Advanced search

To ask HOW the govt can justify discrimination against women and lone parents in 2016?

(48 Posts)
austounding Fri 01-Apr-16 00:25:03

Extract from the new equalities assessment for the proposed doctors contract. It's all over my facebook as I have a lot of doctor school-friends. I normally don't engage much, but can't quite believe what the government have written here.

(tried to attach screengrab - hope it's worked....)

How in 2016 is this acceptable? confused

(Disclaimer: I know, I know I risk starting a major bunfight by posting about the NHS... but my focus here is on what the govt has said about LPs and women in the workplace, as I think this is a worrying sign of how they view us generally).

RudeElf Fri 01-Apr-16 00:30:24

I struggle with the waffly lingo but the gist i took from it is that "yeah, women and LPs (mainly women) will suffer but we have to save the money somewhere!"

Is that right?

austounding Fri 01-Apr-16 00:34:00

Yeah exactly RudeElf

The bit I was particularly shocked by was that last bit about LPs.

That bit goes on to say:

Whilst this may disadvantage lone parents (who are disproportionately female) due to the increased cost of paid childcare in the evenings and weekend, in some cases this may actually benefit other women, for example where individuals have partners, it may be easier to make informal, unpaid childcare arrangements in the evenings and weekends than it is during the week due to the increased availability of partners and wider family networks at weekends and in the evenings.

So it's ok to screw lone parents because women in stable relationships with supportive families may benefit?! shock

ElderlyKoreanLady Fri 01-Apr-16 00:40:16

Sadly I'm not in the least surprised. It's become very difficult to dismiss sexism nowadays. 'Justifying' it is the next tactic.

VertigoNun Fri 01-Apr-16 00:42:20

angry do you have a link?

cannotlogin Fri 01-Apr-16 00:43:29


austounding Fri 01-Apr-16 00:52:32

To be fair I haven't read the link VertigoNun beyond to verify that this screengrab on my news feed was accurate, but it is here

Sorry for the sighs cannotlogin I know it's a tired topic and it's not one I normally engage with. But (perhaps naively) I don't think anyone would ever say this about ethnic minorities or LGBTs for example... how can they say it about women? Maybe I should be more cynical and less shocked.

Itinerary Fri 01-Apr-16 01:08:11

Firstly, I have no expertise in law or medicine, so hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong about any of this!

To me, it sounds like they're covering themselves, against people complaining that it is indirect sex discrimination.

From what I can gather, the law says that employers may defend what could be indirect discrimination, by evidencing that the policy, criterion or practice is a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".

From what I've read in the past few minutes, it would seem this comes from the Equality Act 2010.

I don't know how an individual or group would challenge this. AFAIK people can take their employer to a tribunal, but it looks like these are organised by the Ministry of Justice which is a government department, so perhaps that doesn't work if the government is also the employer!

Is there perhaps an EU law which would override this conundrum? Or could a petition be formed to get enough signatures so it had to be debated in parliament?

caroldecker Fri 01-Apr-16 01:10:26

If you read para 14, the current structure of pay increasing due to time served is unfair to women because they take time off for maternity.

The truth is that whilst women take more time off for maternity leave, take more responsibility for childcare and, if separated, are more likely to be the resident parent, then any pay scheme, whether based on hours worked, seniority or skills learnt is de facto leading to women earning less on average. All this assessment is doing is acknowledging that women on average earn less today because of the up mentioned time out of work and will continue to do so.

However, like any ethnic minority or LGBT, a woman with no children or a SAHD will not be disadvantaged by this payment policy.

Please come up with a policy that pays people who have spent more time off work and need more flexibility equally.

Itinerary Fri 01-Apr-16 01:16:26

Looks like they're applying the same "logic" to doctors with disability as well.

Paragraph 87 contains the following:

"We consider (and assume for the purposes of this analysis) that a disproportionate number of Doctors with disability will work part time. Insofar as issues arise in connection with part-time status, the analysis above in respect of ‘sex’ applies mutatis mutandis."

austounding Fri 01-Apr-16 01:24:26

I see what you are saying carol
I don't know the ins and outs of the contract and I agree that people who take time off work and need more flexibility tend to be disadvantaged in the workforce generally.
But I thought the point of our equalities legislation is to try and reduce this, and acknowledge that it is not desirable?

The para 14 you mention seems to say "X was unfair because it disadvantaged women, so we're cancelling that." And the bit I posted says "Y is unfair to women and particularly lone parents, but hey, it's a valid means to achieve our goals." Seems like they are using "equality" when it suits them a bit.

Itinerary ah, it is legal arse covering then? Hmmmm.

missingmumxox Fri 01-Apr-16 01:27:40

You might also ask what the gender split is for junior Doctors because last I looked more women than men where training to be doctors... Not by much but more none the less.

austounding Fri 01-Apr-16 01:28:18

It just all seems a convenient way to, ask EKL said (I've always loved your username btw) "justify" discrimination.

Between this and the Trump abortion thread, I'm feeling a bit disheartened in our lords and masters tonight.

cannotlogin Fri 01-Apr-16 06:33:25

No,no. I was sighing because it's just so fucking predictable, deeply depressing and just.....arrggghhhh.

caroldecker Fri 01-Apr-16 10:22:44

Basically the old policy gave pay increases based on time served, whilst the new is based on skills gained. This is, IMO, a valid change.
However, both systems will mean that if 2 people start at the same time and learn at the same rate, but one takes career breaks and/or works part time, after 10 years the full time worker without career breaks will earn more than the other. It is assumed that the part-time/career break person is more likely to be a woman and/or disabled. Therefore, on average, women in this profession will earn less than men.
If, however, a couple use the shared maternity leave rules and share child care equally, there is no need for the woman to be disadvantaged

Stillwishihadabs Fri 01-Apr-16 12:14:02

Agree Carol and in reality that is what a lot of double doctor couples do.

southlondonluxe Fri 01-Apr-16 12:17:40

Apologies caroldecker but you are missing some key points. They are saying that female doctors should be scheduled to work more evenings and weekends so they can use their partner as informal childcare to "save money". Whilst also working erratic and unpredictable days, meaning that you still need to have full time weekday childcare in place anyway.
Plus if the woman works part time then their hourly rate for any work done is less than their full time colleagues, **even though they are doing exact same job.
Ridiculously sexist and anti family. Also applies to those with disabilities etc
Can't see many relationships / family units surviving very long or very healthily if partner is expected to work full day job then do 100% evening and weekend childcare. When do you actually spend time together??
It is also not fixed antisocial hours (ie different every week so can't make regular arrangements). It's not negotiable and it's not something you can opt out of
Happy days divorce lawyers

Andrewofgg Fri 01-Apr-16 15:04:36

Have I got this right? The NHS is assuming that if I am the OH (of either gender) of a junior doctor (of either gender) with young children I am available to provide "informal" childcare?

Holy shit. When it's six p.m. in London it's 1956 in NHS HQ!

LivingInMidnight Fri 01-Apr-16 15:09:58

God they love the word 'proportionality' in the government.

olympicsrock Fri 01-Apr-16 15:10:13

It is horrific. As a doctor with no family locally we struggle to manage childcare when I work unsociable hours. Nights are particularly difficult as dh also works long hours. He leaves home at 6 45 am normally . This contact would need a partner with a 9 to 5 job to benefit from this. I suspect most female doctors also have a husband with a career.

Twinklestein Fri 01-Apr-16 16:48:48

Have I got this right? The NHS is assuming that if I am the OH (of either gender) of a junior doctor (of either gender) with young children I am available to provide "informal" childcare?

I don't think it's the NHS that's assuming this, it's the Tory government.

herecomesthsun Fri 01-Apr-16 17:13:41

What happens to families where both parents are doctors working shifts???

thatsn0tmyname Fri 01-Apr-16 17:15:56

Is it anApril Fool?

caroldecker Fri 01-Apr-16 17:17:08

Plus if the woman works part time then their hourly rate for any work done is less than their full time colleagues, **even though they are doing exact same job.
Not sure where it said this?

The full comment on informal childcare was:

we consider that whilst it is possible that increased rostering of staff in evenings and weekends (as opposed to during day time in the week) may improve conditions for many Doctors working part-time because they may be able to arrange cheaper and more informal childcare arrangements in the evenings and at weekends if they have family support; equally in some circumstances it may impact on those with childcare responsibilities who do not have such opportunities, given the higher cost of childcare at those times, and that they may be disproportionately women.

austounding Fri 01-Apr-16 17:25:02

missing A quick google puts it at about 60% women. So it's not like this is a small hiccup affecting a few people who have to be "collateral damage" for the greater good...

Olympic yes, it seems tough on anyone who isn't lucky enough to have either:
1. a SAHP
2. grandparents on tap
3. loads of cash for round the clock standby childcare

In fairness perhaps the Tories can't imagine people who might not have all these things

Itinerary I've actually just emailed my MP. Can't imagine this "collateral damage" excuse for discrimination on such a large scale will stop with doctors... the rest of the public sector will be fair game next. Seems like a big step back for equality.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now