When Do We Call Time On Gender Equality?

It’s a confusing argument. On the face of it, the claim that woman earn less than men is surely a fallacy. They apply for the same jobs and work in the same businesses, there is no reason why a woman should be paid less than a man. In 2016 surely this is pure rubbish.

Then you look at the numbers and realise this is far from a media beat-up or a feminist conspiracy and that females in our society are being paid less, regardless of ethnic background, religious belief or geographic location. And we ask ourselves how we can improve it. Wrong question, we should be asking how it’s been allowed to carry on for so long.

Let’s not sugarcoat this, paying someone less based on the colour of their skin, their gender or sexual orientation is a crime. Companies are breaking the law and it’s incredibly easy to measure, simply take the payroll of any business and look for a pay disparity between men and woman in the same job. Why hasn’t something like this been done already? The government sticks it’s nose into almost every other part of industry – they can shut down work sites because of an unsafe ladder through the Workplace Health and Safety Act, or deem that an unworthy employee deserves compensation through state legislation relevant to the Fair Work Act, but doesn’t see fit to ensure woman and men are paid equally if in the same role?

The argument is that why should someone be paid more just because they’re a woman? It’s a watertight argument, just as the opposite is true – why should anyone be paid more just because they’re a man?

The groups advocating for pay parity however are not looking for incremental or regulated change, they just want what they feel is their right as a human, to be treated as equals. The only problem is, appealing to common sense and the good in others just doesn’t work. Requests must be specific and measurable so that they can be used as the political football they are. Just ask civil rights activists in the 50’s or gay rights campaigners now.

Asking for people to do the right thing is pointless, the search for female equality must be based upon legislative change and checks and measures for businesses.

It’s socialism! The nanny state strikes again! Companies exist in a free market and should be allowed to do what they want!

They are, right up to the point where they break the law and when they do the full force of that law should be used against them. A payroll audit every three to five years would tick the box that the company is doing the right thing and give it the opportunity to explain any major discrepancies. It will also ensure that any business owners or managers that are thinking of paying a woman less than she’s worth will at the very least think twice.

When seeking pay parity, the argument often seems weak because it sounds like the equivalent of a black man wanting to be treated the same as a white man – we accept it as a basic right. That this conversation should turn into a patronising ‘pat on the head’ for woman is shameful and embarrassing for us as a society. We should turn our focus to what we can do to effectively scrutinise and punish those businesses that don’t see paying all people equally as their duty.