I do, however, worry that some of the headlines surrounding this issue will begin to simplify the issue too much.
It is important to remember that many women choose to work part time or flexible hours for their own reasons – often because they have a family. Many women also choose to work in less stressful, high powered roles after having children.
I personally made a conscious decision to work in a lower paid role after having my family. I didn’t want to be in a pressured role, I valued time with my children over earning more money and wanted to have school holidays off. As a result, I moved my career into more flexible, easier and lower paid roles that suited my needs.
The reason for this gender pay scrutiny is important – it is to ensure women are not being undervalued or discriminated in the workplace. It is to ensure women are encouraged to take on the higher paid roles in the top section of companies. All these points are extremely important.
But please, headline writers, make sure these issues are not side-tracked and companies are not shamed for gender pay figures that might not be as simple as they seem. The figures can sometimes be indicating that a company offers flexible working for mothers, or that they encourage women to return to work after a career break or offer opportunities for women looking for a career change after having a family. We don’t want these opportunities to go away.