I hold my hands up. I’m one of those people who, after a drink, can be found ranting and raving about the tampon tax and #MeToo in the corner of the room to any (un)willing ear. Sometimes, I get a positive reception, and other times the debate goes down like a ton of bricks. For example, at one house party a guy said to me, “Why are you even campaigning for women’s rights? You’ve got the vote now, what more do you need?’
The gender pay gap: it’s wide and it’s persistent
On around the 16th of October 2018, if you are a woman, due to the gender pay gap, you’ll actually be working for free for the rest of the year. Tragic, right? The UK is actually one of the worst places in Europe for the pay gap (apart from Estonia who really need to have a talk with themselves) with a 20% salary difference between genders. Over her entire working life, a woman can expect to lose around £361,000 to the wage gap compared to men. What the…
Asking for a pay rise or negotiating your salary can be really daunting but starting the conversation can have a ripple effect on your colleagues and on your friends. The more people who express their dissatisfaction with the pay gap the more powerful the dialogue and the more likely we are to closing it. We cannot rely on employers doing this for us, we have to move towards closing it ourselves.
Sexual harassment is not in our job description, you know?
Look around the room at the women you’re working with because according to a recent poll by Opinium Research, 1 in 5 of them will have been sexually harassed in the workplace at some point in their lives. Over half of the victims don’t report it, with the main reason being the intimidation they feel by the way they are spoken to. The first step in the bid to eradicate it is to educate yourself on your rights. Next, if you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment, then report it or if your friend is a victim, lend an ear and let her know her rights too (though, it is also her right to not report it by the way). Ask your HR department what measures are in place to deal with such issues so that if you ever find yourself in this situation you can know that it will be dealt with appropriately. If there are no official procedures then you need to ask a big fat fucking why (maybe don't swear though...).
The 'unbreakable' glass ceiling
The glass ceiling is defined as an ‘unacknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession, especially affecting women and members of minorities’. This barrier today represents two things for women; the opportunities we don’t get and the opportunities we don’t take. For the former we need to seek out opportunities and let employers know we are looking to move roles or be promoted. And for the latter, we need to seize opportunities when they are offered or spotted, whether that is a promotion, a networking event or a side project. Unless you, yourself, are ready to break through your own glass ceiling, you will be sitting beneath it forever. Because at least 50% of your glass ceiling is made up of the lack of confidence and the self-doubt in your own mind.