English Oxford Living Dictionary Definition:

Gap: A difference, especially an undesirable one, between two views or situations

I hope that I’m a reasonable, fair-minded sort of man – I try to be. I think that it is quite outrageous that people undertaking the same job of work are not paid equally – regardless of their gender. I’m no legal expert, but I believe that I am correct in stating that such practice is illegal, i.e. breaking the law of the land. Ford I Dagenham comes to mind (see the film ‘Made in Dagenham’), as does Birmingham City Council, not forgetting, more recently the very politically correct BBC – and my daughter who won her case against her employer.

I also find myself pondering the question that if someone works for a longer period than someone else (in identical roles), due to one taking a career break or whatever – regardless of gender, their pay will inevitably be different, leading to some form of a ‘gap’.

Then if you factor in other differences, an employee demonstrating high levels of capability, reliability, engagement and /or motivation might invite the question that they should receive greater pay than someone lacking these characteristics.  In such circumstances there will be what might be referred to as a difference,  as a ‘gap’ between their respective pay.

It strikes me that the type of scenarios outlined above are likely to have come about by a combination of personal circumstances, (some if not many being beyond a person’s control), and personal choices (to some extent being within a person’s control), all both combined with a dash of the social norms, pressures and expectations of the day.

But there are so many gaps in life when using the definition offered above.

For example, Scottish students get free university education but students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland have to pay to study north of the border – thus there is a ‘gap’ between their financial situations, with a potential impact on their prospects in life – not based upon anything other than place of birth or residence.

There has been a great deal written over many years about the lack of male role models in the lives of boys in their formative years, for teenage boys and for young men through absent fathers, possibly leading to absent uncles and grandfathers, arguably compounded by a lack of ‘traditional’ older male mentors in the work place  – a gap, an undesirable situation.  Surely contributing to this, for whatever reason (pay, image, perceived value, stigma) is the low numbers of male teachers and assistants in early years education? (We probably know why this is the case – but really, why is this the case?).

Interestingly, there has been far less written about the lack of male role models in the lives of girls in their formative and later years.

Do we also have gaps in our memory? I have a degree of understanding about the range of reactions from disquiet to sheer outrage relating to ‘sexist’ advertising, the objectification of people, (mainly women). To sell a car, or a pack of peanuts, or shoes, or men’s suits, or antiperspirant is it really necessary to have images of scantily clad women?  But lets not forget the so called ‘hunkvertising’, often ‘scantily’ clad men advertising items from cologne, salad dressing to juice drinks to David Beckham men’s underwear advertisement – (and for those of a certain age, the Nick Karmen Levi 501 jeans laundrette advert, and the Lee Garfinkel coca cola adverts, oh, and the Marky Mark Kalvin Klein adverts of yesteryear!).

Others gaps? How about expenditure on healthcare for men and women, further complicated and ‘random’ by where people live?

How about the gaps in the quality of social care,  educational achievement, housing provision, refuges…………………..?

There are some appalling gaps, i.e. “A difference, especially an undesirable one, between two views or situations”

The is not about 100% and 0%, or much worse, 100% versus 0%.

As the wonderful (now retired) Navigator trainer Chris Sharpe has said, “it’s not either/or, it’s and/and”!

“……….just sayin’……….”

Chris Gunning

Navigator Trainer

The views expressed by the writer are not necessarily the views of the Springboard Consultancy Ltd.

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