Category Archives: feminism

Football has balls, you know

Have just seen the Sky/female linesman story and yelled at my TV. Now, I know that this is football, where men are men (once summed up by someone as 22 sperm chasing one egg) but this, this my friends, is the tip of the fucking misogynist iceberg. This is only being an issue because it’s taped and so blatant, it couldn’t be ignored. Commenting on her appearance and thinking she won’t know the rules and be bad at her job happens all the fucking time, from government (hey, journalists that mention when female MPs wear a bright colour and that coined the term ‘Blair Babes’) to the City, where several women I know have suffered sexual harassment and daily comments on their breasts.

I just want to point out that I, who works communications, know the fucking offside rule: you are offside if there is not a defender (besides the goalie) between a player and the goal when the ball is played forward in the opposition’s half.

I also want to point out that the Sky commentators are cunts.


How many women have you got? Oh, one more needed.

Quotas. Listening to Women’s Hour (right this very minute in fact) I’m suddenly shocked into wakefulness by instinctively yelling an answer to the question ‘12.5% of board members are women in the FTSE100 – do we need quotas to change this?’

‘No!’ I screeched, ‘Next?!’ What a stupid frikkin’ question. Quotas, for all good they do in education where they ensure that posh places take on people outside of Eton, are death when it comes to female credibility in business.

‘Suzy?’ they’ll say to their mates down the pub, ‘Yeah, Suzy’s been promoted to the board instead of Glenn. Well, I’m sure she’s fine, but she only got the job because we needed one more woman. We’ll have to keep an eye on her to make sure she doean’t balls things up because she has no balls.’

Do you really want to be Suzy in this equation? Undermined, no matter how good you are, because of government-imposed quotas? Even if you get your job on merit, they’ll always be a whisper, a rumour, sometimes an open sneer that you were only appointed to make up the numbers. How the hell does this do us any good in the business world?

And don’t get me started on the women who was claiming that the financial world is addressing the gender issue behind closed doors. By giving women ‘Leadership Courses’. I absolutely reject the idea that women are not being promoted in the financial world and elsewhere because they don’t know how to lead.

Why the fuck aren’t these women on the ‘normal’ leadership courses anyway? Why are they being excluded? How about some fucking ‘women are just as good as men’ courses for senior managers and other managers? Or some ‘flexible working is not a crime’ courses? I think both of those would do more to change the number of women promoted more than telling women how to lead in a separate course from men.

Utter bullshit. But at least it woke me up.

I don’t give a damn

The lovely lads and lasses at Bad Reputation have allowed me to rent space at their wonderful blog. Go read my article and then read all the others – highly thought provoking and entertaining feminism and pop culture opinions to be found.

All fair for the fairer sex?

Today we have learnt that female unemployment is at its highest rate since the recession began in 2008. This is to do with the fact that women make up the majority of the public sector and that it’s been the only sector to demonstrate an increase in redundancies in the last quarter.

So what happened to these cuts being fair, Mr. Osborne? I’m not even talking about the fairness between classes and between wealth boundaries, I’m talking the fairness between men and women, the fairness of being laid off simply because you work in a, say, caring role as a social worker or nurse or teacher. Where’s the fairness in losing your job because you wanted to help people? It’s already ludicrous that we pay these people so little and bankers so much when I would have thought that teaching your children, looking after them, coaching them, would be worth a whole lot more than £24,000 a year.

Anyway, this has made me mad. We’re bearing the brunt of these redundancies, and I do not want to go back to a time when women in the workplace was a rarity because their place was at the kitchen sink.

No pay ’til Xmas

Today is the last day women get paid for the year.

When you look at the gender disparity in salary, it is the equivalent to women working the rest of the year for free – that’s 59 days of free labour – as on average, women get paid 16.4% less an hour than men. This rises to a huge 55% less a year in the financial sector. Another scary stat from 2009? While 9 out of 10 single parents are women, they get paid just 56% of what single fathers get paid.

Equal pay doesn’t just affect women, it affects families. It doesn’t just affect your wallets, it affects self-esteem. Paying someone less for an equivalent job shows that you think they are worth less – and in this case, it’s because you don’t have a penis and any attributes that apparently that appendage brings.

Well, I say bollocks to that (pun intended). I deserve to be paid as much as a man if I do the same job just as well. And anyone who says differently is an antiquated idiot.

Sign the Fawcett Society’s petition here. Learn more about Equal Pay Day here.

Women in employment: EHRC report

Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published their first three year report on the ‘fairness’ of British society. It looked at various demographics and minorities and there are some surprising and some sad facts that have come out of it. You can read all the data here, but I of course am going to concentrate on two things: women and employment.

Some fun facts:

  • The number of women in employment increased by twice the average between 2006-2008
  • More women than ever are now in managerial positions – 1 in 3 managerial roles is taken by a woman
  • 40% of women in employment work in the public sector, making them particularly vulnerable to the recession (compared to 15% of men)
  • At age 40, men earn 27% more than women
  • The pay gap has stalled after declining for 30 years
  • Women in their 20s get paid 5% less than men
  • Women occupy 77% of administration and secretarial posts but only 6% of engineering
  • Women out-perform men at every level of education, including degrees, and tend to have better qualifications than men
  • Women are significantly more likely to be in part-time
    employment than men (43%) and the biggest rise comes from those over 50 going back to work
  • Women are less likely to be self-employed (5% v 14%)
  • On average a part-time female worker will earn 39.4% less than a full-time man, although a woman working part-time earned 1.9% more than a man working part-time
  • Women’s pay peaks at age 35-39
  • Gender differences in career expectations explain only 12% of the pay gap as men and women expect women to shoulder childcare (and elderly care) during their career
  • Women with a degree are far less likely to lose out on pay due to motherhood compared to women with non-university qualifications or no degree (4%/25%/58% in loss of earnings)

It’s got a few contradictions: women peak in terms of earnings at the time when many are leaving employment to have children, women with degrees only lose 4% of earnings yet are still earning 27% less than men. I’m sure that there are those who will point out the good: the pay gap was declining (WAS declining, thanks), part-time women earn more (yeah 1.9% is a massive amount compared to 27%) and more women found employment over three years than most men (apart from black men). But really, if this report doesn’t make you go ‘oh, it seems being a woman means you get paid less and are promoted less than men are and that’s unfair’ then you, yes you, are a misogynist pig.

From this report, I take a main conclusion: women are better qualified yet enter the world of work already on an inferior level of pay, parenthood has a lesser effect on women’s earnings than many would have us believe (accounting for the other 15% in the pay gap boils down to being paid less because we have ovaries, not because we’ve used them), and women are going to lose out massively in the coming cuts due to being in the public sector, within ‘support services’ such as Administration and working part-time.

So basically, this sucks and is unfair and discrimination is alive and well in 2010 against a group of people who aren’t even a minority and who have better qualifications. Anyone else feel like reclaiming the women ‘feminism’ and protesting for equal pay? Because I sure as hell do.

Full report of employment is here.

Women and inequality

I’m reading The Equality Illusion by Kat Banyard and not only is it wonderfully written, it’s also chock full of (excuse my French) fucking scary facts.

Like a girl in South Africa today is most likely to get raped than learn how to read.

Like two-thirds of the world’s work is done by women but they own 1% of the means of production and 10% of the world’s income.

Like it will take, judging by the current rate, 200 years for women to achieve equality in the UK Parliament.

Like women are more likely to be affected by natural disasters than men, due to clothes, entrenched poverty and societal customs.

Like 70% of those living in poverty on under $1 a day are women.

Like in the UK, women earn 73p to every £1 that a man makes – and the gap is widening.

Like two-thirds of the illiterate population are women.

Not only does this freak me out, like it should freak anyone reading this out (and I hope it does), but it also massively saddens me because of the way these facts are all connected.

If women are not taught to read, this enables men and governments to exploit them because they can’t get the information that they are not being treated fairly. If they can’t read, they are unlikely to get a higher paying job. If they are exploited, they will be kept in ignorance and not enticed to break free. If they can’t get a high paying job, they will be kept in poverty. If they are paid a lesser wage than men, then society is tacitly saying that women are worth less than men, that not only the work they do but also themselves as humans are worth less than men, and so are more likely to be victims of sexual harassment and rape and more likely to not be seen, paid or treated as equals.

This is not just happening in the third world. This is not just happening far away where you can ignore it. This is not just a remnant of the past. This is happening right here, right now, to you, to your mother, to your sister, to your wife or girlfriend or your daughter.

So do what you can. FOI your employers for gender pay data. If you have access, look at how your company recompenses women and men doing the same job. Check to see how many women have been denied the right to work flexibly or at reduced hours. If you’ve been harassed, report it. If you’ve been raped, go to the police. If you see someone treating a women unkindly or disgustingly, say something.

Stand up. Stand tall. And do something.