MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Wed 20-Aug-14 12:45:06

Guest post: 'The gender pay gap is still widening - we must act'

Statistics published this week reveal that many women earn three-quarters of what their male colleagues do - for the same job. Grazia magazine have launched a petition calling for an end to the gender pay gap. Here, Editor Jane Bruton argues that demanding transparency from businesses is essential.

Jane Bruton

Editor of Grazia

Posted on: Wed 20-Aug-14 12:45:06


Lead photo

'We want companies to publish their pay gap'

This week we learnt that female managers earn, on average, only three quarters as much as men – for doing exactly the same job.

The shocking statistics from the Chartered Management Institute show just outrageous the current situation is. Women in management roles will have to retire at 79 to earn the same in their lifetime as equivalent male colleagues.

Too many people think: ‘this is just a hangover from the days when we couldn't get our own credit cards, or even vote – it'll sort itself out over time’. But it won't. In a society that is increasingly embracing feminism, the pay gap isn't getting better – it's getting worse. New figures from the Office of National Statistics show that unless things change, the gender divide will last at least another 60 years. We can't wait that long.

And – obviously – it's about motherhood. The data shows that women begin to really fall behind at the age when they are most likely to be starting a family. It gets steadily worse from then on.

In a society that is increasingly embracing feminism, the pay gap isn't getting better – it's getting worse. New figures from the ONS show that unless things change, the gender divide will last at least another 60 years. We can't wait that long.

Mark Crail, of pay specialists XpertHR, which helped with the study, said: "It appears that employers often give up on women in mid-career, and are missing out on a huge pool of untapped knowledge, experience and talent." Clearly, too many employers just can't comprehend how a person can be a parent and a conscientious, ambitious worker – unless, of course, they're a man. How silly of us to believe that in 2014, we'd be judged on our performance at work rather than our gender.

Here's another depressing statistic: from the 4th November each year, women are essentially working for free. So, are you entirely happy with your earnings? Is it okay with you that women take home an average £1million less than their male counterparts over their working lives? No? Didn't think so.

We're not too happy about it either – and we have just three weeks left to do something about it. We have launched our Mind the Pay Gap campaign to try and get 100,000 signatures on our petition by September 10. If we do, the Government has to take action on this issue. But we need your help to do that.

Not a day goes by when I'm not asked to sign some petition or other. I know what it's like to feel petition fatigue. ‘Oh they’ll get loads of people signing this - they don't need me’, I always think. But we really do.

Our petition calls for transparency about the gender pay divide. We're calling for Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 – existing legislation brought in by the last Labour government – to be enacted. If it is, then businesses with 250 employees or more would have to publish (completely anonymously) details about the hourly pay of the men and women they employ, exposing any unfair gender gaps.

Please help us make a difference. If we work together on this, we can change things for ourselves, for our daughters and for women like us in the future.

If you'd like to sign the petition, you can find it here.

By Jane Bruton

Twitter: @janeGRAZIA

This is nice and all, but slightly strange coming from Grazia, which is one of the least feminist things out there, isn't it? Or was last time I flipped through a copy in the hairdresser.

Darkesteyes Wed 20-Aug-14 16:36:58

LRD Take a look at this weeks cover. Its got WOW How Kate got THIS body on the front. Accompanied by a picture of the very slim Kate Moss. I think the reason the response to this petition has been so poor is because it seems to exclude the very low paid jobs (eg care work) All that has happened here is the same that happens in general elections. A poor turn out because the people whose vote they want arent being catered for.

Oh, how very depressing. sad

And I take your point about excluding poorly paid jobs. Women are disproportionately reprented in those, of course.

Darkesteyes Wed 20-Aug-14 17:19:10

YY LRD What could/should be included in that petition is to lift the minimum wage (which is what a lot of care workers/supermarket workers are on) to a living wage. Could also have included a part to end zero hour contracts. They have left out a huge part of the population, some of which will be the young women who read Grazia. Its almost as if they dont want to include these jobs because it doesnt affect them, yet perversely they are asking us to sign this petition even if it doesnt affect us because there is a chance that it may. I find this extremely hypocritical. Its not my idea of equality to exclude very low income work. That coupled with the hypocrisy is the reason i wont be adding my signature to the petition.

Its not my idea of equality to exclude very low income work.

Not mine either.

It's a shame that our guest posters so rarely come back and comment on the response to their posts. I'd be interested in Jane's views on our observations about the hypocrisy of claiming to be feminist when much of their magazine is taken up with body shape and expensive fashion.

MNHQ explained on a previous guest post that posters don't usually get notice of exactly when their guest posts will be put up. So she might not actually know it's here yet.

I would be interested too. I did enjoy Grazia when it first started. I like fashion; I thought they had some good writers, and it seemed a bit smarter than a lot of other glossies. But it's truly rubbish feminism.

Plus I always find it confusing - they'll write reasonably intelligent articles, aimed at people who aren't stupid, but they cannot think we don't see through those cringey 'New August Issue - Is Kate too Fat?!'/ 'September: Kate's Anorexia Horror. Friends worry for skeletal star'* shilly-shallying.

* Quotations made up. Like I say, I don't buy it. The spirit is, however, accurate.

Blondieminx Wed 20-Aug-14 20:42:22

The shilly shallying is why I cancelled my subscription. That and the atrocious reporting of what Nigella went through.

I completely agree with DarkestEyes and I won't be signing either.

Oneeyedbloke Wed 20-Aug-14 22:51:02

I have a slight quibble with how gender pay inequality is reported. A lot of men - and it's surely mainly men who control this - think, 'Oh, that can't be right, it's against the law to pay women less than men for the same job these days.' They then buttress that general line of thought by using a particular example, something like: 'Take Jane for instance, she does the same job as I do, she's on Band 6 (or whatever) same as me, there's no way the management could get away with paying her £25k when I get £28k.' And in this way they sort of sweep the whole issue under their mental carpet. That's certainly the way this bloke used to think about it.

So, imho campaigners need to be more specific about the exact ways women get paid less - through not rising through pay grades as quickly as men; through losing money when on maternity leave; through having to work part-time because of caring responsibilities, etc. Spell it out, because there are a lot of men out there who are potential allies in the pay equality battle but who don't understand/believe what they're hearing.

Statistics like 'Women take home £1m less than men over their working lives' can be accounted for in many, seemingly legitimate ways - that's how blokes' minds work. Let's hear the detail of individual women's lives, and the pay injustices they suffer. For example, my misogynistic boss is happy to let employees, male or female, go part-time when they ask for it - but he won't ever let them increase their hours again. He tells them there isn't the work - but then hires other full-time workers. This discriminates against women because they're mainly the ones asking to go part-time in the first place, and results in them losing thousands compared to their male colleagues.

YY, precisely.

It's no good to focus on specific, relatively well-paid examples. We need to look at the whole structure of why female-dominated jobs are undervalued and why women end up disproportionately represented in low paying jobs. And we need people to recognize that women going part-time, or giving up jobs, or taking low-paid work that fits around caring/bringing up children, isn't simply a 'choice' but a response to a restrictive social structure.

I will say, this isn't just how 'blokes' mind work' - it's a common opinion from women too.

Darkesteyes Wed 20-Aug-14 23:21:55

Totally agree LRD. The figure for the amount of women on zero hour contracts has skyrocketed in recent years.

And these will be the ones who are having to use food banks.
There is also still the default attitude and opinion that the childcare fees should come out of the womans wage.

Roonerspism Thu 21-Aug-14 03:09:56

As someone directly affected by this - crappy salary increases since having kids and going part time - it is not easy to fix.

As long as women are the primary care givers, and rely on hideously expensive nurseries/utterly inadequate wrap around school care (I'm in scotland btw), it won't improve.

I am unable to do the same hours as my male counterparts. I'm given lower quality work. I'm given far poorer pay rises and it is justified every time in the fact I am less flexible. To an extent, I can see my employer's point.

sausageeggbacon11 Thu 21-Aug-14 08:49:15

The glass ceiling is not the problem there only a few who will ever be affected. Those of us on low wages either by choice for the flexibility or because there are no options are trapped and not able to progress because we are seen as the bottom of the labour pool. When big companies start to do more to help a massive part of the workforce back to work with out the hideous punishments we currently have then things will change.

Men's rights will be represented at general election time next year with a broad brush stroke policy for what they want to see. The feminist boards discussed a feminism party which I was against in general as I see the policy being more towards the top end down rather than what we need is a push from the bottom up to allow stifled talent to grow. If a women's party focused on the issues that many suffer and don't try to alienate men just because they can then I would be interested.

I used to love Gracia but they are busy promoting diets and image issues so not good for them as far as I am concerned.

Dolly80 Thu 21-Aug-14 09:02:14

When I read the guest post my thoughts echoed those already on the thread.

Woman make up the majority of the workforce in several low paid and undervalued careers (where zero hours contracts and bank work are the norm). Of the top of my head - carework, childcare, retail, support roles in schools and medical establishments...the list goes on. I'd be more interested in signing a petition about this imbalance.

I concede there is a wage gap at management level but, in comparison with a nursery nurse in London who may be earning 12-14k a year for a 40hr week, I wouldn't consider it the priority area to focus on.

Shenanagins Thu 21-Aug-14 09:16:59

The reasons behind the pay gap are far more complex than the article suggests and merely by publishing pay gap data will not do that much to address this.

The article makes reference to the pay gap widening at the time many women take a break to start their families, typically in their 30's, this fact is supported by data published by the Office for National Statistics.

However, we need to delve a bit more into why this happens as it is unfair to some employers to suggest that they simply write off women's contribution once they have children, in my experience this is simply not true.

One of the hard truths and one that us females don't like to admit to is that we are part of the problem.

Once we have children, we are typically less likely to apply for more senior roles, ie the ones which pay more as we are concerned about the impact would have on our family lives, a concern that men typically don't have.

The simple fact is that unless women pursue these higher paid roles then there will always be a substantial headline pay gap.

The headline pay gap figure is also misleading as it could point to an issue that is outwith a company's control - that women are not applying for the higher paid senior roles.

To put it simply, the headline pay gap figure compares the average male salary to the average female salary. If the compay has more males in senior roles because females don't apply for them, then their average salary will be higher than the females.

A couple of other things to consider is that females are typically less likely to ask for a pay rise and have overall lower salary expectations.

A transparent pay structure will not solve any of these issues but we females need to consider why we typically don't apply for more senior roles and address this rather than point to unfair pay practices.

If you asked me if the glass ceiling is a feminist issue, I'd say yes.

If you asked me what issues a feminist party should focus on, I wouldn't say that the glass ceiling* should be one of the top 5.

I'd also point out that there are at least two interpretations of why a glass ceiling / unequal pay is a problem. The first is selfish in nature: why shouldn't women want the same pay and opportunities as anyone else: I don't want extra barriers because I have breasts. This reason is low on the priority list really.

The second is by far more important: that currently, women are under-represented in positions of power because of the glass ceiling and social structures around gender roles and this is a barrier to equality in itself, as well as a consequence of inequality. And because of assumptions around women's work that lead to low pay, many women are trapped in a cycle of poverty and dependence. So, it matters in this sense.

I'd like to see a feminist party that honed in on the issues faced by the most vulnerable women: young women in care, asylum seekers, sex workers, women in deprived areas, women living in abusive situations. And yes, carers, those on zero hours contracts and minimum wage. As well as the feminisation of poverty as outlined above.

*as interpreted by you as self-centred professional women wanting their 50k + salaries topped up.

A transparent pay structure will not solve any of these issues but we females need to consider why we typically don't apply for more senior roles and address this rather than point to unfair pay practices

Yes, but…

Have you looked at studies on how male and female behaviour is interpreted differently at work? Men are assertive, women bitches etc. And how male and female achievements are judged differently, by different criteria. Cordelia Fine's work highlights this well.

So maybe we don't put ourselves forward as confidently as we could, but there may be reasons for that state of affairs that go beyond a simple "buck up ladies".

Shenanagins Thu 21-Aug-14 09:50:30

buffy on your point about women going into typically lower paid jobs i would argue that this is a kind of glass ceiling, why is it typically women who do these jobs in the first place?

in relation to your second point, women are part of the problem in relation to not going for more senior roles but this isn't the only reason as you rightly stated.

i would love to discuss this further but now on my phone and about to go out.

But shen, is this women's 'fault' for going into these jobs - as individuals?

Or is it a wider social issue? I tend to think the latter, because there is a lot of pressure on women to 'scale back' after having babies, not to mention discrimination.

There are so many threads on MN where someone will post saying they 'can't afford' to go back to work as 'they' can't cover childcare - as if it's automatically their financial responsibility. I've even seen people posting that they needed to 'save' money for their maternity leave as their partner would expect the same level of shared contribution to the family finances as before the birth.

With attitudes like these, it's not very surprising that lots of women feel inclined to take lower paid jobs and I don't feel comfortable saying it is their 'fault'.

The bottom line is, somebody has to take care of children. That could be mum or dad, or grandad, or a childminder - but chances are, it's mum or a (female) childminder.

hereistand Thu 21-Aug-14 13:29:59

I am inclined to agree with Shenanigans. I am reading a book called 'Why women don't ask' by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever and it researches the gender pay gap from a point of view that women on their first interview after leaving college settle for what they're offered. If we continue and actively encourage our children to take this route, how can we ever lessen that gap. Most of the men I've asked think that asking for more and believing in their self worth is obvious for success. They cannot believe that many women don't do the same. Do we have ourselves to blame? I don't necessarily believe that's the case but I also don't believe we help ourselves as much as we could do.
I'm a working Mum and it's taken me until aged 32 to believe in my self worth and I'm now more than happy to negotiate what I want from life, work and more.
This doesn't suit everyone so there is the argument of equality to help those that won't shout up, but perhaps that's just acknowledging that we are not all the same and the world would be a strange place if we were.

Darkesteyes Thu 21-Aug-14 13:41:10

LRD i totally agree. Ive seen and read exactly the same threads as you have.
Many men seem to have interpreted shared financial contribution as 50/50 instead of contributions towards the household pot divided in proportion with earnings. And that is before children as well as after. There was a recent thread where a man was expecting his partner and children to live on £60 .

There are varying degrees of financial abuse and these need to be tackled. Statistics show that one in five women in their mid forties dont have children. By 2018 (when i will be 45) it is expected to rise to one in four. Some through choice ,some through circumstance. (Gaby Hinsliff discussed this in Grazia last week)

I cant help wondering if some of these women chose not to have children because of attitudes like the ones discussed in LRDs post at 10.20. I know these ARE some of the reasons i decided to remain childfree.

Darkesteyes Thu 21-Aug-14 13:48:01

A woman on minimum wage working in a care home or working as a childminder or shelf stacking is unlikely to get a pay rise no matter how much negotiation she does.

And SOMEONE has to do these jobs so its no use saying "aim higher" because someone else then has to fill the supermarket job.

And what about workfare. The single mother on JSA is much more likely to be coerced into workfare than her ex who is not paying Child Support. While we have a Government who have many anti women policies, it seems just a little bit victim blamey (for want of a better phrase) to blame it on women for not putting themselves forward. confused

YY, the idea that if you negotiate you do better is quite class-bound. There are plenty of contexts where anyone - male or female - who tried it on would be seen as a troublemaker, or just odd.

It's also an issue that what's considered acceptable negotiating is gendered, even in jobs where negotiating is widely accepted. This piece makes some of these points, though the studies were carried out in the US:

Blondieminx Thu 21-Aug-14 14:48:09

I am nodding along with you Buffy LRD & Darkesteyes

Someone has to do the caring. If you get a well paid job and pause / go part time while there are young kids / elderly parents to look after IME it is hard to recover from, financially. Bosses see you as firmly on the "mummy track" "not committed" "inflexible". But I know that is a privileged position, and we should be focussing on the women stuck in dead end retail work for minimum wage, on zero hours contracts not knowing if she'll be able to get her kids school shoes next week or whether she'll have to suffer the indignity of the food banks again... sad

The gap in opportunity is key; far more so than a simple comparison of basic salaries.

Shenanagins Thu 21-Aug-14 16:27:25

My original point was in relation to the petition for greater transparency in pay as this always seems to be the focus of such discussions and I'm saying it shouldn't be.

We should be focusing on other points like why women typically don't go for the senior roles, negotiate higher pay and that takes us on to the real crux.

Why are the "caring" professions female dominated? Why does the bulk of childcare typically fall onto women?

We need to start questioning these norms and our own inner belief systems in order to generate real change in this area.

There is no easy answer in all of this, it is easy to blame men, dodgy companies, women but none of those is strictly correct.

Yes, women do have a part of the problem but not the only part and that is the much wider issue.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 21-Aug-14 17:23:32

whoever put together and allowed the infographic to be released should be fired.

EBearhug Thu 21-Aug-14 22:27:51

Can't find the report(s) just now, and too tired to search properly, but there was some research from Catalyst that showed that women are less likely to be considered for high profile projects than men, and then they don't get the experience that comes with it, so they don't get considered for the next one, and their performance doesn't seem as good, so they don't get as many bonuses and performance-related payrises - over one year, this might not be such a big deal, but the cumulative effects over a career do add up, even if you don't have a career break for children.

There are also differences in how women's behaviour is seen (as someone mentioned upthread) - examples included men working long hours works in their favour, but not so much for women (I am so tired because I've been doing some long days...) There are also some differences in how effective mentors and sponsors are with men and women, partly because people tend to mentor and sponsor people like themselves.

gamescompendium Thu 21-Aug-14 22:35:32

The stats are wrong in the article. If women are earning 75% of male earnings (why isn't this portrayed as men earning 133% of female earnings?) then why are we only working for free from 4 November, surely it would be working for free from the end of September? confused

EBear - sorry you're tired. I so agree about mentoring issues.

EBearhug Fri 22-Aug-14 20:50:21

It's the weekend - I can sleep. And actually it's been quite a good week workwise, even if it has been a bit manic.

OutsSelf Fri 22-Aug-14 23:30:02

I think men could really help out in this by participating in unpaid work as much as women do. Until men shoulder their responsibilities as parents and home makers, and rearrange their working lives the way that women do to accommodate this, there will be a de facto inequity in the labour market as men will simply be more.flexible, more available and more consistently avoidable.

The pay gap in my current department between me and male colleagues arises because I took maternity leave and have a part time contract in order to be with my young family. Men in my department with similar family situations barely blinked when their children were born and are never off when their children are ill. I am the main income earner in my family yet manage to participate in this way for my children. I would not be disadvantaged by this if men routinely made similar arrangements.

Would be very interested in Grazia' s particular interest in this, they do not strike me as feminist in the ways mentioned by PPs. Agree with points made above about why transparency might not be the key to this issue

EBearhug Sat 23-Aug-14 00:07:31

My male colleagues do quite often leave early because of childcare, and deal with sick children, but I think that's partly because we are in jobs which can be flexible about start and finish times, and we can work from home. Also, our manager does quite a lot of the school runs, so it's acceptable for others to be seen to be actively parenting, too.

I have no idea if there's a pay gap - I don't think there is, after fighting for a payrise a few years ago, and the comments I got then, and I did have a couple of years where I got 6 monthly raises above the official cap. (We usually get annual raises, and it's usually capped at say 2%, even if you've performed excellently.) I was at the point of considering putting in an equal pay questionnaire back then.

But I don't actually have any idea currently. My manager usually says at payrise time that he tried to get me a higher rise, but he doesn't have the final say... But I don't know if he means because I'm not equal, or because my performance deserved it, and for all I know, he might say the same to all my colleagues, too.

Also, it's not just base pay - if you're with an employer who pays bonuses as a percentage of salary, then that also has a cumulative effect, because 2% of £30000 is not going to be as much as 2% of £40000, and over the years, it will add up, especially if payrises are also done as percentages.

susannahmoodie Sun 24-Aug-14 17:56:51

I'm a teacher. Teaching in theory had a very transparent pay scale, any one can google it and the criteria for moving up it are pretty transparent too. So you might wonder how a gender pay gap would exist. But but does.

Two colleagues of mine started at the same time so we're due to log through threshold at the same time. Female colleague mentioned it to male colleague as in 'oh it's our turn to apply for threshold this year' he replied 'oh I already went through a couple I years ago'. Turns out he jut asked the head, made his case hat he was worthwhile and the head agreed.

Similarly, a new member of staff had a tlr payment at his old school but was relocating here to a role with no extra responsibilities, school agrees to match his salary. Because he asked.

I know people will say 'well women should ask then' but I'm not sure it's that simple, as women are perceived as grasping, above their station etc.

PetulaGordino Mon 25-Aug-14 07:26:27

Susannah I agree it's not that simple. Especially when you have a group that has generally been socialised to expect and demand more, and another group that has been socialised to expect and demand less (or perhaps to be grateful for what they're given). It's all very well telling women who are currently or about to go into the workforce to ask for more etc, but it needs to start earlier, in childhood and in the way that the two sexes are treated, and for that attitude that a man being assertive = a woman being aggressive to be broken down

AskBasil Mon 25-Aug-14 08:34:44

When women ask for more, they are seen as uppity, bitchy, grasping career women who are getting above their station, while men are ambitious go-getters.

When men take time out of the career path, to start up businesses, be an actor, go travelling, look after children etc., they catch up with their peers - they are not permanently disadvantaged by having taken time out of the paid workplace the way women are.

As someone else said, men are more likely to be mentored, given big projects which increase their knowledge and experience and therefore suitability for the next career step, while women are less likely to be given those projects and if they are, they are less likely to be properly mentored and guided in them, so they don't perform as well when they do them, thus leaving them perceived as less competent and less able than their male peers who were properly mentored and groomed for leadership every step of the way.

Women who don't have children and don't take time out of the workplace and work full time for the whole of their careers, are still paid less than people with penises.

The reason there is still a pay gap is sexism. All the other stuff is just excuses and denial.

Blondieminx Mon 25-Aug-14 16:39:27

AskBasil great post

NutcrackerFairy Mon 25-Aug-14 20:24:43

Why don't we ask why are female dominated professions notoriously badly paid [i.e carework, nursing] as well as why are they female dominated in the first place?

It just strikes me that, yes, it is vital to encourage more young girls to study for and enter male dominated professions such as finance and engineering... but why is it that female dominated professions are considered the bottom of the pay barrel anyway?

AskBasil Mon 25-Aug-14 20:53:37

Also why aren't we acknowledging that as soon as women do start going into a profession in large numbers, the wage goes down?

That's not to do with overall numbers, it's to do with the value we assign to women and their work versus that we assign to men and their work

OutsSelf Mon 25-Aug-14 23:06:46

Everything that Basil said.

CaptChaos Thu 28-Aug-14 00:00:18

To put it bluntly and simply NutcrackerFairy if they were well paid, men would be doing them.

Women used to dominate in IT in the early days, when it just looked like coding was like being a glorified secretary. As soon as it started making big bucks, men took it over.

Pay nurses/teachers/careworkers/shop workers well, and I can almost guarantee it that those industries will become male dominated.

PetulaGordino Thu 28-Aug-14 16:06:56

i used to meet a lot of professors of nursing as part of my previous job

they were disproportionately (compared to nursing as a whole) men

CaptChaos Thu 28-Aug-14 16:55:20

It did seem (anecdotally) that any male nurses were likely to be promoted quickly. Certainly more quickly than their female counterparts, so yes, it doesn't seem odd that professors of nursing were disproportionately male, indeed, this was the case when I was training too. back in the dim and distant

I didn't get the impression from my peers that this was because women didn't want to be promoted, even if we did console ourselves by saying that we wanted more patient contact anyway....

EBearhug Thu 28-Aug-14 20:49:23

Yes - when I was working in libraries (academic and public), there were lots of men at the top of the tree - quite out of proportion compared with the overall numbers.

AskBasil Fri 29-Aug-14 08:24:20

Teaching used to be a very well-paid and respected profession.

When most teachers were men.

Nowadays most teachers are women. But at the higher levels - headteachers - the tiny number of men in the profession are disproportionately represented.

The usual crap about well women go part time and take maternity leave etc. gets trotted out, but actually, the discrepancy is too large to glibly explain it away by that catch-all "women's choices". Many men in the profession don't enter it straight after university, so theoretically they've missed the same amount of professional work time as women. Affects them not a jot, because no-one's looking for an excuse not to promote them.

AskBasil Sat 30-Aug-14 18:50:13

Someone posted this article on my facebook today and it's so interesting and relevant to this thread - it discusses transgender people's experience of different responses to them at work depending on whether they were known as male or female.

Greengrow Mon 08-Sep-14 17:36:31

We certainly need to act.
I constantly encourage women to know their worth. I think I am one of the best at my expert area (an area in law) of anyone in the UK. I have never had any trouble asking for and getting high pay and now I own , rather than work for anyone.

You have to push and push for pay rises.

I also recommend not being always off whether sick or on a lot of long gaps with maternity leaves, part time periods and the like. Obviously if you have 1 year of experience iof surgery you will not be as good a surgeon as 5 years. This is not rocket science. The key is leaving dull jobs like housecleaning and 24/7 childcare to other people. Going back to work quickly and full time makes a massive difference to the personal happiness of women and their children and their long term prospects.

Too many women think they are useless or don't negotiate high pay and don't take risks and don't move jobs and countries. If 30 years ago my children's father could follow my work hundreds of miles and move what is so different now that so many women choose to play second fiddle to men. Do not accept the poisoned chalice however tempting of part time work or long leaves - it tempts you but will actually kill you as a person and an earner and as long as more women than men take up those rights it is a noose round their necks. Steer clear of it like you might do the apple in the garden of Eden. Your child will not remember if you changed 12 nappies a day or 2 but they will be grateful when you earn enough to pay their university fees for them and are proud of your career. Feminism is the source of much happiness and success for women.

AskBasil Mon 08-Sep-14 21:41:01

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