miércoles, 7 de octubre de 2015

Talking point: The gender gap

This week's talking point is the gender gap. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • What examples of sexist behaviour and language can you think of?
  • How do you feel or react in those situations?
  • What are the main differences between women and men's roles in today's society?
  • In what aspects of life have men and women achieved greater equality?
  • What areas still need improvement?
  • Do men and women have equal rights in your country?
  • Do you think the situation of gender equality is looking up in your country? And in the world?
  • How does the situation compare to 50 and 100 years ago?
  • Have you ever felt discriminated against for gender reasons?
  • Do you know anyone who has?
  • Which jobs are typically done by men and which ones by women these days?
  • Why is that?
  • Do you think boys and girls should be treated differently? Think about the topics below:
single sex schools
other issues (example: more freedom for boys than for girls) 

To illustrate the topic you can watch this BBC news item on the pay gap between men and women in top-ranking jobs.

The gender pay gap has been highlighted and condemned before now. Men in the same sort of jobs as women being paid more. Today we learnt that’s been made worse by the gulf between bonuses paid out to executives. A survey by the Chartered Management Institute shows that men earned average bonuses of more than £6,400 last year compared with just over 3,000 for women. In the most senior roles, male directors got bonuses of £63,700 on average whereas their female counterparts received just over 36,000. The group says there are several factors behind this.
Women are perhaps less adept than their male counterparts at negotiating for pay rises in bonuses. The second is, of course, that women leave the workforce to have children and often return with less confidence than they need. And lastly at the top it’s a very male-dominated culture, that can put women off.
If there’s discrimination over pay, women can take legal action, but experts say that’s not always straightforward.
It can take many months if not year to get a full hearing. A tiny proportion of claims get to a full hearing. And inevitably I think some employees may be reticent about bringing claims because of the impact it may have on them in the market.
Today’s report comes at a time of intense debate about how to increase female representation at senior levels across the business world. Of the top one hundred companies just 17% of directors are women. Although that’s upped over the last year, there’s widespread recognition that more needs to be done to boost that number.
Just three of the top one hundred have female chief executives, and business organizations acknowledge that while progress is being made, there’s still a long way to go on boardroom diversity.
The honest truth is that we need to do a lot more and we need to do… we need to move faster, so we need to look at the pipeline, how can we stop women from leaving businesses, perhaps when they have children, and we also need to look at other schemes like mentoring schemes and networking schemes that encourage women to stay in the workplace and get women networking with other women in a similar position.
Ending the agenda pay gap and ensuring equality in the workplace remains a major challenge for employers and the government.
Hugh Pym, BBC News