Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/970/26428
The Socialist 8 November 2017 |
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Bosses predict 217 years to close gender pay gap...
workers' struggle can close it now!
Barts NHS workers striking for better pay, 3.8.17, photo Sarah Wrack (Click to enlarge)
Tessa Warrington, Leicester Socialist Party
It will now take 217 years before women earn the same as men, according to the World Economic Forum. Even this estimation is a whopping 47 years longer than it predicted last year!
This is the first time these figures have shown the situation is going backwards. Perhaps unsurprising - as today's generation is also the first since the 1940s to be worse off than our parents.
It is clear that almost a decade of capitalist crisis and austerity is having a devastating impact on the working class. But especially so on those who rely on the public sector to even the playing field.
One million public sector jobs have been axed, and wages frozen for the rest, since 2008. This has traditionally been a majority-female workforce due to hard-won benefits such as flexi-time and part-year working, which support women with children staying in employment.
Women forced into private sector jobs are more likely to encounter zero-hour contracts and low pay. Many have had to give up their jobs as work-based crèche programmes are cut and the cost of childcare outweighs their monthly salary.
The gender pay gap is not simply about achieving like-for-like pay for men and women in the same positions. It is also about the ability of women to access higher-paid roles.
Women from wealthy backgrounds can afford a good education and childcare. But the vast majority of women are working class, and we rely upon the state, which is brutally hacking away at this support.
It is therefore outrageous that the World Economic Forum report shows the UK rising five places in global rankings due to what the Guardian calls "improvement in the political indicators after the appointment of Theresa May"!
Female representatives of the super-rich like May and Thatcher never did anything for working class women.
That's why women made up a majority of campaigners and voters for Corbyn, seeing that socialist policies could improve our lives.
The Socialist Party doesn't believe women will have to wait 217 years for equality. The World Economic Forum is a meeting of the capitalist elite. Organisations like that miss one crucial factor in their calculations: the ability of the working class to fight.
The welfare state was won through trade union struggle, and can be won again - this time finishing the job.
We need a mass, united struggle of working class women and men - including coordinated strikes - to overcome austerity, sweep aside gender discrimination and toss the sexist capitalist system onto the scrapheap where it belongs.