Monday, 9 November 2015

Equal opportunities!

Apparently today is Equal Pay Day. Because of this the Guardian produced a sort of tongue in cheek guide to help women know how to get on professionally. The first piece of advice was to be a man. All well and good! It went on to advise not having children, indeed not even to show any interest in children whatsoever, even other people's. And then there's the weight question. Success, it seems, is in inverse proportion to what you weigh. Here's a link to the whole article.

What Equal Pay Day is really about is that today is the point at which women on average stop earning compared with their male counterparts. Campaigners claim that women working full time will effectively work for free for the rest of the year from today. But the good news is that this year that point has been reached five days later this year, indicating a narrowing of the divide. It would not seem to be much of a narrowing though. And last year was a bad year as the day came three days earlier than in 2013. 

The current hourly pay gap between men and women is 14.2%. it is estimated that at the current rate of change it will be another 50 years before equality finally takes place. And the higher up the pay scale you are, the worse it gets. The gap in pay between men and women in the top 5% of earners in 45.9%. And in the top 2% it is 54.9%. I doubt if that is much consolation for the women at the bottom of the pay scale. 

It all makes me feel glad to be out of the rat race and able to go off and have lunch with friends today in Manchester, instead of worrying about the pay gap. Mind you, I suspect that if I really investigated it, I would find similar statistics about pensions. This does not alter the fact that my friends and I were able to rub our hands with glee and to make jokes about having to get up early to watch people go to work. 

We met in Waterstones cafe. How civilised it is to have coffee shops inside bookshops! The fact that they still serve coffee in small buckets if you are foolish enough to order a large one is neither here nor there. 

Because the weather was so foul we did not want to walk far for lunch and so we went to La Viña, just a short distance down the road on Deansgate. There they have a menú del día of three tapas for just under a tenner. We were a group of four. The list of tapas consisted of twelve items. So I persuaded the waiter, a charming young man from Elche, near Alicante, that we could have one of everything between the four of us. 

This meant that instead of each of us being served a plate with three tapas on, we had a small plate each and the full range of tapas crowding out the table between us. A much better way of sharing. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture. We just sat and ate and swapped tall stories and old memories. A splendid way to spend a wet Monday lunchtime! 

I did take pictures of Christmas decorations in Manchester. 

It may only be not quite mid-November but Christmas is clearly coming fast. Time to start spending that unequal pay.

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