Campaigning takes conviction, determination and endurance

PUBLISHED: 16:14 29 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:14 29 January 2020

Eileen Wragg, Liberal Democrat candidate for Exmouth Town. Picture: Eileen Wragg

Eileen Wragg, Liberal Democrat candidate for Exmouth Town. Picture: Eileen Wragg

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Guest columnist Eileen Wragg reflects on pay inequality and the current campaign being waged by WASPI.

Eileen Wragg, Liberal Democrat candidate for Exmouth Town. Picture: Eileen WraggEileen Wragg, Liberal Democrat candidate for Exmouth Town. Picture: Eileen Wragg

Yet again the inequalities gender gap has been exposed with the recent court action taken by Samira Ahmed, news presenter at the BBC.

She successfully brought her case against the Corporation, citing the disparity in the £440 per episode of Newswatch compared to the £3,000 for Points of View, a very similar programme presented by Jeremy Vine.

This reminded me of a job I did more than 50 years ago, when the male operative working alongside me, doing identical work, was paid more, although I was producing higher numbers of the product than he was.

When I challenged the unfairness with my boss, I was told that I was a 'militant'! I persevered, as the hourly rate for men was higher than that for women, and the grading for the job was changed to make it fairer, although men were still paid a higher hourly rate.

Fast forward almost fifty years, and the scandalous increase in the pensionable age for women crept up taking them by ruthless surprise.

These are women who forfeited their careers to become stay-at-home mothers or there was an expectation that they would be main carers for sick or elderly relatives.

I have heard comments that men's retirement age was 65, while women could retire at 60, but those commentators seem blissfully unaware that many women were paid far less, and had shorter working lives.

Now the campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has been granted permission to appeal against a Judicial Review decision.

The Appeal must be heard before February 25, and it will be interesting to learn whether or not progress is being made in the battle against inequality.

Campaigning is demanding and can be exhausting, with most people not wanting to embark on a campaign, but where there is belief and conviction, there is also determination and endurance.


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