We hear a lot about the injustices woman face in modern Britain, not least in the form of the gender pay gap. An IFS report earlier this year captured the spotlight as it spelled it out in cold, hard statistics how the pay gap between men and women grows after having children, leading to stalled career progression. But a story less often told is how women at the bottom end of the labour market are carrying the heavier burden of poverty in our society. Figures released by JRF as part of the BBC's 100 Women highlight this reality. A fifth of women - around 5.1million - live in poverty in the UK, compared to 4.4million men.
I could reel off many statistics, but I'll just include one from the Office for National Statistics, at the current rate, it will be another 62 years before the work of women in the UK is valued at the same rate as men. Sixty-two years. The year 2078. Let that sink in. I'll be long gone, as will you, probably.
Today (Thursday 10 November) marks the last day of the working year for women throughout the UK - or so it should. From now until the end of 2016, working women are now, on average, providing their services for free - highlighting the 9.4% gap between average pay of full-time male and female employees.
I do wonder what if there was no gender pay gap, would the expectation still fall on women to take breaks from their careers to care for children or older relatives? Giving up the lower salary is the sensible option but think of what a difference it would make if the lower salary wasn't usually the women's salary.
t surely is possible to close the pay gap within a generation, but it means making fundamental changes. We have to reassess how we view the relative contribution of men and women, both in sports and in work. That means asking ourselves some difficult questions, stating with: what are we willing to do about it?
But it is the 10% that sends a real shudder down my spine. It must be a fact that we are somehow all complicit in a work culture that starts to shortchange women right from the start of their careers. Stopping the gender pay gap being present from the outset is the only way we will stop it from widening later.
I am taking part in industrial action because by asking us to do more for less our employers are ruining the experiences of our students and because I can see the unfairness of my employer employing the majority of men (52%) on permanent, full-time contracts, whilst the majority of women (56.4%) are in casualised employment. I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with colleagues and students in defence of higher education and to make it clear that casualisation and pay inequality are not acceptable.