Women constitute a significant part of the global workforce, delivering the same value as their male counterparts, especially in tasks requiring less physical activity. And by default, the reward of every work is a substantial wage on payday.
Sadly, occupational discrimination, gender bias, among other factors, have denied the female gender the financial gratification that compliments the value they deliver at work. When it comes to receiving payment for the same value delivered, men are more favoured than women.
As the world evolves, this anomaly has been identified as a gender pay gap, the relative differences in the average female and male earnings within an economy. To contextualize this, the gender pay gap is an offshoot of women’s inequalities across the globe.
In 2018, the world’s attention drifted towards the effect of the gender pay gap against women when Carrie Gracie, a veteran journalist, resigned her position as the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) China editor to protest over gender pay gap. After thirty years with the BBC, Gracie left her job, citing the BBC’s “secretive and illegal” pay culture and inciting a conversation about pay inequality between men and women.
While the conversation on the gender pay gap is non-existent, or better still at the infancy stage in Nigeria, the British Council found that men with a less educational qualification earn more than women with more educational qualification.
“For example, women with tertiary education earn the same as men having secondary education qualifications,” the report adds. “While women with secondary education have similar incomes to men with no education at all.”
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Furthermore, women are viewed as the weaker gender. It affects every area of their lives, including a payment structure fueled by weak labour law and limited leadership opportunity influenced by pre-existing bias.
Several studies have shown the reason for the male-female income difference in Nigeria. Fapohunda (2013) study earmarked discrimination by employers who steer women into lower-paying occupations and men into higher-paying position as a factor for the gender gap in earnings. The study also identified gender stereotypes that perpetuate men’s cultural beliefs being more socially valued and competent than women, especially at career-relevant tasks.
The global gender pay gap stands globally at 16 per cent, United Nations noted in a report, citing greater differences for women of colour and women with children. Discussion on gender pay is still at its latent stage or non-existent in Nigeria. Still, the UNDP observes a deeper level of inequality in its 2009 data which showed that between 1985 and 2008, inequality worsened from 0.45 to 0.49, how women inequality is affecting the gender pay gap in Nigeria. Its data between 1985 and 2008 show that inequality worsened from 0.43 to 0.49 per cent.
A case study analyzing the gender pay gap in Nigeria’s public and private sector showed that disparity in income between men and women is more prevalent in the private sector than in public due to better education and higher income streams caused by a longer stay workforce.
Moreover, the case study noted other factors that limit women opportunities from receiving equal pay — such as the prominence of selection bias, gender discrimination, a sticky floor that keeps women at the bottom of a job scale are prominent in the private sector.
On the other hand, the public sector has an open book policy that displays remuneration compensation, career advancement opportunities, and leadership position for every role, making it difficult to favour men over women for the same job qualification. However, the existence of a glass ceiling — that prevents women from accessing certain hierarchy or position — in the public sector exists and limits qualified women from accessing specific leadership positions.
A new conversation
Ask anyone if income differences between men and women exist in Nigeria, and you would receive blank stares or, worse still, a brick wall of indifference dismissing it as an issue.
As a way of celebrating international women’s day, and to drive conversation around the gender pay gap, Pitstop Lagos is making women pay less for their meals and drinks at its restaurant.
Founded by a woman, Pitstop Lagos, Nigeria’s first wellness-inspired restaurant at the heart of Lagos commercial district, Victoria Island is starting a conversation with a campaign named #EqualizePay. The campaign addresses the male-female pay disparity affecting women income in Nigeria, and challenges the status quo by igniting conversations that would inspire the necessary policy change, paradigm shift, educating the general public on the gender wage gap in Nigeria.
Conversations around gender violence, feminism, girl-child education are likely to gather more momentum than the gender pay gap in Nigeria. While modern-day feminism demands the equality and representation of women in society, conversations about the gender pay gap — given the findings and results of multiple studies and research — is hushed and at the backburner.
But Pitstop Lagos intends to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, discussing and addressing how pay disparity exists and affects women in Nigeria.
“As a brand, we intend to build a functional society where women are given equal access to payment and opportunities as their male counterparts,” says Aminadab Adegoro, the Pitstop Lagos CEO. “We’re leveraging our brand identity and the #EqualizePay campaign starts conversations around the gender pay gap in Nigeria by asking women to pay less for their meals to get the attention of policymakers.”
Nigeria has weak labour laws that encourage secretive pay culture, especially in the private sector, where job entitlements are not transparent. Besides, most women are not enlightened about the gender pay gap or are unaware it exists in the first place.
Regardless of its existence in Nigeria workplace, the gender pay gap deserves everyone’s attention, and the #EqualizePay campaign intends to achieve just that.
Imagine women paying 20 per cent less for your favorite drink and meal at a pub or restaurant? How would you feel if women pay half the cost of your monthly budget on food and drinks?
Turn the tables around, and this is how some women feel every payday; earning less than they deserve, and this is how Pitstop wants to influence the necessary change that would give women the same pay equity as men.