Today, the world is observing International Equal Pay Day – a reminder for all of us to continue the fight to end pay discrimination among employees.
A 2019 study by UN Women showed inequality between the salaries of men and women continues to persist despite global efforts to narrow the gap. And with this gap, women tend to suffer more as they are usually limited to taking on more responsibilities in caring for their families and, as a result, sacrificing their careers.
Read more: Gender pay gap costs firms $1B weekly
The same study showed female employees across the world make 23% less than what male employees make. Worse, women of colour earn only half of white men’s wages.
Disparity in wages also continues as more and more women retire into poverty, which shows how women have been suffering pay discrimination throughout generations.
Aside from women, the majority of people largely affected by the pay gap include LGBTQIA+ workers and people of colour.
Read more: Do ethnic minorities earn less than white peers?
How to strive for equal pay for equal work
Organisations will have to consider new steps to close the widening gap of wages, especially between people who make equal contributions in the same function or role. For change to happen, it must start with the leaders. Here are simple but impactful ways on how to continue the fight:
Start talking with people.
There are many who still deny the existence of gender pay inequalities. Despite the data, they still believe that the gap is only made up. Raising awareness is thus the first step towards bringing the pay gap to an end. Start talking with more people and the community at large about the pay gap. Encourage them to take a closer look at research about wage inequality.
Support non-profit organisations for workers’ rights.
Consider donating to or partnering with organisations like Equal Rights Advocates, a non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing women’s rights in the workplace. The organisation is known for pushing towards legislation to end discrimination against women.
Lead the change: review and minimise the gender pay gap in your own workplace.
Knowing that women are largely underrepresented at work and receive far less pay for the same contribution and impact is only the start of the story. The greater challenge is for leaders to take a good hard look at their own organisations and determine whether these inequalities are driving a wedge between different segments of their workforce.
Enlist an independent auditor that specialises in reviewing and rectifying income inequality in your business and work with them towards measures that put an end to pay disparity.
Giving workers, particularly women, equal pay for equal work, will provide them with opportunities to support their well-being and care for their loved ones without sacrificing their career growth.