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December 30, 2005


Tim Worstall

I was hoping you’d write about this. I’ve been stumbling round the issue for a couple of days now.

One thing I did note is that the pay gap desn’t exist for those under 30 which might mean one of two things (or more, of course). That there was discrimination and now is not. Or that what discrimination we do see is closely tied in whith the birth and care of children.


"..should socialists really champion women's right to get top jobs?"

Assuming you're not been deliberately provocative, I would've thought so, yes. First, because when liberal democracy isn't able to secure the rights it promises, it has always been socialists and the left who've kicked it into doing so. It's at least part of what we're there for.

Second, because the relationship between gender discrimination and a hierarchy of pay and power is more complex than what you present above. Most radical feminist critiques of capitalist would indicate patriarchy as a form of oppression directed against women that simultaneously aids exploitation of the workforce in general. For example, systematic discrimination against women workers in general means that men in the same labour market can also be paid less than they would be otherwise. By attacking gender discrimination you can undermine exploitation more generally.


Women are less likely to commit serious crimes, less like to be sociopaths, and less likely to be in upper management. I'd like to be upper management myself, I'd like to make big decisions and be influential, but not if I have to be an asshole.

If I had to pick, I'd want men to be more like women rather than the other way around. Of course, neither will happen.


[However, men's average pay, more than women's, is inflated by the fact that a few people earn mega-money.]

I am not at all sure that the Equal Opportunities Commission would necessarily regard this as something irrelevant to equal opportunities which ought to be processed out of the figures?

Maynard Handley

[Or that what discrimination we do see is closely tied in whith the birth and care of children.]

Given that the #1 problem we are all now facing is overpopulation (and its concommitants like global warming and resource depletion), allow me to point out that this can be dealt with in two ways. One is the traditional make it easier for women to have children; the other is to say "tough, that's the price you pay for having children, and it ain't high enough". Needless to say, my vote is for the second option, along with doing a whole lot more to make that price higher.
External effects --- they're not just for greenhouse gases anymore.

Gorse Fox

Gorse Fox believes that gender* (race, religion**, or age) should not be an impediment to a job, assuming the candidate is the best person for that job. That should be true of top management positions, and shop floor positions.
However, he also looks back at the past few years of his experience and notes that the women of his acquaintance have considerably more absence from work than his male colleagues... he would love to see that factored in to the calculations.

* all right - surrogate mothers should be female
** and the Pope should be Catholic !


Gorse Fox may well be right in what he says, although I think he may have been listening to a few too many Bob Dole speeches!

Maternity leave of 9 months must be an impediment to promotion; it has to be something that factors into the equation, especially in small businesses. The government have realised this, of course, hence the introduction of paternity leave. My guess is that paternity leave will expand continuously whilst there is a Labour government...


Is interesting also the claim that it will take 200 years for women to gain equality with men - in politics. However, if say 80 per cent of applicants to be politicians are men, then equality should give us 80pc of politicians as men.

It also doesnt take many Roman Abramovich's, Mittal's etc to distort the earnings of men vs women.
What would happen if we ignored the unemployed and the top and bottom 10 per cent of income earners.. would the middle 80pc, the majority, be basically the same?

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