Bangladeshi and Pakistani women suffer multiple discrimination

28th Apr 2017
Bangladeshi and Pakistani women suffer multiple discrimination

Amira Al-Hooti

Several factors come into play when it comes to the pay gap. Where gender is concerned, ethnicity is also a significant factor, with Bangladeshi and Pakistani women in the UK suffering from the ‘largest aggregate (i.e. including full-time and part-time workers) gender pay gap at 26.2%’ according to Fawcett Society.

“This analysis reveals a complex picture of gender pay gap inequality. Black African women have been largely left behind, and in terms of closing the pay gap, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are today only where White British women were in the 1990s,” said Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, Sam Smethers.

This highlights how the status of an individual’s identity can determine their inferiority in the workplace where they may face multiple discrimination. This may be particularly common amongst Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslim women who wear the hijab, which is a visible representation of their faith.

Despite this, the report found that some women from certain ethnic groups have made progress in that they have reversed the pay gap, now earning more than men of the same ethnic background as them. This was found amongst the Black Caribbean, Chinese and Irish women.

Sociologists Barron and Norris theorised what is known as the dual labour market. One of these markets known as the primary labour market is made up of people from higher social class backgrounds, usually men of British white backgrounds, and those who acquire high levels of qualifications, compared to the secondary labour market which typically composes of those of lower class backgrounds, women and ethnic minorities. The difference between being in one of these labour markets compared to the other is simple: being in the primary labour market would mean you can enjoy higher pay, increased benefits and better conditions, compared to lower pay and less secure jobs in the secondary labour market. The pair of sociologists concluded that ethnic minorities are overrepresented in the secondary labour market.

On the other hand, sociologist Charles Murray argues that it is not possible for a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities to form the secondary labour market, as that they do not attempt to enter the labour market.

However, the pay gap is not the only concern. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent organisation, determined to eradicate poverty in the UK in aim for a ‘prosperous UK’ where ‘everyone can thrive and contribute’, analysed statistics from the 2001 and 2011 England and Wales censuses. They found that ‘In terms of unemployment, the overwhelming picture is one of continuing ethnic minority disadvantage compared with the White British majority group’.

 

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