I sat with tint on my hair and a cappuccino by my side in ‘Blu’ the other day.

I rarely just sit and so embrace the enforced sitting still at the hairdressers; the chatter or chance to be quiet; the head massage and time to just flick without thinking through myriad magazines.

I usually dig out the Polly Vernon column in ‘Grazia’ and this particular one was a gem, all about women and our reticence to ask for the money we deserve for the work that we do.

The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between average hourly earnings of men and women as a proportion of average hourly men’s earnings, in all cases, excluding overtime. This measure, whilst falling, stands at 8.6 per cent for full time employees, but rises to a whopping 17.9 per cent when all employees are taken in.


Because this includes part-time work.

Who does more part-time work?


Not because we’re lazy, I hasten to add. In 2018, there was an almost zero gender pay gap between full-time workers between the ages of 18 to 39, however, for all employees the gap increases after 30 correlating with an increase in part-time work*.

It doesn’t take much chin-rubbing and head-scratching to pin-point some of the reasons (I am aware of my word limit stopping me delve in to all reasons). Women still do a higher proportion of caring and I read recently that they are overwhelmingly more likely to give up paid work to do this.

I stumbled across the term ‘sandwich caring’ recently which is caring for a dependent child whilst also caring for older or disabled relatives. In addition, survey after survey suggests it is still women at that kitchen sink; scrubbing that toilet and rustling up that dinner.

That’s before the life admin gets factored in, buying birthday presents; filling jolly jars (a column has already been written on that particular topic); planning trips; booking tickets; researching car insurance and so the list goes on.

This is not, and I repeat, not male bashing. There are many men caring, doing chores, working various hours, being supportive. But the reality for so many women that I know (and the statistics scream about the many women I don’t know), is that there still exists a gender pay gap.

Whether it is unpaid work to build your portfolio and reputation; a few extra unpaid hours at work to demonstrate your commitment; lengthy unpaid internships to get your foot in the door or accepting lower rates through lack of choice, no one should have to put up with that, whatever your gender.

To repeat, I am not anti-male and the fact that I feel the need to stress that, mindful of unpleasantness online, is in itself wrong.

But I am pro-women being valued and for that value to be valuable enough to be recompensed fairly.