Saturday, 27 December 2008


It doesn't pay to be female, even in the Public Service.


Cactus Kate said...

You mean after 9 (nine) years of the Sisterhood running the Public Service down there in Wellington, they didn't improve the lot of women working in it?


{Excluding feathering their own nests with much larger payrises I imagine...}

Anna said...

I've no idea what the last nine years of the so-called sisterhood have done for pay equity, but at least they've provided Paid Parental Leave.

The salaries of some top public servants are obscenely large, but this was consciously introduced by the Nats in the 90s as part of the ongoing reformulation of the public service in the image of the private sector. That's not, of course, a good reason for continuing it.

Cactus Kate said...

Oh goody paid parental leave.....yes, the answer to everything, keep women out of the workforce even longer so men can surge ahead in their absence.......

And Anna you can't blame National for anything after 9 (nine) years of Labour. They had time to change things. Didn't.

Anna said...

Quite right, you can't let Labour off the hook indefinitely for failing to remedy the Nats' fuck ups.

I'm guessing you've not been in the position of going back to work three weeks after childbirth with a lacerated vagina, painfully swollen boobs and and no sleep. When you've done this, you tend to view Paid Parental Leave differently.

Are you suggesting that policy settings should seek to push women back to work as soon as possible for our own good?

Random Lurker said...

From The Economist magazine:

A classic example is income. Women earn less than men. Or do they? In fact, younger women do not, or not much. A recent report by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a British think-tank, found that British women aged between 22 and 29 who were in full-time employment earned only 1% less than their male counterparts. This age group corresponds for many women to the period when they are single. Once they have found the best available mate, the calculation changes: a woman no longer needs to show off.

In that context, it is less of a surprise that older women are out-earned by their male contemporaries. One reason is that they now care less about the size of their earnings. Of the top 25 ideal employers, as chosen by women, the IEA found that 12 were in the public or voluntary sectors—areas where salaries for equivalent work tend to be lower than in the private sector, though job security is higher and job satisfaction is often believed to be greater. For men, only four employers were in this category. The other reason, of course, is that women usually look after the children. Indeed, the study by Dr Nettle and Dr Pollet which found that reproductive success correlates with men’s income, also points out that with women the correlation is inverted. But the IEA study also found that it is women themselves who are taking the decisions about child care. It reports that two-thirds of the women who had not already had a “career break”, as it is euphemistically known, planned to take one at some point in the future. Less than an eighth of men had similar aspirations. That, too, would be predicted by a Darwinist.

Although there is a strong argument for making working conditions more sympathetic to the needs of parents of both sexes, the underlying point is that many women—and certainly many women with children—do not care as much about striving ahead in their careers as men do. Men, the report found, are more motivated by pay and less by job satisfaction than women are. If managers, they are more likely to work long hours. They also take more risks—or, at least, are more frequently injured at work.

The consequence, as Len Shackleton, the IEA report’s main author, puts it, is that: “The widespread belief that the gender pay gap is a reflection of deep-rooted discrimination by employers is ill-informed and an unhelpful contribution to the debate. The pay gap is falling but is also a reflection of individuals’ lifestyle preferences. Government can’t regulate or legislate these away, and shouldn’t try to.” He failed to add, however, that these preferences are often the result of biological differences between the sexes.

Anna said...

Is that supposed to be satirical?