By curator, Lindsey Kukunda
Few of us pay attention to statistics until they come knocking on our front door and tell us we’re on the list.
Data in Uganda says that the average woman is paid 40% less than the average man. Information like this is not important to the average woman until she and a male colleague compare their pay cheques.
I was having a conversation with a former colleague and as we casually complained about how little we were paid in our line of work, he dropped his salary: almost double that of mine.
Mama nyabo. I did not know what the phrase ‘to be stunned’ meant until that moment. To this day, weeks after that conversation, it stuns me still to think of it. I had worked for an organisation for half the price they offered my fellow brother!
It’s not like this was even a desk job where one could claim the old ‘Well, his CV has more lines etc’. Nedda. This was work as freelancers. And no, we did not sit down with the employer to discuss the figure they would offer us upfront so that one can claim the woman had poor negotiation skills. We were both told upfront what they could pay us. And my offer was slashed considerably.
Forlorn, I put my hand on my cheek and mourned my years of blissful ignorance.
“How many times, universe?”, I wondered. “Was I the victim of a one time occurrence of statistics? Or had this been happening multiple times over the years? What of single mothers? How many companies are paying them half what they’re worth? But why am I comparing myself to single mothers? Should I now get pregnant to get a raise? Is that how this works? But I don’t wanna get pregnant. No, this is too much to deal with right now. Alcohol!”
It is usually argued that a man has more financial responsibility so he has to be paid more. No bloody wonder. If women are walking around being paid half as much as them, it’s no surprise they still turn to men to help them eat!
Not all men appreciate the stress of being a main provider for a home. Not all men are educating their daughters with the expectation that they shall marry a man to make ends meet. Not all men who have been produced and raised by a woman want to turn around and tell that women she’s not worth the same as him in financial terms.
How do we reduce this gender pay gap?