Feminism and the Gender Pay Gap

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by friendofdorothy, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. mango5

    mango5 Endeavour era

    Remind me to wear a badge saying 'child-free zone' to my next job interview so they remember to treat me like a man.
  2. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    The Danish stats don't really support the idea that 'potential mother' is a big problem. They suggest that it's actual motherhood that is causing the gap. I know stats from the UK say similar things.

    Conclusion I would draw from that is that the fact and practicality of being a primary carer of a small child is the major cause of the gender pay gap, rather than, say, unexamined prejudices. Means companies being nicer and being more aware of the gap is not likely to make much difference. Indeed points-based recruitment systems designed to eliminate unconscious prejudice may simply act to enforce the gap by, for instance, giving more points to a longer work history (more experience), which someone who hasn't taken time out to have a kid will on average have more of.

    So while it may make the issue simpler, it probably makes it harder to solve, and the stubborn persistence of a wide pay gap in countries like Denmark or Sweden or Finland is a testament to the deep structural issue that it reflects. Changing that involves a root and branch change in attitudes towards life and work, as Edie pointed out on another thread - for starters, normalising the idea of a career break, flexible working, optional part-time, for everyone, not just parents or 'slackers'. While we value work over life, it's unlikely to happen.
  3. Albert

    Albert Well-Known Member

    On crap fone, but it's primarily a biological sex pay gap.

    Obviously more complex tho with women, particularly in UK (maybe more than in Denmark?) likely to be working in lower paid jobs and professions and also be the default child carer, both of which are due to society 's expectations
  4. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    So that’s it? It’s just inevitable regardless of the nature of society?
    Manter likes this.
  5. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

    Mothers are more likely to work in lower paid jobs and professions because those are the jobs open to mothers. The jobs that have part time or term time only hours. Full time well paid jobs are often not open to mothers because they require hours beyond what is possible to achieve with paid childcare which is why they are traditionally done by men (because they have a wife doing the childcare, not a business that doesn't open til 8am and closes at 6pm. The wife doesn't stop being available for childcare when the kids are ill or when it's school holidays, either).
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  6. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    It is also entirely woven into the fabric of society from the outset. Try persuading a primary school to text the dad rather than the mum when the child is ill.
    equationgirl, polly, Riklet and 8 others like this.
  7. quimcunx

    quimcunx protestant traybake

    Then the question is why did you apply for those job titles rather than the better paid ones if the duties are the same? I remember reading that if you advertised the same job but with different salaries (and possibly different job titles too I can't remember) more women applied for the lower paying ad, and more men for the higher paying ad.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  8. cheesethief

    cheesethief Well-Known Member

    If a woman and man are paid differently for doing exactly the same job that's clearly iniquitous, not to mention illegal. If the pay gap is a result of them doing different jobs due to life pressures, such as being the primary carer that might suggest that those who are not primary carers should be paid less in order to pay the primary carers more and re-balance the equation.
    friendofdorothy and quimcunx like this.
  9. Rutita1

    Rutita1 Sassy McFlashy

    These hierarchies and ways of devaluing ourselves are internalised and ingrained and externally reinforced. Unconciously we doubt our 'value' in so many work choices and situations.
  10. quimcunx

    quimcunx protestant traybake

    I think in a recent article/study that was all over the media a year or so ago they were claiming that a man and a woman doing the same job for the same company were not often being paid differently according to their gender wasn't very common at all now.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  11. ElizabethofYork

    ElizabethofYork Witchsmeller Pursuivant

    It's a long time since I applied for a job (I've been in the same place now for over 20 years), but I seem to remember being put forward for certain roles by the employment agency I was signed up with. It was only a while into jobs that I realised that the "managers" and "supervisors" (always men) were doing exactly the same stuff as me.
  12. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    If only it were that simple. As weepiper pointed out, the choices for (mostly) women who are primary carers are limited, so they end up in lower-paid work, but their immediate colleagues will also be in lower-paid work whether they are primary carers or not. So you don't really overcome the problem that easily. Also, if something happens to your kid are you expected to declare it and take a pay cut? And how to you define 'primary carer'? It can't be the mother by default, so you'd have to have some intrusive test for it.

    I don't think you can target the problem in that way. You need a more generalised change in attitudes. You need this to come along with a bunch of other changes to make society fairer.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  13. quimcunx

    quimcunx protestant traybake

    I remember my bank branch trying to get me in for an account review meeting, presumably trying to sell me stuff. It was with the Manager's Assistant. It was a woman. I can't understand what her job was but I suspect she was acting more at Deputy Manager level than assistant level, which tends to be bottom of the ladder.

    I also worked somewhere where a woman I worked with was promoted into Head of Admin where I can't see how she had less responsibility that the Operations Manager who I guesstimate was being paid a 1/3 more than her.
    weepiper and ElizabethofYork like this.
  14. Albert

    Albert Well-Known Member

    Course it isn't. Our society is pretty shitty and it needs to change.

    Basically what weepiper said below. That's a good description of our family working situation.

    I should not have commented as I can't respond on the fone.

    Obviously above :facepalm:
  15. cheesethief

    cheesethief Well-Known Member

    That's laudable, but not an answer. How does one achieve this generalised change in attitudes? We'd all like the world to be a better place, but actions speak louder than words. What specific changes would you enact tomorrow if you had unlimited power?
  16. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    If I had the limited power to do so, I'd raise taxes on the rich, the money to be spent on improved provision for everyone, including specifically kids and parents.

    you can't attack this problem without also attacking other problems that are related, such as growing inequality, growing pay gaps between bosses and workers.

    Nobody has unlimited power, so that really isn't an answer, is it? That's just silly. if I had unlimited power, I would give everyone the same share as everyone else. That's really not going to happen.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  17. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    Presumably one of the most effective ways of addressing the gender pay gap would be to raise the minimum wage.
  18. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Which would mean that it's a shit wage gap? And more women do work at the lower end of the scale - and then that being totaled and averaged?

    What is the pay gap that people talk about? The min wage is certainly universal. All low wage jobs - are they more balanced than high wage jobs?
  19. cheesethief

    cheesethief Well-Known Member

    Fair enough, point taken. It just feels like this is one of those issues that everyone devotes much ideological pontificating to, without formulating concrete strategies.

    You suggested: I'd raise taxes on the rich, the money to be spent on improved provision for everyone, including specifically kids and parents.

    Now that sounds great to me, I'd vote for you, but how specifically would that address the gender pay gap? Might it not just raise standards all round, whilst perpetuating any structural imbalances that exist? If a woman takes time off to have children, and a man doesn't - and also does not avail themselves of any of your improved provisions, such as better access to flexible working - they will, most likely, still end up being paid more.
  20. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    You want the problem solved now? Me too. Ain't going to happen, and better not to pretend that there are easy answers.
    friendofdorothy and kabbes like this.
  21. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    not sure it would achieve lbj's aim of changing people's attitudes so i was surprised not to see something about education or improved support for parents eg subsidised / free childcare
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  22. redsquirrel

    redsquirrel This Machine Kills Progressives

    Exactly women massively over-represented as part time and casual workers in my sector (like many others)
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  23. Lurdan

    Lurdan old wave

    Well, apart from the increasing number of people who are paid less than the minimum wage, nearly two thirds of whom are women, according to last weeks report by the Low Pay Commission :


    friendofdorothy likes this.
  24. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Legally universal.
  25. mango5

    mango5 Endeavour era

    equationgirl and friendofdorothy like this.
  26. ItWillNeverWork

    ItWillNeverWork Messy Crimbobs, fellow humans.

    Caregivers need to be given a decent-sized guaranteed income from the state. That would close a big chunk of the aggregate gap, I would have thought.
    JudithB, friendofdorothy and mango5 like this.
  27. JudithB

    JudithB Well-Known Member

    Please don't use this article to berate the mother. I think it's a really good example of how work outside of the home is easier for men to excel at as they do not carry the mental load women do

    I hired a wife. And my career took off.
    baldrick and 8ball like this.
  28. mango5

    mango5 Endeavour era

    The article just made me realise it would be a nice thing if I offered to relieve my partner of some of the domestics when he's having a very stressful time at work.
    I don't think I'm that nice though.
  29. Manter

    Manter Lunch Mob

    I know a lot of men who are ‘directors’ working with women who are ‘senior managers’ and hugely more competent. But one group got the title (and shares and so on)
    ElizabethofYork likes this.
  30. Athos

    Athos Well-Known Member

    Everything about that makes me cringe.

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