As much as the worst people alive work themselves into a panic attack trying to deny it, the gender pay gap is both very real and very, really shit. Thanks to a combination of how men and women are socialised to act in the workforce and the asymmetrical expectations for domestic / family labour placed on women, women in Australia are on average paid 16 cents less for every dollar that men receive. It sucks ass.
How does this happen in a modern society? A bunch of ways. From the government’s Workplace Gender Equality website:
- Women and men working in different industries (industrial segregation) and different jobs (occupational segregation). Historically, female-dominated industries and jobs have attracted lower wages than male-dominated industries and jobs.
- A lack of women in senior positions, and a lack of part-time or flexible senior roles. Women are more likely than men to work part-time or flexibly because they still undertake most of society’s unpaid caring work and may find it difficult to access senior roles.
- Women’s more precarious attachment to the workforce (largely due to their unpaid caring responsibilities).
- Differences in education, work experience and seniority.
- Discrimination, both direct and indirect.
Addressing this in a pretty direct way, travel insurance company Travel With Jane has decided to offer a 16% discount (the exact figure of Australia’s current wage gap) to women. Travel With Jane co-founder Ben Webster reckons it’s their small way of helping out:
“Women are paid, on average, 16% less than their male counterparts and until parity is achieved, we think it’s only fair that Australian businesses that profess to care about their female customers, cover the gap. Although, parity starts with salaries, why not pitch in to bridge the gap in the meantime?
“As a business focussed on the safety and wellbeing of female travellers, it’s crucial that we help advocate equality in all issues faced by our customers. The financial implications of a Gender Pay Gap have far reaching consequences, naturally some of which spill into the ability for women to seize every opportunity to travel, and travel safely. We are passionate about travel and hope that a 16% discount will assist them financially with travel, if even in a small way.”
As the gap has a tendency to fluctuate, the company has committed to match the discount to whatever number the figure is currently until at least March 2019.
Head of community Michelle Legge says she wants to see other companies take a similar tack:
“Working women get a raw deal no matter where in the world they clock in. India currently stands at 27% and the UK at 18.1%. In the USA, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. There is no country in the world where women earn more than men. There’s obviously no excuse for the pay gap; men and women performing the same job should make the same amount of money, end of story.
“Gender equality is as huge a challenge as it’s ever been. The difference is that today, women in Australia and beyond, have reached saturation point. Call it the third wave of feminism if you like, but we’re seeing that gender parity has never been more top of mind for our female customers.
“By offering a discount of 16% on all travel insurance policies, we aim to assist women financially, as well as raise awareness and encourage corporate accountability here, and globally.”
The discount applies to anyone who identifies as a woman, which awesomely sidesteps any nasty biological essentialism, but is also likely to evoke caveman-like grunts of “hurr durr what if I identify as a woman” from the deeply fucked men who are a massive part of the problem.
This seems cool as hell and it would be great to see more companies jump on board with this style of thinking until we finally reach parity.