Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Marilyn Waring on inequality

Nine To Noon this morning had a fascinating interview [audio] with former MP Marilyn Waring, now a professor of public policy at AUT. Much of the interview is about the progress of women's rights in New Zealand, particularly around work-life balance, economic discrimination, and unpaid work, and is fascinating listening. Waring touches on different ideals of equality, and strongly advocates for substantive equality rather than mere equality of opportunity. But what really caught my ear was her statistics on the cost of having children: a woman's lifetime income decreases 37% the moment she has a child, even from a temporary removal from the workforce. Meanwhile, men show the opposite trend - their being involved in a partnership with children increases their lifetime income by 120%. And we're supposed to be an equal society?

Also interesting is Waring's response to being asked what she would do if she could "go back to Parliament and run the place": she would entrench the BORA as supreme law. I thought she would have gone for a Universal Basic Income...