THE BLOG

Take a Leaf From Men: 'I Want It and Claim It!'

20/07/2015 11:32 BST | Updated 18/07/2016 10:59 BST

On the average a man earns £1 for every 80p a woman earns. Even after the Equalities Act of 2010, the UK has the sixth-largest pay gap between men and women in the European Union. Yet the gender wage gap persists. In every industry and every country in the world, women continue to be paid less than men for the same work.

Last week David Cameron has made a personal commitment to what he calls the outdated and wrong doing of women getting paid less than men in Britain. The Prime Minister said the government will press ahead with firms to publish average salaries of male and female employees. Women in the UK are paid less (80p) less and how this will change in the future. The government has started consultation on planning legislation to close the gap. This is a consultation seeking views on what more we can do to close the gender pay gap. Closing the Gender Pay Gap https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/closing-the-gender-pay-gap

The consultation may bring mixed results in firms achieving their own gender targets, albeit measuring gender equality is needed to promote women and gender equality. The consultation measuring the progress is critically important because as most firms realise it is very easy to hide behind words and good intention recruitment policies. The pay gap increases significantly for women who often take breaks from their career to spend a few years at home. When they re-join the workforce, they are behind. The Motherhood penalty for some women which does not affect the partner or father.

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What can the government also push for to bring about real change in gender equality?

Affordable and accessible childcare, improve careers advice and give men more opportunities to take time out from work for their families, and spreading the strain of caring for sick children and the elderly. Until we tackle all of this, the gender pay gap is inevitable. It is deeply disappointing that in the 21st Century people are facing these challenges.

The gender pay gap in Britain is not simply about the difference between those performing the same work for different pay but driving larger scale cultural .Women are less likely than men to negotiate for themselves for several reasons. First, they often are socialised from an early age not to promote their own interests and to focus instead on the needs of others. The messages girls receive from parents, teachers, the media, and society in general, can be so powerful that when they grow up they may not realise that they have internalised this behaviour, or they may realise it but not understand how it affects their willingness to negotiate. Women tend to assume that they will be recognised and rewarded for working hard and doing a good job. Unlike most men, they haven't been taught that they can ask for more.

Traditions and stereotypes may also influence the choice of educational paths and employment patterns. Research shows that school career services often encourage girls and boys into traditionally gendered occupations. Research from graduate-jobs.com, the largest independent graduate jobs board in the UK shows that on average, female graduates request lower starting salaries than their male counterparts when looking to start their career - and have done so for at least the last ten years.

It needs a fundamental change to fix this and it can be done. We should be seeing babies dress in neutral colours, no pink princess culture, and gendering toys. Why we need to talk about the gender pay gap in schools. We will only get equality in the workplace when we get equality in every home.

You are right that we need to challenge these assumptions over jobs, starting in the classroom, but even by that age children have retained the idea that certain jobs aren't for them. This is down to many things such as gendered toy marketing building blocks or a train set for boys, a doll house or a tea set for girls. Adult expectations and beliefs about their capabilities, as well as what children see on TV.

Keeping it about business is important. Facebook CEO says women need to 'lean in' as they enter the workforce. What can we learn from Sheryl Sandberg Lean in, out and shake it all about. To close the gender wage gap, we need to have an open and honest conversation about the biases that suppress women's pay. Stereotype that undermines fair pay for women is the expectation that women are communal - that they are warm, concerned with others (not money), and not focused on themselves. We also need to recognise that women do not always advocate for fairer pay because it can backfire when they do. In fact, studies have found that when women negotiate on their own behalf they are often seen as aggressive and employers are less enthusiastic about working with them. That's a tough way to start a new job.

Together we do have the power to make things change, we can work to close this gender gap. So get out there on all the social media networking sites, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + hangouts and blogging, take control of your own PR within your home and workplace. Are you raising an equal opportunities household?