Look at the structural inequality!

In the UK, what the TUC called the “massive pay gap” for black people widens even as we achieve more qualifications. According to the Fawcett Society, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women see the biggest overall gender pay gap, at 26%, to white British men, while black African women experience the largest full-time gender pay gap, at 19.6%. But while black African women have seen virtually no progress since the 1990s, black Caribbean and Indian women experience a smaller pay gap than white British women, despite higher unemployment rates.

Our situation is very different from that in the US, but the root causes are still the same: deep inequalities, embedded by our historical colonisation, and everyday racism combine to create a toxic environment for many black women to progress economically.

So, black women have a smaller gender pay gap than white women. This is the result of our structural inequalities and racism.


The why is actually quite simple, the black African (including Caribbean) population is concentrated in London, where wages are generally higher, more than the other varied ethnicities.

The other why is equally simple. We have here the triumph of theory over reality. We know that there are inequalities, racism, colonialist hangovers. Thus the fact that the black women don’t have a larger pay gap can simply be ignored. Sure, mention it, but then ignore all of the implications. Because theory trumps reality.

43 thoughts on “Look at the structural inequality!”

  1. This is a cover for something else. As she concludes “we need to be looking for a more equal type of equality” or in other words we need socialism rather than any adjustment to the underlying free market system as some classes don’t do as well. The fact they don’t do as well due to capabilities or location or willingness to move to work is irrelevant.

    All must win prizes.

  2. “: little attention was paid to the fact that there were just 11 black or minority ethnic people on the list of 96 stars earning more than £150,000”
    Well, there should have been. Such a disproportionately large number of black & ethnic stars earning more than £150,000 compared with the proportion of whites in the population is obvious…wait for it… WACISM!!!

  3. By their own logic, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are more discriminated against than black African women. Let’s see which theory they can contort to fit that fact.

  4. Does the study compare black women with black men. Is there a gender pay gap? Could black women be earning more than black men?

  5. Ironman

    ” Could black women be earning more than black men?”

    Almost certain, but I can’t see them being very keen to slice the victimhood prize cake in that way.

  6. Racism and history is a factor but it isn’t sufficient nor necessarily important to explain ‘pay gaps’.

    The reasons for the variation of group (whatever one uses to define group) economic performance are legion and are due to more mundane and uncomfortable factors that weigh more heavily than racism.

    I suspect Pakistani and Bangladeshi women earn less as a group due to group expectations and life shepherding to certain choices rather than racism. I mean if Indian women die better then racism is not that important as to a racist they wouldn’t prefer one women over another if they hated people with brown skin.

    For the group of course. Individuals might have it as a primary factor but we are talking groups here.

    This topic is one of the best illustrations to show many on politocs or political advocacy aren’t interested in actually improving the lot of people but to virtue signal and maintain clients they can wheel out to keep the grants and columns flowing in.

  7. In another place I was shot down when I stated that they pay gap was due to an earnings gap, and the earnings gap is due to a work gap. If you want to be paid more, you have to earn more, if you want to earn more you have to do more/do more value. Install three cookers instead of two cookers, do brain surgery instead of installing cookers. The reply was “that’s just shows the market not working”.

  8. Well, if they let Pakistani and Bangladeshi women serve in Indian restaurants that we would be a start wouldn’t it? Or even white women or – for God’s sake – white men!

    As for the TUC and Labour generally, well we’re still waiting for a woman chief.

    Anyway, there are lots of reasons for inequality. Look at Glenys Kinnock. Became an MEP because she could speak Welsh and was married to a cretin, then went on to become a millionaire. Pretty thin reasons for earning that much money.

  9. It would be interesting to know the proportion who don’t declare an ethnicity in surveys, and if they are likely to earn more or less than those who declare.
    We’ll never know because that is the point of it not being compulsory. I’d take a punt though that the more educated and libertarian people don’t declare.
    So it’s all rubbish anyway.

  10. There used to be a posh Bangladeshi restaurant (name dimmed in poor memory) at the bottom of Marketgait in Dundee used to have a very smart elderly white gent as door porter, fully dressed up in turban et al.

    Good restaurant too.

  11. The Inimitable Steve

    Our situation is very different from that in the US, but the root causes are still the same: deep inequalities, embedded by our historical colonisation, and everyday racism combine to create a toxic environment for many black women to progress economically.

    Counterpoint: we don’t care.

  12. “: little attention was paid to the fact that there were just 11 black or minority ethnic people on the list of 96 stars earning more than £150,000”

    I wonder what the officially acceptable proportion would be, and based on what data? How does it compare to the percentage of the UK population who are BME and why? I’m always curious where these targets come from.

    Lenny Henry argued that the % of BME faces on TV should be rather higher than the % in the country overall (can’t remember the exact figure, I have a feeling he suggested something like 1 in 3 as a target), because the media industry is based in the cities, which are more diverse, and so media employment should reflect this. That’s at least a reasoned argument even if you disagree with it. An alternative argument he could have made but didn’t is that the media, for obvious reasons, is dominated by young faces, and in younger cohorts the BME% is higher – if you think age bias in the media is natural, even desirable, then that seems to have consequences for diversity. But of course setting a target on age basis is inherently discriminatory in another way.

  13. Does ethnicity really matter?
    You live in Britain by birth or by choice, you can be seen as british.
    If skin colour should not matter then neither should ethnicity.

    Wife was working for a temp agency, lots of people who had been out of the job market for years doing the work, heavy night work at that. Paid the same no matter the colour of skin, only age making a difference (our barbaric minimum wage laws).

  14. The Inimitable Steve

    MBE – I sort of like Lenny Henry, even though he’s not really funny. Which is fine. Being funny isn’t a prerequisite for BBC comedy. If it were, we’d have to humanely put down 40 year old boy Russell Howard.

    And despite waking up next to Dawn French’s enclosure every morning, he always has a cheeky smile.

    I sympathise with his plan to ensure more telly programmes feature Lenny Henry. Crimewatch is pretty diverse to be fair.

  15. Yeah, find reasons to take money from productive white guys, tilt the playing field against them, encourage even more of them to drop out.
    What could go wrong?
    Seems like trying out which parts of the airplane I can dismantle in flight without them being missed, try putting it back together after you break it.

  16. This is drivel, not the actual issue, the piece. The stats exist, and people have a certain curiosity not to say sensitivity to whether they’re being screwed over or not. But get Tim Harford to write about pay gaps and your readership will be informed, their curiosity will be fed and their sense of being screwed over or not will be better informed. Get someone who wants to perch on those stats to shout how we need to fight capitalism with socialism is the opposite of good journalism.

  17. Pakistani women make 26% less than white British men because they will work for 26% less. Duh.

    The Left uses “equality” because you care, not because they care. As Andrew again says, the free market is about opportunity, not results. The Left meme is that if results aren’t identical, then there is no equality, as if they care about equality.

    “Pay gap” is a purely fictitious cause.

  18. Lenny Henry is brilliant.

    I loved him in Luther.

    And when he played ‘Red’ in The Shawshank Redemption

  19. The only black woman of Caribbean origin I know has a PhD as well as a masters and bachelors in Engineering, and currently lives in Aberdeen. She appears to be doing quite well, but them she grew up in a Jamaican village to a mother who pushed her to take education seriously and to be incredibly well-mannered and a regular church-goer. Alas, I never asked if her ma encouraged her to engage in grievance-mongering as well, but I suspect not.

  20. “Tim Newman

    The only black woman of Caribbean origin I know…currently lives in Aberdeen”

    So her life has turned out disastrously, then?

  21. ” if they let Pakistani and Bangladeshi women serve in Indian restaurants that we would be a start wouldn’t it? Or even white women or – for God’s sake – white men!”

    It is happening. My local curry house has a white girl working front of house, very cheery she is too. A curry house I went to in Haverfordwest also had a white woman working behind the bar.

  22. Jim

    Ditto – front of house a white girl – and she was very good! Owner said that a lot of British born Asian blokes are simply not up to the job (lazy and surly – they get often the same Ultra Hard Left education that the Whites get don’t forget)) – and they can no longer easily recruit from back in the subcontinent, so needs must…..

  23. So…for any given inequality of pay or representation, the explanation is always ‘structural inequality’ — ie capitalism, which is evil ‘cos it’s racist, colonialist, imperialist, sexist, exploitative, environmentally damaging, patriarchal, white…and not approved of by The Guardian.

    Other explanations for any given inequality of pay or representation – eg biology or culture or crap statistics – are by definition racist, colonialist, imperialist…etc.

  24. From a comment on a Guardian article. This shows emoting and paranoia over actual market reasons. Wages decrease when more people start to be available to do a particular role because supply and demand…. I do wonder why this is a known reason why efforts to get men into roles more commonly held by women are not pushed that much by women.

    Quote – “What will happen is that previously highly-paid roles will see their pay trend downwards. This is historically what happens whenever women enter a profession – once something becomes perceived to be ‘women’s work’ its perceived value also decreases.”

  25. Rob:
    I seem to remember a thoroughly dishonest Fawcett Society survey being plugged in The Guardian where a number of boys had answered that they could in certain circumstances “rape or hit” a girl.

    What the survey had, of course, done was conflate very different questions.

    Would I ever rape a woman? No.

    Would I normally ever dream of hitting a woman? No.

    If a crazed harpy was rushing at me with a knife intent on killing me would I defend myself by hitting her? Yes.

    Therefore, according to the Fawcett Society I am one of those people who would “rape or hit” a woman!

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