The gender pay gap is a myth, argues Alex Claridge

The gender pay gap is a myth – please don’t buy it

Men and women doing the same jobs for Canterbury City Council earn the same amount of money, we learned last week.

Equally, men and women doing the same jobs for Kent Police earn the same amount of money, we learned yesterday.

Both organisations went out of their way to point this fact out – and not without good reason despite an 11% average difference in pay within the council and a 13% difference within the police.

It fell to Mark Gilmartin, director of support services at Kent Police, to qualify the force’s figure.

He said: “All officers and employees of Kent Police are paid equally for the same positions, irrespective of gender.

Kent Police’s Mark Gilmartin

“The fact is that there is a higher percentage of male officers than female, and in the same way – there are more women staff than men.”

In other words, there isn’t a gender pay gap at Kent Police. There are just different people doing different jobs for different periods of time.

Moreover, a woman who becomes a police officer in her early 20s and who then decides in her late 20s or early 30s to have a few years out raising children will not earn the same as a man who serves continuously.

At Canterbury City Council, meanwhile, we find that while its chief executive is a man, for the last 20 years or so many of its most accomplished officers have been women.

They include Velia Coffey, Janice McGuiness, Suzi Wakeham, Larissa Reed, Lora McCourt and Tricia Marshall.

Any effort to use these figures to paint a picture of institutional discrimination within any organisation which pays the same regardless of gender is thoroughly dishonest.

Kent Police, unfortunately, couldn’t resist committing itself to addressing issues which are non-existent. Mr Gilmartin added: “Addressing the disparity in representation at senior police officer levels will take time, but measures are already in place to help close the gap.”

This implies that people should be appointed to positions of authority not on the basis of such things as experience, skill or suitability to the job, but according to who they are, according to their identities.

And then perhaps we should ask ourselves why stop at the disparity between men and women? Why not divide men up between those with hair on their heads and those without.

If those with hair are earning more than those without, why not attribute it to institutional baldism within the organisation. If it’s the other way round, we’ll call it hairism.

We are straying towards silliness here, of course, but that is perhaps the best way to describe the hysteria around the gender pay gap.

It is evidence of a strangely tenacious preoccupation among the liberal establishment with creating systems of absolute equality when in fact real life as experienced by billions of people offers no such guarantees.

Prof Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institute

This is an argument which has been advanced by the American political philosopher Thomas Sowell for decades.

As long ago as 1980, Prof Sowell said: “As I look at numbers from various places around the world I don’t find anything faintly resembling an even representation of people in any institution anywhere in the world.

“There are all kinds of factors involved, but what’s amazing to me is this notion that people would be evenly represented except for these institutional policies. This notion has such momentum behind it without a speck of evidence being provided or even asked for.”

Worse still, such things as the gender pay gap myth – and the assertion that university lecturers are unknowingly racist – creates an entirely false impression of the world in which we live.

At the root of all such things is a spiteful campaign to paint this country in the worst possible light, to imagine it as a divided society always and everywhere polluted by myriad varieties of discrimination and dislike of one another.

Please don’t buy it. It’s just not true.

One response to “The gender pay gap is a myth – please don’t buy it”

  1. GPG is a reflection of opportunity through the prism of representation. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best system we have for showing women are missing out all too often. This piece is good as click bait, but little else.

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