Guardian article about feminism 'failing' had me spitting feathers.

(77 Posts)

Yes, I'm aware it's predictable shit, but really?!

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/31/gender-pay-feminism-working-class

So, essentially, ,most women who worked for 12 years before the Equal Pay Act in 1970 are hugely worse paid over their careers than men, and than the tiny number of women who graduated with degrees in 1958.

This, apparently, is all feminism's fault, cos you know everyone really tried hard to exploit the vast majority of women. The nice patriarchial system just employed them on shit wages and made it perfectly ok to pay them less than men ... that hardly compares to the evil of feminism whereby some small number of women (the hussies!) made it and got paid substantially more than most women. Let's search out that tiny minority and burn them, right?

Honestly.

This article is one level up from the sort of idiocy where people believe the moon landings were faked. Except I expect it isn't idiocy really, it's someone deliberately taking a pop at feminism, isn't it? sad

greenhill Mon 01-Apr-13 11:59:21

Sigh. Or it could be that low paid jobs remain low paid because any percentage increase in wages, means that it well never keep track with a higher salaried job even if the percentage increase in wages is the same.

What a silly article.

Ssh! You're applying logic, I don't believe women should be allowed to do that.

FasterStronger Mon 01-Apr-13 13:47:45

you could argue that in lower income households/workplaces, male esteem need to be propped up by a macho culture which make it harder for women to achieve equality.

its not a failure of feminism, just not enough feminism....yet.

why do journalists love to talk about The Failure of Feminism? is it just alliteration? I don't think so....

bigkidsdidit Mon 01-Apr-13 14:03:09

I came on to see if there was a thread about this! It drove me mad. Why is it the fault of women that other women are paid less than men?

and in the Guardian! I would expect higher of them but it seems I would be wrong sad

badguider Mon 01-Apr-13 14:08:43

Is this not an issue with the subs who wrote the headline?
The article could pretty much stay as it is if the headline was 'Feminism still has far to go to acheive equality in pay for lower-earners'

SatsukiKusukabe Mon 01-Apr-13 14:12:36

April Fools!
<hopefull>

IsBella Mon 01-Apr-13 14:15:32

Yes because if it hadn't been for feminism, working class women would now be earning the same as working class men and the pay gap wouldn't exist.

Is that the gist of it?

grin

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Mon 01-Apr-13 14:25:22

Ha - wish it was an April Fool...

IsBella - exactly grin

bigkidsdidit Mon 01-Apr-13 14:27:56

well not really, it;s just saying feminists don't care about working class women. Which seems to be the new way to attack us - see also reviews of Lean In.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 01-Apr-13 14:31:17

Bigkids, stop expecting better of the Guardian, I think it'll help. smile

bigkidsdidit Mon 01-Apr-13 14:33:07

but who else is there to read sad

SatsukiKusukabe Mon 01-Apr-13 16:18:03

there is one thing that kind of irks me not about feminism but about some feminists. Some do seem to have a real difficult time seeing what life if is like fir most women. Most working class women I know don't make as much as their partner. So when questions like "why do women always take themselves out of the work place for their partners" "or why do women weight child care against their salary" it makes me feel like I'm a shit feminist but actually I'm just practical. dh could not go part time in his current job and we could not afford for him to. His earning power is also something like 3times mine, so him quitting and me earning is just not even a possibility. and yes we could both work and we could get child care but once you factor in fees and petrol we might even be worse off a disability certainly no better. I also would not be improving my prospects by staying in the work place so other than missing out in my kids there would be no reward.

SatsukiKusukabe Mon 01-Apr-13 16:25:31

I also realise that if I want more done for working class women it's my job to do more not just whinge that middle class feminist who worry about the glass ceiling aren't doing enough. We all have our special interests, it's just simply the phrasing I hear that winds me up as it seems out if touch with reality

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 01-Apr-13 16:35:31

Childcare being rated against household income rather than the income of the lower earner is a way of putting the point that shows it's a family expense not a female expense. Of course there is a practical balance of finances which might make it impossible for the lower earner to go back to work but sometimes people do frame the point in the other way.

FWIW, it is complete rubbish for the article to suggest this is about 'working class women'.

How many women, in 1958, got degrees? I would be that there were huge numbers of middle-class (and upper-class) women who didn't get degrees, because it wasn't a standard thing. I know there were some working class women who did get degrees.

They are comparing a tiny population of women who - against the odds - succeeded in getting paid a lot more than most women, with Everyone Else.

A mate of mine has pointed out to me that until 1971, some professions didn't allow married women to work, so I absolutely think childcare must be a huge issue.

(I'm not saying this to suggest working-class women don't need more from feminism than they get, but only to say it's complete bollocks for the journalist to label the group under discussion as 'working class'.)

SatsukiKusukabe Mon 01-Apr-13 16:53:50

I realize why it's framed that way by feminism, but it seems to be a response to what is most women's practical reality where there is a decent size pay gap between earners and neither is loaded. In a discussion between a couple where both make good money, even if there is a huge pay gap in wage it doesn't really matter as the family income more than covers child care.

SatsukiKusukabe Mon 01-Apr-13 16:58:20

also, I'm not trying to say the article has any merit because think it's rubbish. just commenting in a "while we're on the subject kind of way"

I think we need a situation where it is easier for both partners to work flexi-time, to go part time, or to pick up a career after a break. I really don't think this is a hopeless thing to wish for, because when I compare what my generation can do with my parents' generation, there have been huge changes. Back when my mum stopped working to care for us, there was really no system in her industry for anyone to go part time. She didn't know there was such a thing as a job share (though in her industry it would have worked well).

I think also the 24/7 culture of shops opening makes it easier to work shifts in, too, maybe? Though then that also has a knock-on effect as I remember someone on here linking to a study that found that women in the US who tended to work the nightshifts a lot in order to bring in a salary around childcare, were more prone to health problems because it isn't a healthy lifestyle.

Despite all that I do think there could be a heck of a lot more done to make it possible for two partners to share working and childcare effectively.

Cross posted - satsu - oh, go for it! The article is rubbish so I was sort of hoping we'd get onto a more interesting debate than it provides. I was enjoying your posts.

SatsukiKusukabe Mon 01-Apr-13 17:12:16

yes job sharing should be more of an option and potentially (this is probably not too practical but would be brilliant ) what if 60 hours a week positions could be made available to couples instead if individual? Where there is no special skill needed such as in shops etc? if the couple could then work their family life to suit them so long as someone is covering the shift?

Oddly enough, my brother and SIL have a job share just like the one you describe. It has worked brilliantly because their employer (obviously) knows they are two halves of a couple and so will need to balance their time off so there's always someone around to do childcare.

I hadn't thought of it working more generally but you're right - it could be brilliant. Especially if you're both job seeking but need part time work. I would guess it is more efficient than a job share with some random person, because it'd be in the couple's interests to prove that part-time jobs work, they'd not be blaming the other person all the time.

grimbletart Mon 01-Apr-13 17:30:10

LRD makes as good point.

It's easy to forget how few people went to university in 1958.

The figures I have (1960 actually) showed there were:
22,428 achieving first degrees,of which only 5.575 were women:
3,273 achieving higher degrees of which only 274 were women.

Crikey. Thanks, those figures are fascinating - I admit, I didn't know it was such a small proportion of women to men.

Well, I do hope someone knows a woman who got a degree in 1958-60. She is one of the 5,575 women who made feminism fail and oppressed working women and men in a way that centuries of millions of men under the patriarchy never managed.

duchesse Mon 01-Apr-13 17:36:17

What I read the article as saying is that the gender divide hasn't yet been vanquished in a way that we all knew about anyway- that is to say women lose ground the moment they have children. Since there appears to be a correlation between low qualifications and having children at a lower age, I would hope that the issues underlying this would be the first to be addressed. The fact that women in particular seem to start losing ground professionally the instant they have children is the thing that to my mind needs to be addressed. Equality in education and access to it is well underway (although aspiration is often the problem in the UK for young people of both sexes), so I view the child bearing factor as being the most significant.

The fact is that childcare for example is unaffordable for many lower-paid women, leaving them a hobson's choice of working for nothing or less than nothing, or staying at home to bring up their own children (potentially whilst working graveyard shifts in some appallingly paid place and roping relatives in tp cover any childcare gaps), while better paid women are able to access high quality childcare flexible that they trust to do a good job for their children.

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