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Gender equal pay, drawing pins and the Acne Studios Admyral bag

Hello and welcome to this reporter's old stomping ground, the local newspaper newsroom. The incessant dr-ing, dr-ing of the news desk telephone, the clitter, clatter of fingertips over keyboards, the sotto voce swearing as a computer mysteriously gobbles up copy moments before deadline. Ignore the reporter who has just fallen off his chair in the corner. He's had a "good lunch".

This reporter has brought you here today because she thought it a fitting setting to talk about gender equal pay. This subject has been rumbling on in the news for some time but has reached peak story with our Prime Minister Theresa May's insistence all companies, boasting more than 250 employees, submit their wage figures to the government.

The findings revealed - and you may want to sit down for this bit, have this empty swivel chair - that men are paid more than women in 7,795 out of 10,016 companies in the UK, based on median hourly pay.

Of course, as with most things, there is not one easy fix solution. It is not a case of shoving an extra few fivers in each female employees pay packet. Instead it requires the slow and arduous task of turning around the embedded attitudes of generations.

Attitudes that state it is not only acceptable to pay women far less for exactly the same job and professions more heavily populated by women should be lower earners but - and this is where in 2018 this reporter argues the real problem lies - think it fine to penalise women who take time out of the workplace to have children.

And no, this reporter isn't talking about instead providing extended paternity leave schemes and creches in workplaces. This reporter is calling for far more acceptance of the fact that women may want to completely pull out of their careers to raise their children and should not be denied equal pay or promotion either at the prospect of, or in the eventuality of, such a decision.

Susanne Moore, the Guardian columnist, sums it up best in her article on just this issue when she says it is not about equal female pay for life, but equal female pay for those who make life.

Alternatively, we could just turn to what TV presenter Claudia Winkleman has to say about employment. She recently talked about her father, "a brilliant, intelligent man", who at 24, found work with a major agency only to have something of an epiphany as he went to stick a drawing pin into a pin board at work. He thought to himself, "what am I doing here" and with that, picked up his briefcase and left to work as a farmer in Greece for two years.

Claudia felt moved to clarify she doesn't propose we all suddenly pile off to Greece but her point still stands - we don't have to bind ourselves to the corporate ladder to find success and happiness. This reporter suggests we all purchase this Acne Studios Admyral bag and wear it as a reminder that we are all only a drawing pin away from breaking free of our moorings and setting sail.

However, whilst we are still here on dry land, we absolutely, explicitly demand equal pay. "Click" and file copy.



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