What’s the deal with the gender pay gap?
Currently, South Africa is ranked 19 in the World Economic Forum report for gender inequality. The countries with the most gender equality are Iceland, Norway, Finland and Rwanda. At the bottom of the list are Syria, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.
According to Africa Check, South African women earn 23% less than men in comparison to Iceland’s 14%. Supporting that estimate, Stats SA conducted a survey in 2015 that found men earn an average income of R3 500 per month while women earn R2 700. The National Income Dynamic Study also calculated the gender wage gap at 25%.
The 2017 WEF Global Gender Gap Report found that if your average monthly salary is R12 631, his is R16 842.
According to Sandra Burmeister, CEO of executive search firm Amrop Landelahni, ‘This means women effectively earn in a full year what men earn in eight months.’
‘This trend is alarming. Even if a slow rate of change were to be maintained, it would take nearly 50 years for women’s pay to reach parity with that of men,’ says Burmeister.
So, we’ve got a long way to go but it’s encouraging to see it’s definitely possible.
With #TimesUp gaining momentum and the decades of activism towards gender equality finally becoming a reality, closing the gender pay gap could be sooner than we think.
Here are our list of what influential women had to say about the gender pay gap:
1 Emma Stone
‘In my career so far, I’ve needed my male co-stars to take a pay cut so that I may have parity with them. And that’s something they do for me because they feel it’s what’s right and fair. That’s something that’s also not discussed, necessarily — that our getting equal pay is going to require people to selflessly say, “That’s what’s fair.” If my male co-star, who has a higher quote than me but believes we are equal, takes a pay cut so that I can match him, that changes my quote in the future and changes my life,’ — Out Magazine
2 Mila Kunis
‘Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender. And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing. I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy’s club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realised that it’s bullshit! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.’ — A Plus
4 Serena Williams
‘I am in the rare position to be financially successful beyond my imagination. I had talent, I worked like crazy and I was lucky enough to break through. But today isn’t about me. It’s about the other 24 million black women in America. If I never picked up a tennis racket, I would be one of them; that is never lost on me.’ — Fortune
6 America Ferrera
‘But the truth is, we still have so much more to do. Take the fact that women around the world still don’t have equal pay, or that nine countries around the world don’t provide for paid maternity leave. When you look at the facts, you have to ask yourself: Where do we really stand when it comes to gender equality? The answer is: We’re just not there yet.’ — an email to supporters of the Clinton Foundation
7 Anne Hathaway
‘Women who can afford to take [full maternity leave] often don’t because it will mean incurring a “motherhood penalty”— meaning they will be perceived as less dedicated to their job and will be passed over for promotions and other career advancement. In my own household, my mother had to choose between a career and raising three children- a choice that left her unpaid and under-appreciated as a homemaker because there just wasn’t support for both paths.’ – addressing the United Nations on International Women’s Day 2017 as part of the #HeForShe movement
8 Venus Williams
‘Imagine you’re a little girl. You’re growing up. You practice as hard as you can, with girls, with boys. You have a dream. You fight, you work, you sacrifice to get to this stage. You work as hard as anyone you know. And then you get to this stage, and you’re told you’re not the same as a boy. Almost as good, but not quite the same. Think how devastating and demoralising that could be.’ — Grand Slam Committee meeting
‘We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change.’ – The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink
10 Jessica Alba
‘Women don’t get equal pay, there are not as many women in government positions or business positions. It’s just not equal. And until there is equality, you’re going to feel that, in any industry. But I was like, girls should have an equal seat at the table. Take Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, she’s opening films — she’s the box-office draw just as much as any guy, if not more. She should be compensated for that.’ — Cosmopolitan UK
11 Jennifer Lawrence
‘When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.’ —Lenny Letter
14 Emma Watson
‘The reality is that if we do nothing, it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred, before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work.’ — event for the HeForShe Campaign
15 Gwyneth Paltrow
‘It can be frustrating. It can be painful. Your salary is a way to quantify what you’re worth. If men are being paid a lot more for doing the same thing, it feels shitty.’ —Variety
16 Charlize Theron
‘This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way.’ — Elle UK
17 Viola Davis
‘What are you telling your daughter when she grows up? “You’ve got to just understand that you’re a girl. You have a vagina. So that’s not as valuable.”‘ — Mashable
Read about how Iceland criminalised the gender pay gap
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