After reading The Guardian, I learned that you took action on a long time problem: You took a 25% pay cut as a “cooperative gesture” to reduce the wage gap between men and women.
You became aware that women at Channel Four make 30% less annually than their male equals, and you decided to take action. Like Robin Hood, you took surplus from those at the top, in this case you, in order to help those below, in this case, women. I understand that by taking this pay cut, you were attempting to make a difference.
But did you make a difference?
Unlike Robin Hood, you have not handed anything down. The lives of the people you were attempting to better (the women at Channel Four) did not change. They continue working for the same wage. Women do not have any choice in receiving a 30% (on average) lower income than their male peers. You can choose to receive a lower income. You have the agency of choice. Tomorrow you could wake up and realize this whole act of philanthropy was just an impulsive reaction. Just a momentarily lapse in judgment. Would you return to return to your original salary if you could? After all, what the company is paying you must be what you are worth.
In a public response to your action, Piers Morgan tweeted that he doesn’t understand why men such as yourself are taking pay cuts to “establish ‘gender equality.’” Morgan says that you are “brilliant” at your job and that if a woman is as good as you, she should be paid the same.
I agree with Morgan. I agree that if a woman is as “good” as any man, she should be paid equally. I agree that salary should be based on performances, not on genitals. But Morgan doesn’t seem to understand the real world. Morgan seems to be under the impression that every woman that is working at Channel Four is 30% less valuable, 30% more inadequate or just 30% worse at their job than their male peers.
Channel Four’s Chief Executive, Alex Mahon, said that there is no quick fix to closing the gender gap. But it begins with understanding the “complex and multiple reasons” the wage gap exists.
The gender wage gap exists because the business world is a manifestation of the patriarchal society that dominates our culture. Not because of the actual people who work within this world. Hundreds of males in your position chose to not take any action at all, so I truly commend your effort. But I want you to understand how voluntarily taking a pay cut does nothing to close the gender wage gap. Percentages within Channel Four News may be closer, but the greater outside world is not affected. The women are still making the same amount, no matter what men take a pay cut. Where does that extra pay go to? Not the women, right? Your actions are no more influential than Morgan’s opinionated tweets.
Did you take the pay cut to help close the gap? Or did you take the pay cut in order to say you were helping to close the wage gap?
I hope this makes you strongly consider your next move,