So, here it comes, the morphing of the complaints about the gender pay gap into the true political demand. All must be more equal just because. That is, this isn’t about gender or even sex, it’s about the demand that wages must be more equal for all.
What else can we assume from this by Rachel Reeves?
Rachel Reeves, the chair of the BEIS select committee, said: “Transparency on gender pay is only the beginning. We need to examine why these pay gaps persist, why within the same sector there may be companies with wildly differing pay-gaps, and what remedies are needed to tackle them.”
She said excessive executive pay was “at root an issue of fairness”. She said the committee would also look at whether the new reporting scheme was properly capturing the salaries of staff, and what steps companies were taking to address the pay gap.
“Pay awards for top bosses which vastly outstrip worker pay and which owe little to building genuine long-term value in a company are impossible to justify and damage the social contract between business and the public. Unjustified executive pay awards are the most corrosive influence on public trust in business and businesses must face up to their responsibilities and tackle this problem. If businesses don’t step up on executive pay, government will need to step in.”
You see how the sidestep has been done?
The original complaint, a fair enough one to be honest, was that men and women were paid different amounts to do the same jobs. Something that’s been illegal for 50 years and doesn’t happen at anything above the level of statistical noise today. And yet it’s obviously true that men and women, on average, earn different amounts. The difference is falling, as we’d expect it to given the female irruption into the professions and higher education. But it’s still there.
The why it’s still there is the different – on average, as always – reactions to the arrival of children. More women than men opt to become primary child carer, more men than women opt to go hunt for higher incomes to provide for the snotdribblers. This is actually true as well – we can explain the entirety of the observed earnings gap purely by pointing to the mothers’ pay penalty, the fathers’ pay premium. Nothing else, at all, is required to explain the numbers we see.
As this plays out it means that we’ve more men climbing the greasy pole and that means that average male pay/earnings are higher. And that’s it, really, that’s all it is. The solution is that either primary child care equalises – possibly a little difficult in a sexually dimorphic species – or we put up with the gap.
But now note how the political demand has morphed. We must wipe out all inequalities in pay. No one should get high pay because it’s likely to be men who get it even.
Hmm, the answer is probably that Rachel Reeves should go boil her head.