Why women are working for free from now until next year

From today until the end of the year women are effectively working for free because of the gender pay gap [Photo: Getty]

How’s your day at work shaping up ladies? Drowning in emails? Back to back meetings? To-do list off-the-scale? But no matter how tough your working day least there’s the silver lining in the thought that you’re getting paid for it. Oh wait, turns out you're not. Because from now until 2017 female employees are effectively working for free thanks to the gender pay gap.

According to statistics released by the The Fawcett Society, a charity for womens’ rights, the current pay gap stands at almost 13.9% and would take an inconceivable 60 years to eradicate if we continue at the progress rate we’re going.

To fight back the organisation has dubbed today ‘Equal Pay Day’ and called for men to help them join their fight to secure equal pay for both sexes.

It’s a fight that has gathered pace over the past month with women across Europe taking parts in various walkouts in protest of the pay disparity. Earlier this week women in French workplaces switched off their computers at precisely 4.34pm, the exact moment at which their annual 38.2 days of ‘unpaid labour’ began. And back in October thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2.38pm on a Monday afternoon, the time from which they are essentially working for free per eight-hour day they work.

Though not everyone is in a position to walk out of their workplace to make a stand, we’ve come up with some alternative mini ‘protests’ that might not have the same clout, but will at least make you feel you’re making your pay gap point.

  • If you get a male colleague to buy for in the office Secret Santa buy him something that costs 13.9% less than the set budget.
  • Next time you do the tea round, give your male colleagues 13.9% less tea.
  • Celebrating a birthday at work? Sorry, male colleagues you’ll only get 86.1% of a slice of cake.
According to statistics it will take 60 years to close the pay gap [Photo: Getty]

Obviously it’s not actually your male colleagues fault that women are earning so much less than their male counterparts, but as the Fawcett Society points out, unless we all get behind the fight for equal pay, it’s likely we’ll only continue to make the baby step progress we’ve been making so far, or indeed start to slip backwards.

“A root cause of the gender pay gap is that we don’t value the work done by women,” says Fawcett Society chief executive Sam Smethers. “As we mark EPD this year we are focusing on the fundamental question of who and what we value and asking why it is that we don’t value women and the work they do – paid or unpaid.”

“Equal value goes to the heart of the fight for pay equality, because the reality is that if it is a sector dominated by women the pay will be lower,” she continues. “As we look ahead to a UK outside the EU and possibly the single market, we have to guard against the risk of going backwards and losing some of the rights that women have fought for over many years.”

What would you like to see done to close the gender pay gap? Let us know @YahooStyleUK

Women a ‘distinct minority’ among highest UK earners

Women feel pressured to dress ‘sexier’ at work by wearing heels and putting on make-up