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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

Women's fault they're paid less - yawn, but please share my irritation

31 replies

sethstarkaddersmummyreturns · 13/10/2010 17:53

....with this badly researched article: here

it is yet another of those ones where someone says, as if they've made a great discovery, that women earn less because we don't negotiate properly.

whereas if she knew what she was talking about she would know that there is research which shows that it generally just doesn't work (there are refs in the Cordelia Fine book if anyone's interested) because men generally respond badly to women behaving like men.

it's just another bloody example of women being blamed for other people's sexism Angry

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ISNT · 13/10/2010 18:11

I don't know where to start with that article. All this talk of women making "choices" when a lot of the time they aren't real choices at all.

What stood out was this statement:

"These days, it can be an advantage to be a woman ? it is a no-no for a big company to have an all-male board, for example. "

So on a board of ten, it looks bad if all of them are men. If one out of ten is female, presumably, it is fine. In which case, isn't it a big advantage to be a man? Confused

sethstarkaddersmummyreturns · 13/10/2010 18:14

It is good to hear that it is a big no-no as well! So I guess that there are no all-male boards out there then!

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ISNT · 13/10/2010 18:23

What annoys me about this stuff is it's so insidous. So say that women were paid less because they never asked for more money (I thought that was the case until recently).

Why do they never ask for more money? Because women are socialised to undervalue themselves. So is it women's fault? No, it's society's fault.

But then you get tory types / xenia saying but yes women could get more, all they need to do is ask, therefore it's their own fault and legislation / change is unnecessary. That if women aren't asking then they obviously don't want more money. Then you get someone rocking up with the claim that women aren't driven by money anyway, they are more interested in other types of reward (pat on the head and some chocolate) and so everything is fine...

marenmj · 13/10/2010 19:45

This drives me batty. My DH has me 'run' every job negotiation he has come up against in the years we have been together. If I say "go back and ask for 30K more" he does, and generally speaking he gets it (because I am very good, natch Wink).

When I go to my (ex)employer and ask for a salary raise/promotion I am promised that it is in the works until I give up after three years and go somewhere else.

My biggest problem with this assumption is that it assumes women aren't asking for pay rises, when lots of us are. We just aren't given them because we "aren't 'team' players" (can't work all the hours of the day and night) or "have to bring our skills up to speed" because we've been on maternity leave, despite maintaining said skills while out of the office.

I was flat out told I couldn't have a promotion because my skills just weren't where they needed to be, but as a consolation prize they offered to let me do the job on an 'acting' basis just without giving me the pay rise or the title (prestige) associated with it and refused to give me a hard date for getting the role if I did it for a certain amount of time Hmm

dittany · 13/10/2010 20:55

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sakura · 14/10/2010 09:35

In a fair world, it wouldn't matter if you pestered the boss for money or not (which is apparently the problem here Hmm )
Men and women would be rewarded and given pay rises based on their competence and merit.

The problem is, whatever women do is undervalued, but if men complete exactly the same task it has the added bonus of male value attached to it.

BlingLoving · 14/10/2010 09:41

The secret of negotiation is the willingness to walk away if you don't get what you want. And for most women, that option isn't so clear cut. If we have children and a job where we get some flexibility, there's the fear that a new job won't offer the same benefits. Or our incoe is needed and we know that finding a new job isn't as easy. Or we want to get pregnant and know we will lose our benefits if we go somewhere else...

Lots of women ask. We just don't get because we don't have the ability to walk away that men do.

sethstarkaddersmummyreturns · 14/10/2010 13:32

OMFG @ this

bastards. f*cking misogynist bastards.

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ISNT · 14/10/2010 13:33

I'm not sure that's right bling. Most families still have a traditional set-up with the male income being the main one or at least essential to the household as part of a dual income. I'm not sure at all that once men have had families they have as much option of walking away, as younger single/no kids people with less responsibility of either sex. I do agree that they don't need to look for things like part-time as much as many women though, that is true.

BlingLoving · 14/10/2010 15:28

ISNT - a lot of it is in our heads, that's true. But men assume they will get another job, with the same pay and benefits as currently if they walk away. Women don't. Perhaps because we do tend to value different things - pleasant working environment, flexible time to look after family etc. Or perhaps because experience has taught men that they are more likely to get a job than a woman of similar age, expereince and skills....

There is no doubt in my mind that for whatever reason, when negotiating, men tend to have the willingness to walk away, and women don't.

AliceWorld · 14/10/2010 15:50

This reminds me of privilege stuff - as a man you know that it is unlikely that an employer will discriminate against you on the grounds of your gender. As a woman you don't. And also as a father you know that it is unlikely that an employer will discriminate against you on the grounds of having children. As a mother you don't. So I can see that makes it harder to walk away and look for another job if you're putting up with some stuff but they are OK about some stuff. You could end up somewhere where they are bad about it all.

RibenaBerry · 14/10/2010 15:55

Women choose to work in low paid sectors [hhm]. Words fail me at the lack of understanding of issues of gender pay difference.

There is also intersting stuff in the Equality Illusion about the penalties involved in asking for payrises if you are female. You are seen as pushy and not a team player. Thus it's not even that women are asked and turned down. They, quite rightly, assess a likely penalty from simply asking and choose not to.

RibenaBerry · 14/10/2010 15:56

Should have been Hmm obviously!

sethstarkaddersmummyreturns · 14/10/2010 16:02

One of the (many) irritating things about the article is that because she grudgingly admits that it is not all women's fault, some of the readers obviously have her down as a radical feminist so they complain about her stereotyping men and generalising about them.

So once again, feminism will get blamed for bitching about men when it is someone who seems pretty anti-feminist to me who is doing it.

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WhatWillSantaBring · 14/10/2010 16:13

There is possibly one slight argument that I see in support of this article (WWSB ducks as she says this).

When I worked in the city (in a very male dominated industry, albeit with a female head of department and about a 50:50 split) I saw men go in to make pay rise demands several times, with so much bravado, and they got it. I never, ever saw any of my female colleagues make the same demands.

So I think there is a point hidden in all the cr@p that is written in that telegraph article, but it is so perjorative to use words like "fault" to describe the above situation, as there are many other factors involved. One of the most ballsy examples of a pay rise (and very rapid promotion after 3 years instead of the usual 8-10 years) was by a guy who was very pally pally with a senior exec because they could bond over rugby, leering at girls and ales.

Incidentally, I was forced into resigning by the FEMALE head of department because they didn't see how I could combine my career with that of my husbands.

sethstarkaddersmummyreturns · 14/10/2010 16:34

no but that is the whole point WhatWillSantaBring.

Women are less likely to ask for pay rises, I am sure what you describe having seen is fairly typical. But the article is assuming that if they simply asked they would get. What the research cited in the various books mentioned here suggests is that women are not asking because they are likely to pay a penalty for asking - not only will they not get the rise they ask for, they will be regarded less favourably.

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marenmj · 14/10/2010 18:34

Yes, seth, it's one of those things that sends me into a perpetual state of Hmm

Supposedly women have a thicker cerebral cortex than men and therefore are better at reading others' emotions/non-verbal cues. They say this is what accounts for "women's intuition" and supposedly makes women better communicators.

However, folks are surprised when women read a situation (usually correctly) and conclude that there will be a perjorative consequence for doing something, assess the risk of it, and decide not to do it. When women say "I am judged for doing x" (working outside the home, asking for a pay rise, letting housework slip, etc) they are frequently told that they are imaging it. Some man always says "well, no one ever told you that you can't ask for a promotion!"

It never occurs to them that perhaps the women might be picking up on it better than he is because of these biological differences that they like to trot out whenever they talk about why women are in overrepresented in "carer" type roles.

It also pisses me off that there is this assumption that women don't go through a risk-assessment process before they decide to do/not do something - and that if women in general are not doing something en masse clearly it's because it seems a logical action to them. It's a spinoff of that utterly maddening "women are emotional creatures and can't reason" trope.

I am very poorly making my point, but I hope you understand.

EvilAntsAndMiasmas · 14/10/2010 19:54

Don't forget women are emotional creatures who can't reason, but somehow it's men who are so in thrall to their hormone levels that testosterone itself bears the blame for every assault/rape/murder that happens. (According to some)

sethstarkaddersmummyreturns · 14/10/2010 20:17

I think you made the point brilliantly Marenmj.
The Cordelia Fine book I mentioned starts off by taking the piss out of popular 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus' type books including one that goes on about the amazing ability a woman supposedly has to know what her husband is thinking about even before he knows himself. And yet women supposedly imagine criticism....
....This is ringing a particular bell with me because I always felt like my boss found me physically repulsive when I was pg but I told myself I was just imagining it but then the way he behaved at the end of my pregnancy made me think I might just have been right.
Should have had more faith in my thick cerebral cortex, eh?!

btw re the cerebral cortex, I don't know if you knew this, but apparently all smaller brains have thicker cerebral cortexes - so a bloke with a small head will have one as well Grin. Fine reckons the observed differences between male and female brains are accounted for simply by the average difference in size between men and women.

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sethstarkaddersmummyreturns · 14/10/2010 20:20

btw (gets all girly) that wedding dress on your profile is the most gorgeous one I have ever seen - wow!

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Sakura · 15/10/2010 01:43

ooh, had to go and have a look at marenmj's wedding dress.
IT's very romantic and wistful, beautiful

EvilAntsAndMiasmas · 15/10/2010 01:52

Call this the feminism section? :o


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Sakura · 15/10/2010 02:03
Ryuk · 15/10/2010 02:04

I was told by an ftm (female to male) recently that back when they were interpreted as female, when they made a statement to a man, he'd tend to try to counter-argue it or expect some kind of justification. Now they've had the hormone treatment and are interpreted as male, statements tend to get swallowed whole by other men.

Obviously that's only one person's comparative experience, but if it actually is common male behaviour to challenge ideas from other males less often, I can see how asking for a pay rise would be better recieved from a male employee than a female one.

tortoiseonthepumpkinshell · 15/10/2010 04:57

Brilliant point well made, marenmj. I enjoy those neat examples of misogynist illogic, thanks for another to trot out.

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