Do men really cause the pay gap?

The question of why women earn less than men on average continues to be a regular media feature.

The gap between women’s pay and men’s pay in Brighton & Hove is considerably smaller than the national average according to the city’s draft JSNA

On average,  full-time female workers earn £467.10 per week compared with £527.30 per week for males in the city – a 12% difference. The differential is much lower in Brighton and Hove than across Great Britain at 25% or the South East at 30%.

But earlier this month landmark official figures showed that a woman in her 20s working full-time will typically earn 2.1 per cent more than a man in her age group.

Furthermore, new research on the gender pay gap from Dr Catherine Hakim at London School of Economics suggests that women’s lifestyle choices cause the pay gap.

This view challenges the wisdom of pay equality campaigners who claim that the key causes of the pay gap are discrimination against women, outdated stereotypes about women’s worth at work, more women working part-time and women ‘shouldering the burden of caring’.

The above causes are listed in the Equal Pay: Where Next? report promoted by The Equality and Human Rights Commission, The Fawcett Society, The TUC and Unison

These opposing views have one thing in common – they both ignore men.

The LSE view that the pay gap is all about women’s lifestyle choices doesn’t take into account the (limited) range of lifestyle choices available to men – and in particular fathers  – and how this impacts on the pay gap.

More surprising than this is the fact that tax-payer funded Equality and Human Rights Commission excludes men from its analysis on the pay gap – in the name of gender equality. This can be most starkly seen in the way it describes the four key causes of the pay gap where it highlights:

1. Discrimination against women in the workplace, but not discrimination against fathers in family life and family law which put the UK 18th out of 21 major countries in the 2010 Family Fairness Index from the Fatherhood Institute

2. Outdated stereotypes of women’s worth at work but no consideration about outdated stereotypes of men’s worth as parents or how stereotypes of  fathers as breadwinners and mothers as home-makers impact both men and women

3. More women in part-time work but no mention of the lack of part-time flexible work available to men

4. Women ‘shouldering the burden of caring’ which promotes the bizarre idea that parenting is a burden and work is a privilege and doesn’t consider the possibility that men might be ‘shouldering a burden’ by taking on the responsibility of earning and missing out on ‘the joy of parenting’.

This last point is particularly interesting as it links to new research that shows that rather than ‘shouldering the burden’ of parenting more mothers than fathers believe that it is a mothers job to look after children.

The Work Life Balance: Working For Fathers? report by the charity Working Families and Dr Caroline Gatrell at Lancaster University supports the theory that being the main breadwinner can be a burden on men with 82% of fathers saying they want to spend more time with their families.

All of which suggests that this is another area where those with the loudest voice – led by the tax-payer funded EHRC – are still pushing the old approach to gender equality that assumes that all men are equal and all women are not equal

Our belief is that this approach can only fail men and boys – and an approach that fails men and boys – fails everyone.

About

Glen Poole is UK co-ordinator for International Men's Day, Director at the consultancy Helping Men and news editor of insideMAN magazine. Follow him on twitter @HelpingMen or find out more about his work at www.helpingmen.co.uk.

Posted in NEWS, News From The Men's Network, World News On Men's Issues
6 comments on “Do men really cause the pay gap?
  1. […] Two British Newspapers –  The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail – carry reports a new report from the Centre For Policy Studies by Dr Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics who is a proponent of preference theory which challenges the perception that men’s sexism causes the gender pay gap. […]

  2. […] by emerging research challenging conventional thinking on the gender pay gap which challenges conventional thinking on the pay gap championed in the Equal Pay: Where Next? report promoted by The Equality and Human Rights […]

  3. […] by emerging research challenging conventional thinking on the gender pay gap which challenges conventional thinking on the pay gap championed in the Equal Pay: Where Next? report promoted by The Equality and Human Rights […]

  4. […] by emerging research challenging conventional thinking on the gender pay gap which challenges conventional thinking on the pay gap championed in the Equal Pay: Where Next? report promoted by The Equality and Human Rights […]

  5. […] When women spend less time in work and earn less in an average lifetime as a result – it’s called sexism against women and labelled the gender pay gap. […]

  6. […] School of Economics is a proponent of preference theory which challenges the perception that men’s sexism causes the gender pay gap. In her report “Feminist Myths and Magic Medicine – the flawed thinking behind calls for […]

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