The Seventies brought us Grease, Chicago and The Equal Pay Act. Ever since then, us ladies have been bopping along to Summer Nights, All That Jazz and the sweet sound of a income that is equal to that of a male employee employed by the same company doing the same job (catchy, I know). Yes, that’s right. Much like John Travolta’s good looks, flared jeans and male perms the ‘gender pay gap’, is nothing but a hazy memory. So why, almost half a century later, does it need to be dragged out as a bribe to induce people to vote Conservative?
‘A government unafraid to confront the burning injustices of the gender pay gap’ the newly released manifesto raves, to much eye rolling from anyone who’s taken a serious interest in the subject. I’m not sure which exact issue of Cosmopolitan Theresa May has been reading, but it certainly didn’t contain any actual facts since the gender pay gap is statistically… drum roll please… not even a thing! *jazz hands*
Okay, so leaving the musical theatre jokes aside and looking at actual data, the difference in pay between a man and a woman doing the same job in the same company is exactly zero pounds and zero pence since that is in fact illegal.
What isn’t illegal however, is women choosing which job they have. Whether we as a gender on the whole earn less than men but ultimately live a more pleasant life is up to us. The Women and Equalities Select Committee, who probably hate that I’m using their own words against them, stated that women are much less likely to “spend less time commuting, are less likely to work unsociable hours, unlikely to face physical danger in work, and are less likely to work outside, or in isolated conditions”. Ten points for anyone who can guess why.
Because they don’t want to.
This isn’t a bad thing, I certainly wouldn’t want to do those jobs, but then again I’m not complaining when a man who’s risking his life has a higher wage than me when I’m cleaning a bath tub.
Lion taming, for example, is a lucrative profession. However, out of the 13 famous lion tamers listed on Wikipedia only two are women. Is this because lions are indeed sexist pigs? Probably not. What is likely though, is that woman just don’t really have much interest in sticking their head inside a lion’s mouth for a few extra pounds and instead place greater value on retaining all of their limbs.
Those less lucrative but less lethal professions do have an advantage, other than the obvious. ONS statistics show that because of women’s choices in employment, they may lose out on high earnings compared to those of typically male dominated fields, but they gain job security. Throughout the years, economically good or bad, female employment has increased at a steady rate and continues to do so. Male employment levels fluctuate year on year and dramatically fall during economic downturns. Conclusion – it’s probably better in the long run to be a woman because we usually get safer and steadier jobs. And on average we live longer too.
Further proof that it’s better to be a woman is that after having a baby, a man only gets two weeks paid paternity leave, where as a woman gets 12 months. Sure, we have to push a baby out of our bodies, but after that we get to spend an entire year with said infant, where as the father gets a measly 14 days before returning to whatever drudgery he fills his day with.
So there you have it, you can listen to the Made in Dagenham soundtrack all you want, it still won’t prove the that women are deliberately underpaid for equal work. Sorry Theresa, but I’m not hopelessly devoted to you or your half-witted manifesto.
Eva Henderson is a final year Law and English Literature student at Bangor University, Yorkshire lass, and proud former chambermaid.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty