Labour Market

IEA: Equal Pay Day campaign is “plainly inaccurate” and “promotes misleading narrative”



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Lifestyle Economics

Kate Andrews responds to Equal Pay Day campaign

Responding to the Fawcett Society’s Equal Pay Day campaign (14 November 2019), Associate Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs Kate Andrews said:

“Once again, the Equal Pay Day campaign promotes a misleading narrative around women in work. 

“It is plainly inaccurate to suggest women are now ‘working for free’ until the end of the year, as the data used to calculate Equal Pay Day does not take into account the job, age, education, or background of male and female workers. It compares the salaries of established CEOs to new hires right out of university, and then claims sexism is the only explanation for pay differentials. 

“The campaign also uses a pay gap calculation that results in a figure 4.2 percentage points higher (nearly 40% greater) than the official data promoted by the Office for National Statistics. By using the ONS’s mean calculation, the Fawcett Society cherry-pick figures to suit a preconceived narrative of “women as victims” that does not match the reality of what women are actually experiencing in the workplace today.

“Furthermore, the Fawcett Society badly conflates the gender pay gap – which is a matter of statistical averages, which can be calculated in a variety of ways – with the issue of equal pay for equal work – which has been mandated by law in the UK since 1970.

“It is rather disparaging to women to think they can’t see through such shoddy analysis of the pay gap. But this misleading campaign does a huge disservice to girls and young women, who are being told from a very young age that no matter how hard they work, or how good they are, they will never be as successful as men. 

“Feminist groups should stop bombarding women with inflated and cherry-picked statistics, and instead consider celebrating the huge gains women have made in the workforce over the past few decades.”

Notes to editors:

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For further IEA reading on the gender pay gap, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.