Society is having a little bit of a wail about the gender pay gap at present, as we've all noted. That it is, as we've been saying for years now, a result of the different decisions that people make when children arrive is being overlooked. That's not all that is being overlooked though. For there's a very strong argument that we already compensate for whatever gap in pay there may be. That compensating system being what we call the welfare state.
Take this from the Fawcett Society:
“These figures show us what we expected – we still see an underrepresentation of women at the top and and overrepresentation at the bottom,” said Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society. “The public sector matters for women because it is women who are overwhelmingly dependent on public services, so getting women into decision-making positions is key.”
Note what the statement is. Men earn more than women. This means, in a progressive tax system, that men pay more tax than women. We've also got that insistence there that the welfare state spends more of that tax money upon women and their interests.
We seem thus to already have a remediation system for that unfairness - perceived as such by some at least - of that lower pay. Sure, we don't know whether that balancing is exact, it might even be too much. That just means we should go and find out the extent once we've accepted the principle.
But this does then give us two options for action. The first is to insist that we're balancing and thus no more need be done. Or, if we regard equal earnings as being of paramount importance, we can strive toward that. And as we gain it we should therefore be reducing the welfare state, that thing which currently balances the unfairness we're abolishing.