Thursday, June 23, 2011

Still digging

This morning, Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Alasdair Thompson claimed that women are paid less because they menstruate. He's subsequently issued a press release which he clearly hopes will undo the damage he's caused. It hasn't. Instead, its just digging a deeper hole. Why? Just look at the second sentence:

Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association, says its only right that women should be paid more than men when their output and productivity is greater than men.
Subtext: where women are paid less than men it is because they are less productive than men. Not that the EMA thinks women are paid less than men, as they go on to state:
"The Equal Pay Act 1972 already makes it illegal to pay a different rate to a man and a woman doing the same work at the same standard and if there was widespread discrimination you would expect to see numerous court cases under the Equal Pay Act - there aren't.
Personally I think that the 12% gender pay gap speaks for itself. The reason there aren't more court cases over it is because a) it is expensive; and b) the privacy of pay details mean that it is often unclear that there is discrimination in any particular workplace. Catherine Delahunty's bill would solve the second problem, by forcing employers to disclose the data necessary to bring them to court. No wonder the old men of the EMA hate the idea.