Monday is Equal Pay Day in the UK. According to the day's organizers, the Fawcett Society, "the current gender pay gap means that women effectively stop earning relative to men on a day in November." This year that day is today, November 9.
It is also a day for a conglomeration of online fuckwits to gather together to share poor memes, bad stats, and prophetic one-liners in an effort to debunk a statistical fact: that women get paid less than men—14.2 percent in the UK, to be precise.
So we decided to round up a choice selection of Twitter's most visionary equal pay deniers.
Myth 1: Women don't get paid the same because they don't want to do hard jobs
"It goes like this: You know the problem with these women, they don't want to get their hands dirty. Them women with their nimble fingers and their periods and child-bearing. You wouldn't find a lady trucking around a building site, would you? Ever seen a female dock worker? Scaffolder? Miner? Who comes and collects your trash every week, darling? Wouldn't know a day's work if it slapped you on the ass. Etc."
At its core, it's the most basic of longings for a bygone age where men were men and women were women and bars were still good and cigarettes were cheap.
But it's also displaying the most fundamental ignorance of the historical and systematic demeaning of women's labor—i.e. that woman have traditionally worked as unpaid carers to everyone around them. Manual labor is an undeniably hard grind. But do you know what else is? Cleaning shitty diapers. Especially the shitty diapers of your 80-year-old mother. And probably after you've finished working a six-hour shift at Walmart, done all the shopping, picked the kids up from school, and made dinner.
And let's just drag this into 2015, where not all women are mothers and great societal strides like gay marriage, abortion, and the pill have happened and women have proved their capacity for hard work on an industrial scale. Only 11 percent of the construction industry is female and just one percent work on building sites. Why? Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that there aren't any other women working on building sites. Obviously women are going to be put off joining sectors they've historically been excluded from at every single level. Why would any girl want to be a scaffolder when she's never seen a woman doing it?
So maybe instead of asking women why they don't want to do more manual labor, perhaps instead ask why the manual labor they have traditionally done is so undervalued.
Myth 2: Women are not as clever as men
HAHAHA. I mean ... I don't even .... Let's just debunk this one with some facts.
But if women are outperforming men at school and at university, why are they still being paid less? Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society says it's partly to do with the "mummy trap"—i.e. employers seeing you as some sort of gaping womb so distracted by an undulating longing to be impregnated that they could never promote you because you'd just get knocked up again. It is, according to research, the reason 54,000 women in Britain quit their jobs last year.
Myth 3: The pay gap is a lie
In particular this video, which claims—actually quite reasonably by a "world-leading economist"—that the figures are "simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full time. It doesn't take into account differences in occupation, positions, job tenure, hours worked per week." When you do take these factors into account, the wage gap disappears.
Except it doesn't. In fact, the higher up your career you go, the worse it gets. Stats released on Monday by the TUC show that the pay gap for the highest earners is actually 55 percent. And it's nothing to do with qualifications. Plenty of studies show that female graduates in a range of industries—from science to law to medicine, are paid less than men with similar qualifications.
Myth 4: Women are lazy
It is true that men work longer hours in the workplace. And that only gets worse when they have kids and they have to pick up the financial slack. Plus, men are way more likely to have their requests for flexible working turned down—meaning even if they wanted to change diapers for more hours a day, they couldn't.
That's bad. But society's historical demeaning of care work as feminine and therefore financially worthless has absolutely nothing to do with the statistics on equal pay, which show that despite how many hours worked, women do just get paid, per hour, less than men. Even if they both worked just one hour a year, a man in the UK would get paid 14.2 percent more.
Myth 5: If women want to earn more, they should be doctors, not secretaries
Leaving aside the current proposed new contract for doctors, which will pillage their earnings to such an extent that some of them have actually said they'd be better off working in McDonalds, let's take aim at the real problem here—women's insatiable obsession with being secretaries. I mean, look at them, tottering about with their Joan Holloway up-dos and Roland Mouret dresses pressed in hotel rooms after lunchtime dalliances with Mr. Chairman of the Boards. Look at them moaning about how they're not raking it in when there are men out there working on wards, saving lives. Just imagine what would happen if they caught on to the idea that being a secretary is actually a highly skilled and demanding job done by both men and women and that women have actually been allowed to be doctors for over 100 years. And despite this, in the UK they still earn 29 percent less than male doctors.
Myth 6: Men work low-paid jobs, too
Did anyone ever say they didn't? Nobody, anywhere, is saying men should be paid less. They are saying that women should be paid equally to men.
But do you know who makes up the majority of the low-paid workforce? Women. And do you know who tends to be stuck in low-paid work for longer? Women.
So let's just stop all the "us and them" neanderthal club-beating about the "glass cellar" (get it?) and try to work toward everyone, regardless of gender race, sexual orientation, disability, or age being entitled to the basic human right of a decent wage. Peace.
Image via @NorBdelta