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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Gender Pay Gap due to women's choices

62 replies

notjustapotforsoup · 19/12/2010 23:22

it seems. Hmmm.....

I'll give an advisory note on the comments section, as usual.

OP posts:
tribpot · 21/12/2010 22:54

Commander, 'choose' is a big word. And I think that is my theme - did I 'choose' a partner who will probably never work again? Yes, I did! I'm not sure I really understood that point at the time, but I actually did. Now I work full time because I have to. When I use the word choice I don't mean from a menu of everything, I mean to signify that from the things I can do, I do this.

anastaisia · 22/12/2010 09:29

Doesn't the Swedish system also allow the leave to be spread over time? So you don't have to take it all in a lump with the baby, but could return to work at (eg) 6 months, but with each parent only working 3 day weeks?

That would have a huge impact on everyone finding a better work/family balance IMO; very different thing to do that than to take a full chunk of time out of work. And here you 'loose' your mat leave if you do more than keeping in touch days.

Far better for employers too.

Trib, I know single parents get all the leave/pay. Maybe carers do to?

If you're writing to any MPs then its worth remembering that they've already started to look into how to share parental leave differently.

Cameron wants companies to only have to publish pay scales if the company is found guilty of discrimination rather than as standard - so maybe letters to your own MPs asking that they raise this?

ISNT · 22/12/2010 10:19

Envy I want to live in sweden!

anastaisia · 22/12/2010 11:07

I don't, they have good things - but they have their bad points too - like home education was made illegal not long ago :(

LadyBlaBlah · 22/12/2010 11:19

It is the 'free choice' bit that gets me everytime about this topic.

There is an assumption that if a woman has 'given up' work on having a family then she has made a 'free choice'

What she has made is a choice based on the very few choices she has..............due to the lack of suitable childcare, lack of shared parental responsibility, discrimination in the workplace etc.

It infuriates me to the point of combustion, and even more so when women agree with the viewpoint - like at the beginning of this thread.

vesuvia · 22/12/2010 16:19

msrisotto wrote - "I read Scallops comment about how many male CEOs had children to illustrate how having children doesn't hamper the success of male business people but it does female. I don't have stats to back this up but i reckon it's be a reliable bet that more males in senior positions had children compared to the women."

Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) said on the video linked to in the TED talk "Why we have too few women leaders?" thread:

"A recent study in the US showed that of senior managers, of married senior managers, two thirds of the married men had children and only one third of the married women had children."

(msrisotto, I know you have already found the video and responded on that other thread but I thought it was worth mentioning here too.)

msrisotto · 22/12/2010 19:34

Yeah no great thinking to put it here, I love being proved right :)

tribpot · 22/12/2010 20:09

LadyBlaBlah - and equally how many men have 'chosen' to work full-time because there are no more flexible options to allow them to meet the needs of their family and career. These are not free choices.

It's vital we move this past being a women's issue (which is not to say it is not a feminist issue, an entirely other thing). Childcare and earning are joint responsibilities to enable a family to live. As I said in my previous post, if the gender pay gap is caused by more flexible working arrangements for women, clearly the answer is more flexible working arrangements for men? Bish bosh - no measurable gender pay gap surely?

anastaisia - didn't know that about home ed, will make some inquiries. Sweden definitely isn't utopia, they don't even have Cadbury's chocolate for starters Grin (well, they didn't where I lived before every Stockholmer weighs in and states it's available in every cornershop in their neighbourhood). But their parental leave policies are bang on in my view.

LadyBlaBlah · 22/12/2010 22:31

The problem with the What about the menz argument is that they are the ones who have the freedom to get the power and economic independence with the 'choices' they are presented. It is a women's issue. At the may be aided by the measures you talk of with flexible working for men too, but that doesn't mean it is a men's issue

tribpot · 22/12/2010 23:19

Lady - I quite agree. I'm not suggesting let's wring our hands for our poor oppressed brothers who go out to work 5 days a week. But we don't split maternity/paternity leave between parents, and it is still much more 'acceptable' for a woman to go part-time than a man. However, I'm not sure that actually it's more possible for a part-time worker, of either sex, to then go on to promotion? And clearly that is going to be more of a priority as the primary breadwinner than the secondary.

So, I guess two distinct threads: first ensuring part-time workers have the right opportunities and then making it possible for men to share in those.

Could they change it if they immediately wanted to? Probably, compared to us. But they still have an upward struggle to challenge the accepted norms.

ISNT · 23/12/2010 11:05

If 90% of the men in the UK decided tomorrow that employees should be automatically entitled to part time flexible work if they wanted it, and that it should not affect prospects, it would happen in a month.

If 90% of women decided that tomorrow, it wouldn't happen at all.

And that's the crux of the "choice" stuff, really.

foxinsocks · 23/12/2010 11:21

Yes but snowflake, children don't always know what's best for the family or for themselves. If they chose everything we ate, I suspect we'd all be less healthy than we are now!

I think this myth that senior women can't have families is a myth propagated by those who don't want senior women to succeed. It is just as much a problem for those at the other end of the payscale.

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