Equal Pay Day and Gender Stereotyping

Every week I read another news article about gender discrimination. According to the World Economic Forum, the gender pay gap has increased this year. It is now estimated that it will take 170 years for women to have the same pay and employment opportunities as men.

Equal Pay Day

Even in the UK, there is still a 13.9% gender pay gap among full-time workers. To represent this figure, there is an annual Equal Pay Day. This year, Equal Pay Day is on 10th November. The reason this day was chosen is because it signifies the day when women effectively stop earning in comparison to their male counterparts.

This year, the Fawcett Society are asking people to join in with their Equal Pay Day campaign. They’re asking people to use the hashtags #EqualValue and #EqualPayDay on social media to raise awareness of the issue.

I love the fact that this campaign is happening and I hope it moves mountains. But I personally think that the problem is more deep rooted than that. Just in the past few weeks there have been three incidents that have made me cross.

Gender Stereotyping Is Alive And Kicking

My daughters are four and two years old and already they are subjected to gender stereotyping. A few weeks ago, we were eating dinner when a conversation started at the dinner table. My four year old explained that her friend had hurt herself, so she’d gone to see the school doctor. Understandably, my husband found it unlikely that there would be a doctor present at school. So he asked her a question:

Was it a lady or a gentleman?

Libby answered that it was a lady. Then my husband uttered the words:

It was probably a nurse then.

I must admit I found it very difficult to keep my temper when this was said. I explained to the girls that whether it was a lady or a gentleman was irrelevant. That ladies can be doctors and gentlemen can be nurses. But the damage was done.

The other thing I have noticed recently is that there has been a particular toy doing the rounds on people’s blogs. I’ve read some lovely reviews and it looks like a great toy. But it is a toy that would typically be aimed at boys. And I haven’t read one review from the point of view of a little girl. Likewise, dolls do the rounds on blogs and it’s very rare to see one reviewed by a boy. I was delighted when I saw this review on Mum to a Monster – Alyssa’s little boy loved his doll.

The third incident that really got me thinking was something my husband picked up on. Despite his obvious “error” in the above scenario, he is generally very aware of gender stereotyping and keen that our girls get the same opportunities as boys.

I don’t want to go into any detail about this one, but it’s safe to say that one of our girls went to an event recently. Before the event, we were told that the girls would all be doing one activity and the boys would be doing another. Each activity was very stereotypical in terms of gender and yet had our daughter been given the choice, she would have preferred the boys’ activity.

It’s Never Too Early To Learn About Equality

I’m glad that Equal Pay Day is taken seriously. I’m delighted that people are campaigning for gender equality. But until we stop stereotyping tiny children, there will always be an issue. It takes a lot of confidence to go against society’s expectations. Few teenagers are self-assured enough to defy the critics and follow their dreams.

Not enough females go into STEM careers. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This is problematic for several reasons and pay is actually the least of my concerns. STEM subjects are important. People working in these areas will be the inventors, the innovators, the forward thinkers. The people who find cures to diseases, combat global warming and find out things we never dreamed we could learn about the universe.

These are the people who will change the world. And different individuals bring different skill sets to those careers. So if only a tiny number of females go into these stereotypical male roles, we will miss out on their incredible minds working towards a better future.

Equal Pay Day and Gender Stereotyping

What are your experiences of gender stereotyping and how do you think we can put a stop to it and achieve true gender equality?



  1. Agent Spitback
    November 8, 2016 / 8:56 am

    Yes! What a great way to highlight gender inequality! I wish we needn’t have a day like this in the first place but gender discrimination still exists, sometimes on a more subtle level.

  2. November 8, 2016 / 9:10 am

    Great article. This is a topic I feel really passionately about. When my daughter now 20 months was born there was an news report that it would take 70 years for the gender pay gap to close in the UK. I looked down at my baby in my arms and felt so angry that due to her being born a girl she would likely always be paid less than her brother and not achieve equal pay before retirement. Its so shocking – especially considering girls generally outperform boys at every level of education. More good flexible and part time positions plays a huge role in this too. I’ll definitely play my part in using these hashtags on the 10th and doing what I can to support this important and necessary campaign.

  3. November 8, 2016 / 6:46 pm

    Yep, agree completely! This is such a big issue and one day isn’t going to change it x

  4. November 8, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    Oh this is a subject that really riles me up! As you say it is so much more than equal pay, it’s equal opportunities, flexible working, and beliefs deep rooted in society. I have actually been in a meeting where it a potential candidate was discussed and disregarded as oh she’s just got married she’ll have a baby soon. If people still think and make decisions like that how are our children going to smash that glass ceiling? Great post!

  5. November 9, 2016 / 2:15 pm

    A day like this really helps to highlight gender discrimination. I’ve become so much more aware of gender stereotyping since having the girls and it makes me cross when activities are divided into “boys” and “girls” activities – similarly with toys being separated by gender. It’s hard to resist it sometimes, especially when society keeps reinforcing the stereotype – we found Jessica was much more aware of things being “for boys” and “for girls” once she started preschool. That comment of your hubby’s would have made my blood boil too!

  6. November 10, 2016 / 10:22 am

    I quite agree – but my boys have done doll reviews. What I also hate is that my son is very much into crafts but his older brother has teased him (and been told off and my son wasn’t bothered) that the adverts for the products he wants are girls – and suggested for girls. But yes I do appreciate that women still suffer from it more because of the way they are treated and certainly the underpay

  7. November 10, 2016 / 2:05 pm

    Oh this annoys me. When they spilt children’s activities by gender its very frustrating. My niece always wants to do what has been set for the boys and ends up disappointed when really she should have the choice. Unless everyone can get on bored its a constant struggle to teach our children about equality. x

  8. November 10, 2016 / 4:36 pm

    You are so right about it all. I actually have a friend who is a female scientist. Although really, she’s just a scientist. She does some pretty important research too. She’s fiercely on top of gender stereotyping and gender pay gaps. In fact I’d love to see someone argue with her about it. She’s one of the most intelligent people I know.

    I’m always really shocked in this day and age, with all of the facts we have at our fingertips that different activities are split between genders. We always tell Oliver the only thing boys can do that girls can’t is stand up wees – and the only thing girls can do that boys can’t is have babies! I still see him say that certain things are for girls though, and that ‘girls don’t like x, y or z but boys do’. Obviously we correct him! Oh, and ‘big boys don’t cry’ has been uttered recently. Hard to teach your kids one thing when other people teach their kids the opposite once you start preschool/nursery/school. Sigh.

  9. November 11, 2016 / 6:52 pm

    I’m absolutely with you on this, I think a main approach to changing the way we view gender is through children, they are after all the future!

  10. November 13, 2016 / 6:12 pm

    Oh it is a crying shame that this is still going on and that our daughters may be no further on than we were. I uploaded a photo of my son in traditional t-bar shoes and a ‘friend’ texted me the photo in error asking why would you put a boy in those shoes. We didn’t fall out (although she didn’t apologise) but it was a typical example of gender stereotyping. Why shouldn’t children where what they (or their parents) want.

  11. November 14, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    What a great post. You already know how I feel about gender stereotyping, thank you for mentioning me BTW.
    I’ve already had baby girl called a boy because I’ve not had her constantly in pink clothing.

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