Women work ‘for free’ from today until end of year

From today, women are effectively working for free in Ireland.

“In Ireland, the gender pay gap is 14%. This means that, from Friday, women in Ireland are effectively working for free for the rest of this year,” said designer Sonya Lennon who founded the charity Dress for Success.

Since 2011, the charity has supported more than 1,500 women returning to employment with professional clothing, skills, and development opportunities.

Dress for Sucess is running a campaign throughout the month of November and has designated today Ireland’s Equal Pay Day.

“Based on the fact that the average pay gap [between men and women] is 14%, we calculated that, from November 10 to the end of the year, women are effectively working for free,” Ms Lennon told the Irish Examiner.

“That’s based on average so, if you take some of the big offenders like in the financial services, the pay gap stands at around 30%.

“If we are carrying these differences in our salaries now they become an exponential issue in our pensions.”

Aside from her professional work as a designer, Ms Lennon has spent several years dealing with the issue and said pay disparity starts from the “get-go” in a person’s career.

“You set your scale from the get-go,” she said. “It is widely recognised that men are better at negotiating their wages than women. But now is not the time to be coy about your worth.

“It comes down to self-worth and self-esteem and not being afraid to place a value on yourself.”

She said that, when it comes to negotiating for your salary you need to take a practical, fact-based, approach where you figure out: What is the top salary I can expect from this position?

Ms Lennon said this is not a “men versus women situation” but, instead, it is about “all of us working together to create equality”.

“In the future, what parent wouldn’t want their son or daughter on the same salary for the same job? This is not an unreasonable request,” said Ms Lennon.

Dress for Success is holding its annual sale at 4 Ellis Quay, Smithfield, Dublin 7, between 12pm and 4pm today and 10am to 3pm tomorrow.

The sale includes designer clothes and shoes for bargain prices with proceeds going towards the work of Dress for Success.

Meanwhile, Irish company and careers marketplace Jobbio, has launched its own campaign for Ireland’s Equal Pay Day.

The company researched a variety of salaries in the tech sector, from chief financial officers to project managers, which reveals the large pay disparity between men and women’s pay.

Looking at the salary of a chief financial officer within the tech industry in London, men received on average £108,000 for the role, whereas women in the same position were renumerated with £59,400.

Jobbio has launched the #ShatterTheGlass channel — a curated feed of jobs available in companies which have pledged to bridge the pay gap.


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