It is said that the gender pay gap has reached a point of extinction nationally, that it is somewhat of an endangered species internationally. This is not so.
The same arguments reverberate around old rooms: flaws in the calculation of averages, the natural differences between men and women, the minimisation of the gap itself. Yet there is another room, along the corridor, behind a hefty fire door we are instructed to keep shut. It is a fully soundproofed space in which a voice tells one that the raw statistic remains, whatever the permutations, and must tell one something. It must be made to tell one something.
When every bone is contentious, deciding which one to break first is often perplexing. Here we will first tackle the use of employment sectors in the calculation of wage differences. It is manifestly clear that such calculations fail to discriminate between varying career paths within one sector, rather assuming all wage-earners within that one sector are employed in the same tasks. This makes invisible the distinction between male and female occupations within each sector. But these flaws in calculation also make visible this invisibility, so that now, the fire door propped open, we notice a glass door between us and a well-proportioned, but dimly-lit room.
The gender pay gap, then, has not only demonstrated the segregation between different sectors, but the segregation between different occupations within these sectors. The gender pay gap reveals a gender job gap. And whilst men and women are employed in separate sectors and separate occupations within these sectors, the gender pay gap remains a relevant reminder of these facts.