Equality won’t be achieved by hosting a one-off inspirational event—especially one that enforces a narrative of financial success as a matter of individual effortby Sian Norris / March 8, 2019 / Leave a comment
DKNY offers T-shirts with empowering messages and a vague promise towards charity giving. McDonald’s inverts its iconic M for one day only. Net-A-Porter has even more T-shirts. The Body Shop hosts Fearne Cotton, while Lloyds Bank sponsors an event of “inspiring women”.
It must be International Women’s Day!
The celebration has changed a lot since its socialist inception in 1909, and its links to the peace movement in 1913 Russia. In Eastern Europe, it remains the tradition to give flowers to the women in your life (an action satirised by this Romanian feminist group).
Here in the UK, International Women’s Day traditions seem to have morphed from political action to a chance for corporations to showcase their (faux) feminist credentials. Come 8 March, and you can’t move for women “business inspiration” events, fashion tie-ins, and discounts on high end sex toys. Even Emmerdale has got in on the action, with an all-women episode.
Big business is clearly keen to cash in with a pink and frilly empowerment message on International Women’s Day. But it’s one thing to change your logo or brand colours one day of the year. Quite another to introduce policies that actually promote women’s equality—including paying women an equal and fair wage.
A report published today by the Young Women’s Trust has revealed shocking statistics on how British businesses are still failing to tackle the gender pay gap—especially for young women. Their report found that one in three surveyed employers say they have not tried to reduce their pay gap in the last year.
A further one in ten admitted that women are paid less than men at the same level.
It’s a situation that, according to CEO Dr Carole Easton OBE, means “today’s young women will be retired before equal pay becomes a reality.”
The Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to complete the survey of 802 HR decision-makers across a range of business sizes and sectors. A further poll of young women aged 18-30 conducted by Populus Live found that 19 per cent of respondents were paid less than their male colleagues for the same or similar work, rising to one in four for women aged 25-30.
On a wider scale, the gender pay…