Equality in the workplace is obviously something that we are very keen to advocate here at TheEmployable (check out our thoughts on the recent Jeremy Clarkson fiasco) . Great strides have been made in recent decades to address many of the key equal treatment issues, that had for too long been allowed to fester in the world of work. That being said there still remains a great deal of work to be done.
Much has been said about geographical discreprancies in rates of pay but alongside this, another comparably pressing inequality, yet to be fully eradicated, is that of the gender pay-gap. A recent study revealed that in the UK the average female workers earn 19.7% less than their male counterparts employed in the same role; the situation has improved, but we are still a country-mile off where we need to be.
It’s a topic that has been receiving a huge amount of attention all over the world, with a seemingly chronic discrepancy in the rates of pay being widely recognised in the US, Europe, and beyond. In short, it’s nothing new, and when an issue is as well trodden as this one, the question of how to reinvigorate interest and passion in the debate arises. This is the challenge the people at <100 popup in the US have set for themselves.
<100 or ‘Less than 100’ is a travelling pop-up shop project quite different from any other we have encountered before. With the Tagline ‘Pay What You Earn’ the shop features the work of local female makers and artists, and seeks to highlight the inequalities of the gender pay gap, by charging men 100% of the asking price for goods. Women onthe other hand are allowed to pay a reduced price based on whatever the percentage difference in average pay between the sexes is within the area. For example the first month-long project has just taken place in the Pennsylvania city of Pittsburgh, where women on average earn just 76c for every dollar that a man does, therefore women in the pop-up shop only pay 76% of the price of the goods.
One could argue that the act of discriminating based on gender, as a means of alleviating discrimination based on gender is somewhat hypocritical… but that’s a discussion for another time.
Throughout the month there have also been a number of events held alongside the popup shop designed to connect and empower women and girls within the local area.
All money raised from the sale of the goods goes directly to the artists taking part, meaning that <100 is a not-for-profit organisation; but that doesn’t stop founder Elana Schlenker from having big plans for her protest enterprise!
Autumn of 2015 will see <100 return for a second round, when it will take on the pay inequalities within the great state of Louisiana with a popup shop in New Orleans, that will charge women just 66% compared to their male counterparts.
What do you think of this business model as a way of highlighting gender pay inequalities? How do you think that it would go down in the UK? We’re sure you will have an opinion on this, so please feel free to let us know!