Sonya Lennon: Gender pay gap ‘deniers’ doing a disservice to us all

Sonya Lennon, founder of Dress for Success Dublin and figurehead of the Work Equal campaign
Sonya Lennon, founder of Dress for Success Dublin and figurehead of the Work Equal campaign

According to broadcaster Sonya Lennon, the #WorkEqual campaign "aims to highlight the gender pay gap, the issues that feed into it, and the measures that can be taken to achieve true workplace equality."

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13 November 2018 | 0

To deny that a gender pay gap exists is to do a disservice to both women and men. That’s the message being promoted by stylist,  broadcaster and entrepreneur Sonya Lennon, founder of the charity Dress for Success Dublin.

As part of its annual #WorkEqual campaign, Dress for Success designated today, Tuesday 13 November, as a ‘day of action’ to highlight the gender pay gap.  According to the charity, this is the day on which – symbolically – women in Ireland stop earning, relative to men, because of Ireland’s pay gap of 14%.

“This is the third year we’ve run our #WorkEqual campaign,” Lennon said,  “which aims to highlight the gender pay gap, the issues that feed into it, and the measures that can be taken to achieve true workplace equality.

“As the campaign has grown in impact, we’ve noticed more high-profile gender pay gap ‘deniers’ airing their views,” Lennon continued. “In recent weeks alone, national media outlets have given air time and column inches to people who refuse to accept the pay gap exists or who want to paint it as some sort of ‘motherhood penalty’.”

According to various research sources, including the CSO and Eurostat,  Ireland’s pay gap of 14% is due in part to poor childcare facilities and lack of shared parental leave.  However, Sonya Lennon says that it’s a complex issue that affects everyone, not just women and mothers.

As part of the ‘day of action’, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee will host Dress for Success Dublin in Leinster House to deliver briefings to members of the Oireachtas.  Senator Clifford-Lee chairs the cross-party parliamentary group on workplace equality, which was established in partnership with Dress for Success earlier this year.

“Those who deny the gender pay gap are doing a huge disservice to both women and men,” she said. “This is not just about the indisputable numbers; it’s about how we can build workplaces that allow everyone to achieve their full potential – and societies that ensure people have the choices and supports they need in their personal and professional lives.”

In addition to the briefings at Leinster House, Dress for Success Dublin has a range of activities planned as part of the #WorkEqual campaign, including:

  • A ‘Banter’ event at the Liquor Rooms in Dublin city centre which will see Jim Carroll, Sonya Lennon, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee, journalist Mark Paul and activist Deborah Somorin discussing solutions to the gender pay gap
  • Awareness-raising activities with members of Dublin City Council on Monday, 19 November
  • Briefings at the European Parliament on Tuesday, 27 November
  • An online awareness campaign, encouraging members of the public to show their support for ending the gender pay gap.

Further information about the #WorkEqual campaign and how to get involved is available at www.dressforsuccessdublin.org.

 

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