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Why the discriminative cost of being a woman goes so much further than the gender pay gap

Why the discriminative cost of being a woman goes so much further than the gender pay gap

We got the lowdown on all things money from two female finance experts...

Whether you support a female-owned business, take it upon yourself to uplift the gals in your life or campaign for legislation change - women all across the globe are celebrating International Women's Day in their own ways.

The day itself, which is celebrated annually on the 8th March, started way back when in 1908 when women workers in the needle trades marched through New York City's Lower East Side protesting child labour and sweatshop working conditions - demanding women's suffrage.

Just two years later, in 1910, the date became annually observed as International Women's Day and we've been celebrating it ever since.

Women all over the world are celebrating International Women's Day today (7 March).
Alberto Case / Getty Images

World-renowned feminist, journalist and activist, Gloria Steinem, once explained: "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."

So, without further ado, let's get into it.

Now, while there's a whole lot of stuff we all - myself very much so included - love about being women, I'm sure we can all agree it comes with its difficulties; whether that's the relentless battling against ever-changing beauty standards, contending with street harassment and violence on a daily basis or fighting against the gender pay gap.

And, unfortunately, the discriminative cost of being a woman goes so much further than just the gender pay gap which is a major issue alone in and of itself.

Millennial money expert, Laura Turner, told us all about the gender pay gap.
Laura Turner

So, to find out some more about the ins and outs of the issue, Tyla sat down with millennial money expert, Laura Turner who goes by the handle @thriftylondoner online, to get the lowdown on all things cashola.

Laura explained the gender pay gap, which is the average difference in pay between working men and women, currently stands at 14.3%.

This means that for every £1 a man earns in the UK, a woman earns just 86p.

What's even worse is that the gap compounds meaning that, throughout a woman’s working life, she will also be met with a pension gap of a shocking 40.5%.

"Unless progress quickens, this gap is likely to take 20 years to close," Laura adds.

For every £1 a man earns in the UK, a woman earns just 86p.
SEAN GLADWELL / Getty Images

Michelle Pearce-Burke, co-founder, and Chief Strategy Officer at Wealthify, added that women statistically fill more part-time roles than men do, with 58% of female employees in the UK working full time versus 85% of male employees.

"Some people often mistake the gender pay gap for equal pay, but it’s much more than that," she explains.

"In fact, UK law actually requires men and women to have equal pay for doing ‘equal work’, although it’s not necessarily black and white."

Michelle says that the gender pay gap still exists for many reasons with 'more men than women in senior roles and women still taking on more caring responsibilities or time out of work, often unpaid, to care for children and relatives'.

The experts opened up about the 'discriminative cost of being a woman'.
Image Source / Getty Images

Now, it's important to note that this exact 'discriminative cost of being a woman' extends beyond just the gender pay gap as women are expected to fork out fortunes on beauty maintenance costs like nail and hair appointments as, sadly, a woman's appearance is often viewed as some sort of social currency.

The revenue in the Beauty & Personal Care market, a market which primarily targets women, is projected to reach a staggering $16.85 billion in this year in the UK alone and is expected to keep on growing.

Women also have to factor in childcare fees and paying extra for safety measures like Ubers when their male counterparts may not feel the same pressure to do so.

Oh yeah, and we have the 'pink tax' to deal with.

The Beauty & Personal Care market is projected to reach a staggering $16.85 billion in this year in the UK alone.
Carol Yepes / Getty Images

Laura explains: "The 'pink tax' refers to the tendency for products that are marketed towards women, to be priced at a higher rate. For example, razors, deodorant, and skincare.

"It was only in 2021 that the 5% VAT was finally removed from female hygiene products. However, in a report published in 2022, the prices of tampons actually only reduced by 1%. It was up to the retailers to cut the price, meaning that they unfortunately did not pass that saving onto the general population."

On top of all of that, time and time again, we're seeing women being priced out of the job market and being held back in higher-paid roles in the UK.

Women also have to contend with the 'pink tax'.
Isabel Pavia / Getty Images

Explaining why that may be, Laura tells us that a 'huge reason' for this is down to a 'lack of affordable childcare'.

"It’s a vicious circle," she adds.

"In heterosexual couples when men are, on average, the higher earners due to the existing gender pay gap, it’s usually the woman that gives up work - or reduces their working hours, when the cost of childcare is too high."

Michelle adds: "It’s no secret that many women feel as though they have to sacrifice their career and potential income to take care of their family, making their financial independence more fragile.

"The gender pay gap and the 'maternity penalty' can have some serious repercussions on women’s finances later in life."

There is a major 'lack of affordable childcare' in the UK.
Lourdes Balduque / Getty Images

According to the expert, the gender pension gap begins to 'widen significantly 'from the age of 35', and women aged between 60-65 have pension pots which are on average 'just over half (57%) the size of men’s'.

To put things into perspective, that means that by the time women hit retirement, they've got an average of £136,800 LESS than men.

"If women in the UK think they’re being paid less than a man in an equal role to them, then I’d encourage them to raise this with their employer - or look at salary benchmarks in their field and area to see how much is being offered for similar roles," Michelle advises.

"However, many women also struggle with feeling bouts of imposter syndrome which can often lead to them holding back from applying for higher-paid roles."

Imposter syndrome can often hold women back from applying for higher-paid roles.
miniseries / Getty Images

So, to help remedy part of this issue, the government has announced that new childcare vouchers will be coming in September with the idea of alleviating some of this burden. explains that, from September, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents of children from the age of nine months to three-year-olds.

From September 2025, eligible working parents with a child from nine months old up to school age will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.

But how will these new childcare vouchers actually impact women in the UK?

Well, Laura says that while they are a 'much-needed step in the right direction' she adds: "But that said, 15 hours is still not full time working hours.

"When the 30 hours come in from September 2025, I think this will start to have a more positive impact."

It's absolutely crucial to talk about women and money on International Women's Day.
Lucy Lambriex / Getty Images

Talking about the vouchers, Michelle tells Tyla: "I hope this helps mums return to work without having to weigh up whether they’re better off to remain home and save on childcare costs or returning and progressing in their careers.

"This is a choice that’s predominantly faced by women, and helping women stop having to make this decision is crucial in closing both the pension and gender pay gaps."

So, with all that in mind, it's beyond crucial to talk about women and money on International Women's Day as there is still so much inequality between the sexes in this area.

Whether that’s archaic stereotypes, the gender pay gap, the gender pension gap or just plain sexism, all this issues need to be highlighted so that awareness is raised and changes are made.

Can I get an 'Amen'?

Featured Image Credit: Wirestock/ Getty Images/FG Trade/Getty Images

Topics: Life, Money, News, Real Life, International Women's Day, Sex and Relationships