The Gender Pay Gap Myth

The BBC has a number of articles on its website to mark “Equal Pay Day”.

Campaigners highlight 10 November as the point in 2017 when a woman on an average wage stops being paid relative to their male counterparts.

But in some parts of the UK, the gender pay gap is so wide, it is as though women work unpaid from September.

This is complete nonsense. There is no gender pay gap. Men and women are paid the same for working the same number of hours in the same job. That is the law.

There is a gender earnings gap because women are choosing to do different jobs from men for a smaller number of hours. This is almost entirely due to women with children working part time and closer to home. Young single women earn the same or more than men the same age. Couples are deciding freely how to divide up work and childcare responsibilities. No one is being discriminated against.

Why does the BBC not publish data on the gender spending gap caused by men working longer hours further from home to provide money for the mothers of their children to spend, while the men are working and commuting? Spending is surely a more realistic measure of economic power than earning.

It would be closer to the truth to say that women stop working on 10 November and spend the rest of the year shopping and playing with the kids. (Though that too would be tendentious of course).

The “gender pay gap” is a divisive feminist myth and the BBC should stop reporting it as fact.

Reality Check Check

The BBC’s Reality Check today says this:

The claim: The UK trades with “the rest of the world” (non-EU countries) under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Reality Check verdict: This is wrong. With regard to tariffs, the UK trades with 24 countries and territories under WTO rules alone. With 68 others it has, as part of the EU, free trade agreements, either fully or partly in place, which all enable trade on better terms.

If you check here you will see that the list of 24 countries with which we trade on WTO rules includes our biggest non-EU trading partners, the USA, China, UAE, Hong Kong etc. Adding these up, they account for 32% of our global exports, which is 57% of our non-EU exports. So more than half our non-EU trade is conducted under WTO rules. (I don’t know why India with 1.1% of UK trade is not included here, since the EUs trade negotiations with India are currently stalled).

In fact much of our trade with the other 68 states mentioned is also conducted under WTO rules. The EU lists 50 FTAs, but on closer examination only a handful of these are fully comprehensive FTAs (see here and here) leaving much trade conducted under WTO rules. It would be complicated to calculate exactly how much, but it is clear the UK trades with most of the rest of the world on WTO rules.