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The Forum > Article Comments > Fair work for fair wages for women > Comments

Fair work for fair wages for women : Comments

By Jocelynne Scutt, published 30/5/2011

Stereotypical notions such as Ďif a woman can do it, anyone caní, or Ďitís so easy, no wonder women do ití, linger in debates about equal pay for women.

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Running throughout Jocelynís article is the assumption that the reason for the difference in pay as between men and women is nothing but sheer blind prejudice on the part of the employers. According to this theory, employers knowingly and willingly prefer to take a monetary loss, rather than to profit from realizing the difference between the supposed undervalue, and the market value of womenís work.

This must be so, since if the work that men and women do were of different value, there would be no objection to accordingly different pay, any more than there is to paying a surgeon differently from a labourer.

Yet the very notion of equal pay for work of equal value is conceptually, and therefore practically unsustainable, and Jocelyn has herself identified why.

Value is not something thatís *in* the product itself. The value that a baker creates is not *in* the bread. Itís in the valuation of the bread by those who want to use it to satisfy their want for bread. Itís subjective. Itís different for different people. Itís different for the same person at different times. And these subjective values cannot be objectified, measured, quantified, weighed or otherwise inter-subjectively compared. This is the rock on which all attempts to bully employers into obeying Jocelynís opinions have failed.

Similarly ďworkĒ is not some kind of uniform homogeneous lump. We cannot exhaustively define its sub-categories. As soon as we distinguish bakery from carpentry, we have to ask, does equal value attach to all kinds of breads, and buns, and cakes? Obviously not. And are all bakers of equal aptitude and skill? Again no.

Obviously something is inducing employers, and consumers, and men, and women, to consistently value the monetary worth of womenís work less than that of men.

Assuming that itís not a desire for economic self-harm, what might that thing be? Well itís obvious, isnít it?

There is no need for any policy to remedy the problem, since if Jocelynís *assumptions* are correct, she and everyone who agrees with her could simultaneously make enormous profits *and* fix the problem by exclusively employing women.
Posted by Peter Hume, Monday, 30 May 2011 11:40:37 AM
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'This confirmed that women predominating in particular jobs and fields of work did not mean these were less skilled or worth less than those where men predominate. '

Yeah but I bet they were more flexable, and it wasn' so frowned upon to leave early for a sick child.

I'd like to see them tripple the pay for nursing, then the male workers would switch there, and a lot of female nurses would march in the streets as the men were taking their jobs. I don't really see them lining up to take on the building work the men were previously doing.

Why does it mater. I think the driver of pay rates relies on two things. Demand for flexible hours and conditions, and demand for high wages. Men, more often still being the primary earner demand the latter in their jobs, women the former. Everyone is happy, except for the feminists.

'overcoming the barriers preventing women from entering and participating in Ďmenís jobsí on equal terms; '

It's been shown men and women look for completely differring critera from a workplace. Pay and conditions, attention from bosses, feedback ,' respect', social environment. The important part is men and women can both choose to work in whatever field best suits them. The 'barriers' are created through the nature of the work quite often. I see no efforts to change the culture or female dominated occupations to encourage male employees, aside from pay.

Men put pay first because that's how society rates men, on what they're paid, and how they provide for a family. That more men end up in higher paid jobs than women is no surprise at all. Just like women spending more on cosmetics, and 3 times the floor space in your average shopping mall spent dedicated to womens fashion and Jewlery.

'Obviously something is inducing employers, and consumers, and men, and women, to consistently value the monetary worth of womenís work less than that of men. '

I think women value the workforce less than men, like men value their appearance (cosmetics) less than women do.
Posted by Houellebecq, Monday, 30 May 2011 12:27:18 PM
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Houlley
"I'd like to see them tripple the pay for nursing, then the male workers would switch there, and a lot of female nurses would march in the streets as the men were taking their jobs."

I don't agree this would be the outcome.

As for building work, many women would not be physically able to perform those duties full-time, some might. Does it really matter to you what gender performs what tasks.

Surely as long as equal pay for equal work is in place, I dont' give a toss if there are male nurses or female crane drivers. It doesn't really matter, the opportunities are there for everybody if they want them. Genders don't choose individuals do.
Posted by pelican, Monday, 30 May 2011 12:32:29 PM
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'Does it really matter to you what gender performs what tasks.'

Not to me, it does to the author. I've said before you cant say there is no such thing as woman's work, then complain that women's work gets paid less. The feminists are inconsistent as usual.

'It doesn't really matter, the opportunities are there for everybody if they want them. Genders don't choose individuals do.'

That's what I already said pelican.

Further, individuals choose jobs, jobs don't choose individuals. Men choose the high paying jobs with sh1t conditions, women the reverse. Such is life.

But where are women going to be if the jobs with good conditions get swamped by men when they are paid better? Even if that woman nurse chooses Law rather than building, how will she get her good conditions? I reckon she'll have to go further down the food chain in terms of pay to get her good conditions man.

What will your public service lot do with your 6 years full pay maternity leave? Save a fortune for us tax payers that will. Working for 5 years while being on leave for 4 years of it? Won't get that on a building site. I reckon this is a great idea! The public service will be able to up their wages massively, attract 50% men, and save all that maternity leave for tax payers!
Posted by Houellebecq, Monday, 30 May 2011 12:58:32 PM
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"But where are women going to be if the jobs with good conditions get swamped by men when they are paid better?"

The same as any other, the best person will get the job (mostly). There are many occupations with a good mix of men and women even if it is not 50/50.

"Even if that woman nurse chooses Law rather than building, how will she get her good conditions? I reckon she'll have to go further down the food chain in terms of pay to get her good conditions man."

That makes no sense. If she chooses Law she will already be earning a lot more than most people. Nurses have seen increases in pay over the last 20 years due to raised awareness of their value and men are not pouring into the profession although there are more than in previous years.

"What will your public service lot do with your 6 years full pay maternity leave? Save a fortune for us tax payers that will."

My public service? Last I heard it was yours too. I was against long term parental leave and I think you might be a tad exagerrating the conditions. Wasn't it 6 months? I have never received any type of parental leave, have you? When I had my kids I was a private contractor and also worked in the private sector, those provisions were not around.

Jocelynne
"Equal pay or Ďremunerationí orders under the Fair Work Act must be based in the principle of Ďequal remuneration for work of equal or comparable valueí.

The element of equal pay for equal value is the heart of the issue and perhaps with an independent (hopefully) arbiter some of these issues will be resolved. Traditional pay rates were often influenced by unionisation and ability to pay rather than on value of work performed.

Child care and aged care are good examples, poor rates based on the principles of affordable child care/aged care in line with government policy. Workers in those industries bear the brunt of 'affordability' with little recognition of the value of the work.
Posted by pelican, Monday, 30 May 2011 3:15:47 PM
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pelican if childcare costs rocket up, more women will leave the workforce and the feminists will scream blue murder. Unless you think the tax payer will be footing the bill?

'The same as any other, the best person will get the job'

But the proportion of jobs with good conditions (non-monetary) available to women will be reduced as men will be taking them. I suppose if their wives will let them those men could be the stay at home parent, but I think you're dreaming if you think women will be happy with that let alone men.

'If she chooses Law she will already be earning a lot more than most people. '

Oh pelican, it's not about pay for the primary carer, it's about flexibility and part-time positions. If Nursing becomes more attractive to men, attractive enough to be a viable primary earner job and to make the social stigma worth it, men will eventually take it up in equal numbers. Now for women to still have the same number of flexible child friendly occupations available, they'll have to take less money in an occupation where the conditions compensate for the sh1tty pay.

I still don't understand why women don't just strike like men used to. In the end they have the choice to work unsociable hours and free overtime and to leave the kids for hubby to pick up after school. But you know what, they don't. Oh, I forgot they're victims of 'societal expectations'.

When I want to pick my kids up, I demand it from my employer, even though he reckons my wife should do it. Women need to grow some balls man. Ask for a raise, change jobs, go on strike. But stop bloody victim positioning and pretending they should have the world handed to them on a platter. There is no hidden secret document that hides the expected pay from different professions from female school leavers.
Posted by Houellebecq, Monday, 30 May 2011 3:43:19 PM
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