Singlism — a term coined by American psychologist Bella DePaulo, researcher and author of the book ‘Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After’— has been here for some time, and does not seem to be moving anywhere fast.
Many people are unaware of the discrimination that single people put up with: ever paid Council Tax as a single occupant and wondered why you only get a 25% reduction instead of 50%? Or booked a holiday and had to pay an extra ‘single supplement’ to make up for the fact that you are travelling alone? These and many more examples, from buying theatre tickets to car insurance, demonstrate that if you have ever thought something wasn’t fair because of your single status, it isn’t an isolated case.
Singlism is also prevalent in the workplace, often without colleagues and employers recognising that it is a form of discrimination. In the TED blog called ‘The Price of Being Single’ research by DePaulo reveals that married men earn around 26 percent more than an unmarried man at an equivalent level.
Beyond pay, there are many other ways working singles have reported feeling taken advantage of in the workplace. DePaulo’s research indicates that the personal life of a single person is often seen as less valid or valuable than a married person. Being asked to stay later, take on unpopular shifts over holiday periods, or covering colleagues who have family events to attend, have all been reported with alarming regularity. We can all understand helping someone out, but the expectation that you have nothing ‘important’ to drop yourself can be an uncomfortable one.
Any form of discrimination is simply not acceptable. As we see in the examples above, being single can adversely affect your pocket, your social life, and even your self-esteem, in ways that we need to understand and address. The first step is understanding that judging someone based on their marital status, and making assumptions about the relative value of their personal life, is a form of discrimination.
But what is the next step?
I think the next step is to be informed about your own individual position, though previously it has been difficult to really know this. Not for much longer. The team at Sliips are working on a tool that can help you understand if you are being paid fairly for the work you are doing.
Whatever your marital status, age, gender, ethnicity, length of time in company, disability…. The list for discrimination may seem never-ending, but Sliips is determined to make pay discrimination a thing of the past.
Check us out at sliips.com.