Don't grin and bear it, girls!

After 44 years it's time for the 1970 Equal Pay Act to be enacted properly

Share

Sometimes, some people feel a bit like that little ant in the 1990s advert for the public services union Unison, who keeps scampering up to the ginormous bear and squeaking: "Excuse me!"

That's certainly how I feel when people ask me why feminists are still so cross, when all of our battles have been won. Look, they say: we can vote; we can have mortgages; we've had the right to be paid the same as men for doing the same work since before moaning minnies like me were even born... And that's when I try to stay reasonable and peep, "Excuuuuuse me…"

Now, Grazia magazine has launched a petition to ask, again, for the 1970 Equal Pay Act to be enacted properly, after only (excuse me) 44 bloody years. It points to evidence that the gender pay gap between men and women in their twenties has doubled in the past three years, going from 2.6 per cent to 5.3 per cent. It says that women in full time work are paid 16 per cent less than their male colleagues. It reminds us that, overall, "women are still earning just 80p to every pound that men earn". And it is asking, ever so nicely, for Section 78 of the 1970 Act finally to be enforced.

Section 78 is the bit that requires businesses with more than 250 employees to publish anonymised data about the pay of the men and women they employ. So, if a business claims that it pays men and women equally, we can see if it's telling the truth. And, if a business refuses to prove that it really is an equal-opportunities employer, we won't just have to reach our own conclusions and live with them – it will be breaking the law.

You'll have to forgive us, in the meantime, if women do get angry when it turns out that we effectively stop earning on 4 November for every full male pay year. And if you don't forgive us, well tough, we're angry anyway. For 44 years, women have been tiptoeing up to that bear and asking him politely to excuse us. So just watch out when we all get together and shout: "Get out the way!"

What a bunch of prawns

David Cameron left it to a No 10 spokesman to express the Government's stance on last week's news that prawns sold in some British supermarkets are fed with fishmeal from "ghost ships" manned by slaves. (Well, we all know he was busy last week, for instance on a date night with his wife at the swish, £110-a-head celebrity hangout, The Chiltern Firehouse. I assume the restaurant's "red prawns with almond milk and smoked grapes", at £14, are produced more ethically.)

The Prime Minister's spokesman said it is up to consumers to decide whether and how to avoid food produced using slave labour. That's slave labour, which was supposedly abolished two centuries ago. (You won't catch me out on my "British Values".)

At the same time, the Government tells us it's up to us whether to buy goods or take taxis from companies who undercut their rivals by not paying the same UK taxes.

So, if not prohibiting slavery or managing taxation, or enforcing the Equal Pay Act or cancelling date night when Iraq gets invaded by extremist rebels, what exactly is the Government for?

If you can't drink, then don't

"British society does not deal well with alcohol," said Dr Clifford Mann, the president of the College of Emergency Medicine and professor of the Embarrassingly Obvious last week, in a discussion about allowing pubs to open later so that more amateur drinkers can get even more paralytic while watching the World Cup. He's got a point. Many people in Britain do know how to have a quiet drink or several without making an exhibition of themselves, but sunny days, sporting events and stag dos all seem to bring out the worst in people who can't help but ruin it for the rest of us.

I propose that we issue drinking licences to all 18-year-olds who pass a simple test, and then revoke them for anyone caught urinating on Tube platforms at 8pm on weekday evenings, crashing into gay bars shouting abuse after day-long summer festivals, or shouting slurrily at airline staff after breakfast lagers in airport Wetherspoons. By all means, enjoy the summer – but if you can't drink properly, stay at home or don't drink at all.

'Ere I go, 'ere I go, 'ere I go...

Football fans reacted with surprise and horror at the first match of the World Cup, in which crucial points were apparently won and lost through cheating, diving and silly haircuts. I can't be the first to point this out to football fans, but isn't all football full of cheating, diving and silly haircuts? If they want to watch a real sport, they could always try rugby, or anything played by women. Meanwhile, I'm requesting a visa to go and live with the Yanomami people in Brazil, where David Beckham arrived on his televised Amazonian trek recently to find that they'd never even heard of football.

Who says Boris is wet?

So, Boris Johnson has offered to act as a test dummy for the three second-hand water cannon that he has just bought from the German police for £130,000. I think I spy a way to prove the cannon are safe, invent a new, wholly fair British sport, and raise money to build affordable housing, all in one go ….

twitter.com/@katyguest36912

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Dom Joly owns a pig. That thinks it's a dog.  

I'll bow out. Let Wilbur, the pig that thinks it's a dog, bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
 

Forget charging by the page - with books, heart matters more than heft

Katy Guest
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'