The gender pay gap
SIXTY SEVEN DAYS
I am not free, while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own
- Audre Lorde
Although I have not had direct experience of the discrimination at the core of the gender pay gap, I chose to research this as, of course, I have a personal interest in fighting discriminatory practices that I will inevitable face, but also as the opening quote from Audre Lorde suggests, solidarity and empathy are very important to me, even if a problem is not my own - yet. My photography generally aims to work within a wider dialogue on a given topic, for example, the impact of Brexit to the place of photography in creating body image anxieties. That I am a women, possibly inevitably led me to feel a certain urgency about the gender pay gap. Equal pay for equal work is a human right, I believe, and I believe this right should be granted to all people who can fairly expect equal treatment.
I feel a responsibility to speak out through my work, using my photography. In fact it is a subject or topic I have looked at before. It has been interesting to revisit my research and earlier perspectives and to take a long view of such an extraordinary gender based injustice.
Clearly an international issue, regardless of progress elsewhere it is my firm opinion that this issue does not receive enough recognition in Ireland. So I continue to feel driven through this body of work to create better awareness and a bigger and bette public dialogue. Throughout the research in the context of my recent project many statistics were read and discussed with classmates and people I know. The gender pay gap differs with education level, years of experience and location. For this reason it was difficult to choose one statistic to make the point as the pay gap can differ so highly.
So I decided to focus, from early point in the research stage, on the professions. It was difficult to decide then where to go next. I had to make a decision on whether I would represent this in the images. The two professions I ultimately decided to represent in terms of the gender pay gap were healthcare workers. This was a challenging process. In each profession, there are signifiers in the dress code as to status and how hierarchies are expressed in the culture of the organisations in which these workers work. At its most basic, even what items women and men may or may not wear to work that are highly gendered. However, healthcare workers' uniforms don't necessarily declare loudly one or other gender, while office workers' dress codes can be greatly dictated by their gender. This was an interesting contrast and not one which I had considered in the outset.
These hurdles continued to arise throughout the project in terms of how to visually represent the issue. I learned quickly that there are many levels and that it is intrinsically complex. That has only driven me to continue working on this issue. Ultimately I chose to represent healthcare workers with this project as it was interesting that the uniform is generally identical and the pay gap is 12% in Ireland. The statistic which is most important to this project is in 2016 women would have had to work sixty-seven extra days in order to earn the same amount of money as men.
I would like to thank Claire Behan and Brian Malone for being my subjects for this project. I am very grateful for their support and encouragement in making these images.
Havlin, G. (2017) Sixty seven days, Available at: (Accessed:___).
I live in County Donegal, while travelling to Dublin for my studies in photography. Since beginning the programme my work is grown immensely, with the aim of my work to create interest in certain issues and to therefore begin a discussion. My aim is to continue to curious and questioning throughout my career.