Monday, 16 March 2009

Pay-ja vu?

Like their kiwi counterparts, British women are being told that pay equity must be postponed because of the recession. Still worse, it's the body set up to achieve pay equity in Britain - the Equalities and Human Rights Commission - which is selling UK women down the river.

The EHRC has backtracked on rather feeble plans to require employers to examine their pay equity practices. Instead, it is recommending that employers be 'encouraged' to 'voluntarily' end pay discrimination, despite this tactic having consistently failed throughout the history of modern capitalism. Apparently, when women find out they're being paid less than their male counterparts, they tend to get annoyed and lay complaints. And that's inconvenient.

Perhaps this is a universal political phenomenon. When the economy's going well, pay equity receives little attention. When the economy goes belly-up, pay equity becomes a luxury that must postponed until better times, when it can once again be safely ignored. Meanwhile, women who work for less than they're worth actually subsidise their employers and the economy more broadly, in both good economic times and bad.

But don't feel discouraged, ladies of Britain - the EHRC does recommend "radical reform in the future". And when will this future arrive? If left to the EHRC, I reckon half-past never.

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