Content warning: this article contains exclusive language in its discussion of the wage gap. Because this field is built on binary language regarding gender, we have not found a right way to discuss it without using this language ourselves.


In the end of last year, the college of human rights researched the wage gap in the financial sector. A research similar to this one had been done twice before, and just like previous times, a significant difference between what men earn and what women earn was detected. According to the World Economic Forum, it is going to take 217 years to globally achieve equal pay. It is interesting to take a close look at these numbers and then realize that only 61% of all men believe unequal renumeration is real.

The wage-gap-discussion has been very present in the news over the last month because of incidents with ladies like Carrie Gracie and Cat Sadler. In the run up to Gracie’s separation with the BBC, she had filed a complaint about unequal pay back in August, but unfortunately to no avail. She was offered more money but the offer would not result in gender equality in the BBC pay system.

In the Netherlands, men earn approximately 16,1% more then their female co-workers. Feminist critics say that one of the main causes of this problem is that women are conditioned to take their wage as it is, and are less likely to negotiate for better pay. Opposing views often state that women bring this upon themselves; they choose to work part-time and this decreases their earnings and their career opportunities. How much of that is a free choice though, and how much of that is an effect of societal norms?

According to the law, employers are forbidden to discriminate on basis of gender. This is arguably the reason many men are under the assumption that the wage gap is no longer a reality. The government, however, does not check if these rules are being violated in the real-life business atmosphere. This is why Liliane Ploumen is suggesting that from now on, companies have to prove that they are enforcing pay equality strictly. It’s a switch of the burden of proof: before, women had to do research and ask around to check if her suspicions are true. Ploumen wants to turn this around. Labor inspection is now obliged to investigate companies every once in a while, and to give out certificates that validate the equality within a business.

If Ploumen is able to go through with this legislative proposal, let’s hope that maybe, finally, the wage-gap deniers will be right.

Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash

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