Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hell, I'll Take It!

Harriet Harman is putting together a new equality bill which seems to me to have been specifically designed to have as little actual impact as possible while winding up the anti-equality lobby as much as she can. The plans are for a new equality bill which would mean that employers in the public (but not private) sector must publish data on their gender pay gap and will allow employers to hire a woman or ethnic minority candidate in a circumstance where two candidates are equally qualified. Of course I don't really understand the term "equally qualified". Surely no two candidates are equally qualified - there is always a difference.

And unfortunately by putting that clause in it has given the tabloids the chance to have a field day. The Daily Express ran with "White Men Face Jobs Ban" which is just literally a lie.

What it's going to do for the most part is (a) stir up hate (although honestly I think the haters are quite capable of hating us whatever we do!) and (b) create a new industry of specialist consultants available to massage gender pay data and make your public sector organisation look like they're not as discriminatory as they really are. What would work much better is to bring in compulsory internal pay, recruitment and promotion audits with feedback and recommendation followed by fines for companies and public bodies (above a threshold size) who fail to make changes fast enough. And an independent board set up to seek out and punish discriminatory practices throughout public and private sectors where employees do not wish to run a full court case but where distinct improvements can be made.

Essentially the existing law should provide all the protection from discrimination that women need - but sadly efforts to enforce it are minimal. What we need is not so much new laws, but the existing ones actually adhered to.

But hell, at least it's something, a step in the right direction. It certainly won't do any harm and there are bound to be cases where it does some good. And when I hear the Daily Express quoting her opponents saying Ms Harman "must be the most politically correct MP" I think she must be doing something right.


Jackart said...

I've met feminists who don't go round demanding that men get discrimination imposed by law. They take the view that two wrongs don't make a right. I don't like discrimination against anyone either.

Discrimination is Discrimination. Harperson, and for that matter you, are no different from the racists and chauvinists which exist mainly in your fevered imagination.

pagar said...

Let’s just cut through this PC gender equality bullshit.

It is my observation, and I believe everybody knows it deep down, that statistically men and women workers do not provide equal value to employers. The simple fact that they are of different genders means they are not the same.

Women tend to have children. They usually have larger breasts. They tend to talk more. They have periods. They tend to be less aggressive. They have higher rates of absence from work through sickness. They do not have balls. In my experience, they tend to be more empathetic and intuitive. We are told they are better at multi-tasking. The fact is that the fact of their gender tends to contribute to their abilities.

Many of the above are generalisations and all selection should of course be on the basis of the particular skills of the individual candidate but to allege that men and women workers are the same and have equal value to employers is patently untrue.

To insist that companies be compelled to treat them is if they have the same value is the worst kind of state interference in the market.

Cruella said...

But you totally miss the point - men tend to be taller than women. But that doesn't mean if you need a job done that requires a tall person you should hire only men - you should simply hire only people who are tall enough.

The pay gap in this country is not calculated by looking at the differential between what the average man earns and what the average woman earns - it's the difference in pay for work OF EQUAL VALUE. To insist that companies check to see if they are rewards equally work of equal value is surely the least we can do to make our society fairer.

And Jackass - again - I'm not demanding discrimination against men - I'm demanding that something is done to combat discrimination against women - how can auditing firms for pay equality possibly be discrimination against men.