The Week Unwrapped: Pay cheques, sporting pressure and ancient plants
Should we all know what our colleagues are paid? How will Olympic athletes cope with social media scrutiny? And could a strange desert plant unlock human longevity?
Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.
In this week’s episode, we discuss:
The UK’s Equality Act, which gives women and men the right to receive equal pay for equal work, has existed since 1970 and was updated as recently as 2010. However, equal pay is not always the reality: the county’s gender pay gap sits at 17% and the mean ethnicity pay gap is as high as 29.3%. A campaign to ‘show the salary’ is drawing attention to discriminatory hiring processes which favour white men and trap people in under-paid cycles. But could - and should - more employers be opting for salary transparency as a way to make the workplace fairer?
Social media in sport
US Olympic gymnast Suni Lee has blamed social media for her failure to win a gold medal. She “got distracted and lost focus a little bit” and now plans to “stay off social media”, she says. She may have a point: previous studies have found that basketball players who tweet between 11pm and 7am before a game score fewer points. So how does the huge increase in social media followers affect an Olympian? And could these platforms be doing more to protect them?
The Welwitschia is a bizarre species of plant that lives in the Namib desert in southern Africa. It can live for as long as 2,000 years, despite having only two leaves, which are shredded to ribbons by wind and sand as they grow across the desert floor. Now new research has shed some light on the secret of its longevity.