One in five lesbians live paycheck to paycheck | UK News
One in five queer women in the UK is living paycheck to paycheck amid the cost of living crisis, frightening new data shows.
As a reminder of how the gender and LGBTQ+ pay gap can double the wages of lesbian, bisexual and pansexual women, more than half feel underpaid.
While more than twice as many gay and straight men earn over £55,000 compared to just 11% of queer women.
For Lesbian Visibility Week, executive search firm Robert Walters surveyed 6,000 professionals about their monthly payslips, work history and more.
In its report, made available exclusively to Metro.co.uk, the company found that 55% of LGBTQ+ women feel their pay is not “fair for the work they do”.
This feeling is shared by 43% of queer men and 42% of straight cis men.
When it comes to the higher end of the pay bracket, 30% of straight and 26% of GBTQ+ males make more than £55,000 a year.
For queer women, only 11% of respondents could say the same.
The fear of not having enough money to put food on the table is particularly felt by lower-income queer women, with 18% saying they live paycheck to paycheck.
With months of stubbornly high inflation driving up the cost of food, fuel and more, 16% of straight women and 12% of straight men said the same.
Just a third of queer women said they have “some” disposable income, but are reluctant to spend as the cost of living crisis squeezes income.
One in ten LGBTQ+ women (9.33%) said they have turned to credit cards, payday loans, and second or weekend jobs to make ends meet.
Any type of rewards program is off-limits to the majority of LGBTQ+ women, with only 17% benefiting from it, compared to 20% of straight women, 26% of gay and bisexual men, and 30% of straight men — nearly double that.
Experts say there are many reasons why gender and gay LGBTQ+ differences exist.
For one, mothers are hit particularly hard, as mothers are less likely to be hired, less likely to earn high wages, and less likely to be promoted.
But good old-fashioned misogyny is among the biggest factors at play. Research has shown that unconscious – or fairly obvious – prejudices and stereotypes hold women back in the workplace.
There is also lesbophobia. A quarter of LGBTQ+ women say they have faced discrimination at work, and 11% of queer men say the same.
Even then, some queer workers wondered what the point of reporting this behavior to their bosses was; One in five respondents did not trust their work leaders to stand up for them.
Queer women are also 10% less likely to get a pat on the back for a promotion than their straight counterparts, Robert Walters found. The poll found that a quarter of lesbian and bisexual women feel less confident about asking for a pay rise or promotion.
Heterosexual women also feel this more strongly than their heterosexual male colleagues, at 20% and 14% respectively. (17% of GBTQ+ men said the same).
More than half (53%) of respondents said they had not attempted to negotiate a raise since joining or while with their current employer.
But even when LGBTQ+ women throw their hats in the ring, nearly a fifth (18%) said their employers didn’t increase the numbers printed on their paychecks one bit.
In what Robert Walters called the “new glass ceiling,” employers aren’t exactly keen on helping queer women advance their careers.
Almost a third (28%) say they lack opportunities, a quarter (25%) say the same about education and training courses and 23% say they don’t even know what to do to get promoted .
But a lack of diversity and representation at the highest level also plays a role in keeping demographics in low-paying gigs, 14% of respondents said.
Lucy Bisset, director of Robert Walters, says the company has been surveying employees for three years and that it’s generally getting better.
“While there are some improvements to celebrate, we continue to see negative experiences from minority or marginalized groups in the workplace,” she says.
“The election has been blamed on gender pay transparency, but this report highlights a more worrying issue, which is that LGBTQI+ women appear to have a much harder time even approaching the idea of negotiating a better salary or promotion.
“These disparities cannot continue, and in light of Lesbian Visibility Week, I urge all employers to delve deeper into the experiences of LGBTQi+ professionals in the workplace.”
Coral Bamgboye, director of equity, diversity and inclusion at Robert Walters, points out that the survey found that 18% of employers fail to help their queer workers feel part of the workplace.
“Employers’ hesitations or apprehensions on this matter will not serve to shake some of the shocking statistics contained in this report,” says Bamgbpoye.
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