Gordon Lindhurst, MSP and chair of Holyrood's economy and fair work committee, is worried. In committee meetings, he has heard rumours that men are being paid less than women. This is not the way things are meant to be. He must alert the authorities.
Lindhurst saw his chance in First Minister’s Questions yesterday. Standing up and addressing Nicola Sturgeon, he told of the “evidence that in some areas men suffer from a gender pay gap in relation to women”. He asked what the government was going to do about this injustice, because, yes, while the pay gap does affect more women, what about the men?
Then, giggles. Laughter. This is not what he expected. “I think currently Ruth Davidson is slowly sliding under that desk in front of her,” mocked Sturgeon. Davidson was indeed smiling, avoiding eye contact with Lindhurst. “The whole essence of equality is that men and women are treated equally, so, yes, in the spirit of consensus I kind of accept the underlying premise of the question,” Sturgeon continued.
“But anybody who can look at the problem of the gender pay gap right now, or the gender inequalities that exist in other parts of our society, and concludes that the problem is ‘We've got to do more to help men rather than women,’ I think misses the whole point and probably just underlines the fact that the Tories have got an awful lot to do here.”
Scotland’s pay gap currently stands at 6.2 per cent and, while there are areas of work where men are paid less than women, Lindhurst seems to have missed the point. Pay equality means exactly what it says on the tin – men and women are paid equally. He is right to be concerned about the gender pay gap; he’s just standing on the wrong side.