Why should we be concerned with the ‘gender pay gap’?

by Beth Cherryman

Yet another report, this time by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has informed us that on average women earn less than men.

The report states that women earned 16% less than men. 

I have to question why we still talk about this ‘gap’.  After all on average women will always earn less than men – women with families on average prefer to work fewer hours.

Maybe all the “feminists” that appear on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour harping on about equal pay are dreaming of a society in which 50% of the people taking time out of work to attend to their families were men?  Or perhaps they believe women should be paid the same amount as their male counterparts who do not that a corresponding amount of time out of their work?

I’m not entirely sure – but then from the arguments I have heard relating to the importance of closing this gap, I’d say they don’t know what they’re suggesting either.

To deal with the points in order, I would first argue that women on the whole do not want to shirk the responsibility of child care to their male partners.  Women seem to enjoy a career break to have and raise a family.  Now I accept this is not a universal truth; many women choose to work, when they have the luxury of choice, because they prefer it.  And I note that in these cases it is rare for the husband to take a career break to care for his children, no, usually the partners arrange formal outside childcare or extended family chip in.  Controversially, with respect to the “feminists”, I do not think this is some engrained behaviour from a sense of ‘society expects men to be the bread-winner’.  I think this pattern has continued since the beginning of human existence because men like to get away from their family, they need the distraction of work.  On average men prefer to work.  Thus 50-50 primary childcare will not happen because on average men don’t want to look after children full time whereas women do (at least for the first few of years).  This also means that women tend to occupy jobs like nannies and childminders, which are traditionally low paid jobs.

The idea that a person should get paid the same as someone doing more, that is, working longer hours or providing a more technical skill or higher valued service is ridiculous – communism has been tried ladies and it was not a great success.

Women get paid less than men ON AVERAGE because they choose to.  Instead of a sign of inequality and repression the ‘gender pay gap’ represents the ultimate liberty – freedom to choose one’s contribution to society to fit with their personal preferences.

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