Can You Believe This Academic Argument About The Gender Pay Gap?


Another entry in our register of reasons to doubt the expansion of the universities. Look at the level of logic that has gone into this piece of research. There’s a gender pay gap in British universities and sure, there is. Not as large as they say as they’re glossing over full and part time, career breaks curbing rises to the top and all that. But, still, there is a pay gap.

As they identify there’s a digital skills gap too. Those with fewer digital skills gain less promotion and thus less pay.

Women tend to have fewer of these digital skills.

So, let’s ask the question again. Is there a gender pay gap? Some discrimination against women that means they’re paid less? Or are we talking about rational discrimination? In a digital world those who can navigate a digital world make more than those who cannot?

The answer being assumed here is that women’s lack of digital skills is the gender gap – the one thing it cannot actually be. For there is no discrimination against women learning whatever digital skills they desire to put the effort into learning. Thus it’s not discrimination, is it?

Britain has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the European Union, with women earning roughly 21% less than men. This means that women in UK universities today are still earning less than their male colleagues. So although laws on equal pay have been in place for more than 40 years, there is still a large gender pay gap in UK universities. The difference in hourly pay between men and women is 15% in top UK universities and 37% in other universities. What’s more, men have most of the top jobs in UK universities, while women have more of the lower-paid jobs. And this “gender pay gap” may keep getting wider if women aren’t supported to develop their digital skills. This is because women tend to have less advanced digital skills than men – skills that are increasingly in demand for university lecturer roles. And as universities around rely more extensively on digital technology, they need employees who have creative digital skills – which means women are more likely to miss out on jobs, promotions and pay increases.

Women in universities are still using tippex on the screens. That’s discrimination these days. And people wonder why we think the expansion of the universities might not have been a good idea.

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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston

And they seque seamlessly between ‘earn’ and ‘pay’ hoping you don’t notice.