Free Essay. Gender Pay Gap As an Ethical Issue

Published: 2023-03-18
Free Essay. Gender Pay Gap As an Ethical Issue
Type of paper:  Report
Categories:  Gender Discrimination Social issue Employment law
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1875 words
16 min read

In the United Kingdom, a regulation for publishing information on the gender pay gap has come into force. In 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May called the gender pay gap a "burning justice." The gender pay gap communicates a lot about an organization. It measures the median wage, such as the differences between the middle-ranking men and women. The simplest explanation of these differences is that there are more men earning more and women earning less. The gender pay gap defines the average difference between hourly wages for women and men. Since the changes to the Equity Act in April 2017, organizations with over 250 workers have been required by law to report their gender pay gap figures at the end of every financial year (Hepple, 2010: 11). On the same note, companies must also show the proportion of women and men who receive financial bonuses. The gender pay gap is not the same as Equal pay. Unequal pay is when women receive payments that are less than men for doing the same tasks. Equal Pay has been enforced legally since the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970 (Graf, Brown, and Patten, 2018: 1). Regardless, discrimination in payments has remained large and mostly practices. The reporting about the gender pay gap does not provide women with the information they require to challenge unequal pay. Most employers claim they do not have any issues, but unless they carry out an audit and establish a transparent form of payment, they do not have accurate statistics. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is presently in the process of carrying out investigations into the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over suspected discrimination in payments against female workers.

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The organization hopes to publish the findings by 2020. The mean gender pay gap is the average that is calculated through the addition of the wages of all female and male employees and dividing it by the numbers of workers. The pay gap marks the differences between the mean figures for both men and women that are represented in the form of percentages. Gender inequality and the gender pay gap are social issues that regardless of decades of equality legislations have not been addressed (Wadham, 2010: 15). The present gender pay gap is around 20%, where women earn approximately 80 for every 1000 that men earn (Polachek, 2019: 5). There are also significant differences across the types of jobs and some geographical variations across and between countries in the Western World. The variations in pay gap are also increased when gender and race intersect, with the African American women the most affected group. Women are also penalized in their career due to being regarded as less ambitious, less risk-takers, and less dedicated to having a sustained career. While some believe that these are biological disparities, studies have demonstrated that women are influenced by the expectations of the society about what is relevant for women. At the same time, men are praised for behaving according to the gender norms, and when they do not, they are admonished. The biological difference that affects the women in the world of business is their ability to giving birth because it ties them to their houses and children. Ethics in business, especially related to the gaps in gender pay, has become a major concern for businesses.

Employers must understand the issue of the gender pay gap. Companies do not reap benefits from the gender pay gap, and it only hurts them. At the same time, the framing of the gender pay gap hurts the equal pay clause. The reason for this is that the debates about the gender pay gap run along with the wrong currency of emotions. Instead of paying workers fairly because it is the right thing to do, organizations should be paying workers fairly because they cannot afford not to. The gender pay gap is costly to organizations. The gender pay gap is hard to measure, and the gap is considered too big, like the attempts to address it. These include disingenuous reports about pay equity and flashy announcements about Equal Pay Day. The slogans used in companies do not capture the finer details about the issue of gender pay because they fail to compare equal work (Griffiths, 2016: 15). The numbers compare women and men of different pay-grades and jobs, and they do not also consider the segregation among gender occupations. The more female-dominated fields are the lower wages, and as they climb the ranks, so do the gaps grow. These gaps also represent old data, which is around 90% of the dollar made by every man (Bryson, 2017: 25). At the same time, the wage gap still exists even when making comparisons with both genders in the same professions. Workers suffer from the wage gap, and the costs accrued by individual organizations are clear. Companies end up with gaps in performance. Organizations closing the gender gap increase the diversity of their skills, bottom lines, and collective intelligence.

Organizations having women in top management positions have higher profitability. The same gaps are found in retention rates, where millennial women leave occupations for the same reasons that men do. These reasons include the advancement of payments, the lack of meaningful work, the lack of learning, and the development programs. Raises, bonuses, and fair pay tell that a company values all the workers equally (Cameron et al. 2019: 5). Workers feeling valued are highly likely to stay with their employers. The pay gaps are also present in the branding of a company, where the employer brand is regarded as the sharpest tool for recruitment. The unfair payment of people unfairly is a blunder. Gender inequality in the workplace environment has always been an issue of concern. Gender inequality in the workplace is often linked to the men in positions of power. Some people believe that men must earn more than women, while others suggested that it is crucial to promote gender equality in the workplace because the issue is also significant (Winchester and Browning, 2015: 269). What women and men are treated differently, it becomes unethical, especially when executing the same duties. Organizational culture is defined by the narrative structure of gender citizenship and the silences and voices confronting each other over the inequalities of gender.

Gender inequality in the organization is ethically important since it impacts the motivations of men towards executing their duties. The gender inequality is a vital ethical issue since it affects interpersonal relations. When women are treated unequally, they have poor interpersonal relations with other workers, both women and men. Most men would regard that women are not in positions of leadership - gender inequality issues in the workplace. Therefore, the main focus is on what needs to be done to ensure supportive environment equity in gender pay. Three factors are considered important in realizing such an environment. First, the measures for gender equity must not compensate for the widening of inequality of wages that slow progress and also increase the inequalities of wages (Butler, 2016: 18). The second aspect is that the supportive environment must also translate to the public support for gender equality. These are some of the ethical issues that must be considered towards developing frameworks of addressing the solutions to the gender pay gap.

Ethical Theories


In John Stuart Mill's utilitarianism, actions are only right in proportion as they tend to bring happiness, and wrong when they do not lead to happiness. Mills describes happiness as the lack of pain and mainly the presence of pleasures (Mill, 2016: 373). According to Mills, people's accomplishments of objectives and ends, including virtuous living, must be considered part of their happiness. The utilitarian perspective of John Stuart Mill provides support for the value of utilitarianism as a moral theory. Mill explains that utilitarianism theory is founded on the idea that actions are right in proportion as they bring happiness, and wrong when they produce the reverse of happiness. Mill argues that pleasure is different in quantity and quality and that these pleasures are the absence of pain. Mill also argues that the accomplishment of goals and ends, including virtuous living, must be counted as part of their happiness. Mill also argues that utilitarianism coincides with natural sentiments originating from the social nature of human beings (Piacquadio, 2017: 1261). Therefore, when society embraces utilitarianism as ethical principles, people would naturally internalize the standards as binding morally. Mill contends that happiness is the basis of morality and that people never desire anything other than happiness. When women are treated unequally, they have poor interpersonal relations with other workers, both women, and men. Most men would regard that women are not in positions of leadership.

The gender pay gap is then a moral issue because of the treatment that women receive. Mill backed up the claim by demonstrating that all the other objects of people's desires are either the means to happiness, or are included in the explanations of happiness. Mill also explains that sentiment of justice is founded on utility, and this right exists because they are vital for happiness. Utilitarianism focuses on wrong and right based on the results of selecting one action over the others (Piacquadio, 2017: 1261). In the case of the gender pay gap, the act-utilitarianism applies especially to the alternative acts in a situation of choice. The right act is one where there are the best results. Therefore, the best result would be ensuring women have the same pay as men do. Raises, bonuses, and fair pay tell that a company values all the workers equally. Workers feeling valued are highly likely to stay with their employers. The pay gaps are also present in the branding of a company, where the employer brand is regarded as the sharpest tool for recruitment. All these are moral actions that contribute to the wellbeing of employees and the organization. Without the presence of moral actions by company leaders, it becomes challenging to handle all the pressures associated with it. The gender pay gap is crucial because it highlights some of the pertinent issues that companies must grapple.

Immanuel Kant's Deontological Ethics

Immanuel Kant is responsible for the most acknowledged and prominent type of deontological ethics. The moral theory of Kant focuses on the idea that human beings have the unique ability for rationality. There is no animal with reasoned thought and action. According to Kant, human emotions, consequences, and inclinations must play roles in moral action. Thus, the motivations behind an action must depend on obligation. In theory, morality should offer a framework of rational rules, guiding and preventing specific actions. Goodwill is achieved by acting in line with moral duty or laws. The true moral proposition must not be linked to any specific conditions, such as the identity of the individual making the decisions (Mandal, Ponnambath, and Parija, 2016: 5). The moral maxim must be disconnected from the physical details that surround the proposition and must apply for the rational being. The main idea behind Kant's ethics is the categorical imperative. Kant made a differentiation between hypothetical and categorical imperatives. Whenever someone acts, it is according to a maxim or rule. For Kant, just like the organizations, an action is only permissible when one is willing for the maxim that allows the action to become universal law that guides the actions of everyone. Maxims do not pass these tests whenever they provide contradictions in conception or will whenever it is universalized.

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