This anti gender pay gap meme is making the rounds again. Here's why it's wrong

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Tuesday 23 August 2016 19:30
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Picture: Rawpixel Ltd/istock

A new report on motherhood and work has found that women who choose to have children earn one third less than men, even 12 years after giving birth.

Compiled by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) the results also show that despite the wage gap being at an all-time low, women are still being paid on average 18 per cent less per hour than men.

Others vehemently deny its existence:

Ben Southwood, writing for the pro-free market Adam Smith Institute put it this way:

As well as women having jobs they rate as more pleasant, and jobs that are objectively less risky, as well as doing more part-time work, women leave the labour market during crucial years, setting them substantially back in labour market terms. That is, the gap comes down to women's choices.

An infograph is once more making the rounds on social media, claiming the pay gap doesn't exist:

A closer look at the claim proves interesting:

Men choose the highest-paid specialisations.

As of 2015 the highest paid jobs were brokers, directors in the financial sector and aircraft pilots. And yet fewer than one in 10 executive directors in Britain’s top companies are women.

Yes, men are over-represented in the highest professions, but given that more women attend university than men, surely this disparity shouldn’t be so wide? Maybe there are other factors at play - like bias in interviews, or during annual reviews when promotions are decided.

The average man spends 14 per cent more time at work.

According to the World Economic forum, women in developed countries work on average 30 minutes longer than men on paid and unpaid work.

ONS statistics show that women are having children later on in life – with women aged 40 and over having babies more than women under 20 for the first time since 1947.

indy100 spoke to Anne Ritchie Allan, a manager for advocacy group Close the Gap:

This infograph perpetuates some unhelpful myths about the pay gap, and clearly misunderstands the factors which contribute to the entrenched inequality women face at work.

Gender norms and stereotyping from a young age results in a stark segregation in the different jobs that women and men do. Women’s employment is still concentrated in undervalued jobs such as care, retail and cleaning, which are low paid because they’re seen as ‘women’s work’.

The notion of ‘choice’ around which jobs women and men do fails to consider the constraints on women’s lives, such as their disproportionate responsibility for unpaid work such as care and domestic labour, and a lack of quality part-time and flexible working which prevents many women from progressing to senior roles.

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