Not if you’re a woman!
It’s fair to say they are both important, but slightly separate questions. And there’s a link between them because one of the things that affects the mean level of pay received by women is the fact that there’s still a glass ceiling. So the massive inequality between high earners and everyone else is actually a gender issue in itself, because the high earners tend to be men. We know that over 90% of executive roles go to men.
"People have to feel the system is inclusive and working for them, or you’re looking at a non-sustainable economic system."
The Lord Davies Report explored the approaches to increasing representation of women on FTSE100 boards to at least 25% by 2015. And companies have met that target, but when you look at the figures, most of the women who’ve gone into the boardroom are in non-executive roles – those in executive roles are still at around 10%, So while women get into management roles they don’t get to the top. Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney gave a speech about the damaging effect of pay inequalities at Liverpool John Moores University this week, and made it clear that it’s of crucial importance to address this right now.
People have to feel the system is inclusive and working for them, or you’re looking at a non-sustainable economic system. And this is exactly what’s in large part driving the rise of populist right wing politics, like Donald Trump winning the US election, a far right candidate almost winning the vote in Austria and the backlash against the mainstream political agenda in Italy. And these issues relating to wealth inequalities are wrapped up in gender, so it’s all important.