By Isa Lappalainen
As a university student in one of the world’s most gender equal countries you may think that the gender pay gap is unlikely to affect you much. Think again! According to recent studies, female academics in Sweden are likely to earn 2.8 million kr less (net income) than their male colleagues during a lifetime.
We’ve heard the explanations for this before: women use 75 percent of the parental leave, they often spend several years in part-time employments and they tend not to negotiate their pay as often as men do.
Today we celebrate International Women’s Day and statistics like these are all over the news. The progression towards closing the gender pay gap is often referred to as a linear one, and we read about predictions like: in 50 years, pay will be equal! The change is thought to come from slow transformation of values and perhaps the introduction of more “daddy months”. Seemingly, there is not much we can do to help the development on our own.
There is, however, a simple DIY method of lobbying for higher income for female academics. Write about them on Wikipedia!
Last year, it was revealed that only 17 percent of notable profiles on Wikipedia are on women. Apart from the obvious impact this has on how we perceive the gender (im)balance of important researchers when we read up on basically any area of inquiry, Wikipedia is often used when people decide whom to invite to speak at conferences and events. This means that information on Wikipedia may directly influence academics’ work (and income) opportunities.
Who is your favourite female lecturer in Uppsala (or researcher whose works you are most interested in)? Look up if they have a Wikipedia page! If not – create one for them. Creating a wikipedia page is easy. Include: name, education, field of research, areas of specialisation and what they have published. Don’t forget to add sources! Editing an already existing page with more in-depth details about previous works and research is also a great way of contributing to female academics success and hence, to closing the academic gender wage gap.
Are you still not sure of how to celebrate International Women’s Day this year? Help a sister out — go Wiki!
By Isa Lappalainen
Editorial Note: A number of events relating to International Women’s Day are being held today. A discussion panel on violence against women (in Swedish); a torch light procession celebrating youth feminist organisation; a club night where the ticket proceeds go to Kvinna till Kvinna.