addiction started to be recognised as a real problem towards 2008, when The American Journal of Psychiatry published an editorial requesting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) - also known as the bible of psychiatry - includes Internet Addiction.

Psychiatrist Jerald Block said that a decade of research had proven that the 1997 study was right in suspecting the Internet could inspired the same patterns of excessive usage, withdrawal, tolerance, and negative symptoms associated with substance abuse.

Black concluded, Internet addiction is resistant to treatment, entails significant risks, and has high relapse rates. Accordingly, Internet addiction is a pathology that needs treatment just like any other.

Nowadays, Internet is more widely believed to foster addictive behaviours in its own right. One report from 2012, for instance, studied nearly twelve thousand adolescents in eleven European countries and found that 4.4% suffered from what the authors named pathological Internet use or used the internet in a way that had a negative impact on the subjects' health and life.

When you spend too much time online and that interferes with your social and professional activities, Internet use could cause mental distress and inability to function associated with pathological gambling. Most of the surveyed adolescents who abused Internet also suffered from other psychological problems including depression, anxiety, A.D.H.D., and O.C.D.

There was not enough data to include Internet addiction on the list of officially recognized behavioural addictions in DSM-V. The landscape might change as the number of problematic use of Internet has been rising in recent years.

Marc Potenza, a psychiatrist at Yale and the director of the school's Program for Research on Impulsivity and Impulse Control Disorders, said Internet can be addictive as a medium. I think there are people who find it very difficult to tolerate time without using digital technologies like smartphones or other ways of connecting via the Internet, he said. It's the feeling of connectivity or the lack of it what makes constitutes a problem.

A recent study by San Francisco State University concluded that digital addiction increases loneliness, anxiety and depression. It also found that smartphone use can be similar to other types of substance use.

To wrap up we're not saying don't use the web but rather be disciplined about when you want to use it and it will probably be a good idea to turn off mobile and desktop notifications that distract you whilst you're working on another task, mute the Groups so you look at them when you want to.