Economic Woman

Econometrics, gender, equity and more.

Labour takes a stab at workplace inequity

with one comment

Feministe has a link round up on women and work. The Times has a number of recent articles on similar topics: here are some strangely context-free statistics on the wage gap. I think it was supposed to be a sidebar for this article, about a the Equalities Bill. I’m no expert, but that Bill seems sort of hastily patched together. Take this stab at affirmative action:

The section likely to prove the most controversial encourages companies to favour female and ethnic minorities candidates if there is tiebreak for a job vacancy. Critics say that this will discriminate against white men – supporters of the measure say that the balance is already tipped in white men’s favour.

That criticism is daft, of course, but maybe I can make a couple from the other end. How do we define a “tiebreak” in something as amorphous and instinct-driven as hiring? Even if we can, what if, god forbid, there is more than one “minority” (a stupid and inaccurate label, by the way) tied? This sort of vague policy will just never be implemented. Maybe affirmative action is called for, but it needs to be better thought out…

Finally, another Times article speculates that new programs to help mothers stay in the workplace may be cut in the current “economic turmoil.” (An aside – it’s funny how the media has to talk itself in spirals describing this maybe-it’s-a-recession, especially in Canada where it’s barely shown up in our economic indicators at all.)

And with that, I am bored of writing women in the corporate world. Help me out, dear readers: what would you like to learn about next?


Written by Allison

26 June 2008 at 11:29 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. This beats me. For a quarter of a century in Britain, I operated completely openly a hiring rule which said that where candidates for a post or a promotion appeared equal – you are quite right that in hiring appearances are by and large, I should have said what I meant, approximately equal – preference would be given to the candidate who was female and/or disabled and/or coloured and/or lacked the formal qualifications. I did this because sufficient other employers were prejudiced against people in these categories for me to expect that (speaking for the employer) we would tend to get better value employees that way.

    I suspect that some others operated similar rules. It was and is economically logical. Am I now being told that I was acting illegally, because the Government had never given me permission to act that way? But in some of the cases where I applied that rule I was working for the Government of the time! Or am I being told that it was neither illegal nor legal but just common sense? If so, why are they legislating for it? It is like saying making apple pie is legal.


    28 June 2008 at 9:11 am

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