Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

Equal Pay Day (It’s a hashtag)

One of those times my old foe, the hashtag, is useful is showing trending events. Thanks to the #EqualPayDay hashtag I now know this is the day of the year when women start working for free compared with men thanks to unequal pay. I’m not in possession of enough information to say whether this affects ELT directly or not. As far as I know teachers earn the same, pitifully low, pay regardless of gender but I could be wrong. I also don’t know the stats to show the gender make up of managerial, higher paid positions and the equality of those salaries.

I do know, though, how one pay inequality happens in ELT.



It struck me the other day that the continued inequality of plenary/keynote speakers at ELT conferences actually has a financial implication. That unfairness means men have more chance of receiving some kind of financial benefit from attending conferences.

Typically an invited speaker will get their registration, travel and accommodation paid and may also get a fee or honorarium for speaking. Other conference speakers probably, depending on the event itself, pay for everything themselves plus conference registration.  Women might also be more likely to incur childcare costs if they can’t rely on family to babysit while they’re at an event (though I am not suggesting men never have to take this into account).

Even the conferences which fail to represent the 60/40 female to male ratio of ELT as a whole in their plenary sessions, often come up more equally with the workshops/general sessions. So, if women don’t have the same likelihood of being invited to speak, they have the same chance of having their proposal accepted as the men do. Good. Except … that means women are more likely to have to pay for their own conference attendance than men and, conversely men are more likely to get to go for free or for profit.

People, some people anyway, keep telling me plenaries don’t matter that much. I completely disagreed before and now it’s even more obvious that they do. They infer status, confer status and lead to more plenaries and, therefore, more chances to earn money that way. It might not be the route to wealth and riches (what is in ELT?) but it’s still money that women have less access to until all events routinely equalise their invited speaking positions.

As a matter of routine just #becauseits2015.

I have just started keeping count of plenaries using the same ELT events calendar I used when doing it in retrospect for 2014. It’s just a tedious a task as last time except this time it’s more accurate as it’s easier to find the information on speakers when the event is current. The numbers speak for themselves. Check it out. I’ll keep it up to date. For now it covers this month only.



One comment on “Equal Pay Day (It’s a hashtag)

  1. bealer81
    November 11, 2015

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This entry was posted on November 10, 2015 by in ELT and tagged , , , , , .
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