More women attending Universities yet, gender pay gap is still an issue

The future of young adults has never been so uncertain as it is now. As it stands, tuition fees have in the last year increased from £9, 000 to £9, 250. It is, therefore, a surprise that many still choose to apply to university with the recent statistics indicating 527, 670 applications in 2017 and almost 98, 000 more women in comparison to men had applied to university by the end of June 2018, to start a degree in September.

The overall number of people applying to university has dropped, however, the gender gap for applications is currently at 97, 300. According to Higher Education Student Statistics, over 1, 300, 000 women enrolled on various courses in comparison to 1, 002, 820 men in 2016/17.

It is, therefore, very disheartening to still having to report on the gender pay gap. The gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women at work. Public and private sector employers with 250 or more employees are required to annually publish data on the gender pay gap within their organisations. 10, 000 firms have provided details of their gender pay gap with analysis showing that ¾ of them are paying men more than women which are 78% of companies that pay men more which is 8 in 10 firms.

The recent statistics clearly indicate more women are attending university and are therefore expecting to have not only a well- paid job but to also enter an equal working environment. However, that is not the case. Among full-time employees, women tend to be paid less per hour than men. The difference in average pay for men and women occur for various reasons such as the different type of jobs they do, the number of years they have spent in the workplace, whether they have a child or if they are caring for someone elderly. However, it is important to outline that there still is a massive gender pay gap regardless of the different factors involved.

Men also make up the majority of high paid jobs which means fewer women are recruited for top positions. For example, the airline industry has been reported as one of the most unequal industries with this year’s report showing Ryanair has been paying their female staff 71.8% less than their male colleagues. Amid the reports, Ryanair has stated that the high gender pay gap is due to the different job roles men and women are in within the airline. Most men are pilots which leave women in the cabin crew roles which also happen to be the lowest paid jobs in the airline industry. This is not an isolated case as many industries emulate the inequality within their spaces. This demonstrates a wider societal problem and raises the question why most senior roles are still occupied by men and why women, despite their capability, determination and qualification choose to settle in traditional roles.

Firstly, to tackle the gender pay gap, having a gender pay gap needs to become unlawful. Further work needs to be done to achieve equal pay and to create an equal working environment for everyone. The aim should be to encourage young individuals especially women to feel comfortable to strive for senior positions and to further scrutinise any workplace which treats and pays women and men differently for the same role.

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Heidi Boahen

Heidi was born and raised in Germany and moved to the UK at the age of 14. She has a degree in Sociology and Social Policy and a Masters in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice. She believes in rights and equality for all. She is also currently working for an MP in the Labour Party within the House of Commons.

Heidi Boahen has 5 posts and counting. See all posts by Heidi Boahen

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