Inequality of women at work

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Unionist
Inequality of women at work

oOoOoO

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Unionist

[url=http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/101216/dq101216c-eng.htm]From Stats Canada:[/url]

I found this bulletin to be very confusing - all over the place - but the message to me is clear: Women are not really narrowing the income gap.

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In 2008, women employed on a full-time full-year basis earned about 71 cents for each dollar earned by their male counterparts. Since 1999, the female to male earnings ratio has fluctuated between 70% and 72%.

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In 2008, women with less than a Grade 9 education earned $20,800 on average, compared with earnings of $62,800 for women with a university degree. In contrast, men who had less than Grade 9 education earned $40,400, compared with $91,800 for those with a university degree.

While the earnings gap narrowed for those with higher levels of education, women working full year full time with a university degree earned about 30% less than men with a university degree.

Unionist

Along related lines, this is yesterday's news, but I can't recall if it's been reported in another thread:

[url=http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Canada+Post+equity+dispute+before+S... Post pay equity dispute to go before Supreme Court[/url]

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The Supreme Court of Canada agreed Thursday to settle an epic pay-equity dispute involving women employed at Canada Post, which has persisted for more than a quarter of a century.

Without giving reasons, the court granted leave to appeal to the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, who are challenging earlier court rulings that overturned a $150-million pay-equity award, stemming from a 1983 union complaint against the post office.

The union says that women were being discriminated against under the Canadian Human Rights Act because they made less than men working in jobs of equal value.

Ripple

Maybe this will help:

 

[url=Vancouver">http://www.vancourier.com/Labour+council+elects+first+female+president/4... and District Labour Council elects first female president[/url]

 

milo204

can anyone help me define the concept of "equal value"?

does this mean two people in the same position? like a male janitor and female janitor? or is it more like trying to determine the value of the position as in anything that involves essentially the same KIND of work?

like, are there jobs at canpost that only women worked at and were paid less than a male working in a different title, but the same job?

Doug

It 's both. This can get complicated. There are situations where women in men in the same job are paid differently (sometimes not even for reasons that are someone's fault in particular - for example, from men being socialized to be more assertive and ask for larger raises) and then there are situations where men and women in a particular job are paid equally but the job has a history of being female-dominated and may be undepaid relative to jobs with a similar leve of skill and responsibility.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Women are underpaid,  Full Stop.

milo204

so a hypothetical might be if you're a "secretary" you'd get paid less since it's a traditionally female position, whereas if you're a "personal assistant" you'd get paid more even if it's essentially the same tasks? that kind of thing?

i'm wondering if anyone knows of a link to some of the stuff in this particular case or something similar i could read up on?

Maysie Maysie's picture

milo there's tons of stuff about pay equity, which is the enactment of "equal pay for work of equal value". GIYF.

The examples I know of are jobs in places where I've worked, long ago. Basically to determine pay equity jobs are broken down into various tasks, so for example, something like "heavy lifting" can be applied to folks who do home care and personal care for clients/residents in a residential setting like a group home. Such folks are usually underpaid women.

And here's a thread I started on race and gender inequality in the workplace in Ontario.

Unionist

milo204 wrote:

can anyone help me define the concept of "equal value"?

Milo, this term (totally unscientific but necessary) was invented because women workers have indeed been paid less than men for doing exactly the same work with the same job title, but that's rare now (too obvious and easy to observe and fix) - the much bigger problem is "female-dominated occupations" where women did the same, or similar, or comparable (in some sense) work, but are systemically undervalued and underpaid. That gave birth to this concept and also to pay equity demands to redress it.

If you want a quick adequate summary of the prevailing views, [url=http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/publications/employers_responsibility-eng.aspx]read this from the Canadian Human Rights Commission[/url].

What none of these concepts (or laws based on them) do is to try to address the political-economic-cultural-social bases for female job ghettoization in the first place. Capitalism probably would collapse if we went after that. That makes it a doubly worthy goal!

 

Sineed

In the ministry where I work, the top managerial positions mostly go to men, and it relates to the infrastructure of the hierarchy.  What I mean by this: there are the entry level positions filled by men and women.  The women's entry level positions are secretarial/administrative, while the men work more directly with the clientele of the ministry.  But as people move up the corporate ladder, the women hit that glass ceiling, while the men continue up to Deputy Minister.  What's weird to me: the higher level jobs are entirely administrative, so you'd think that women would be better trained, since they have been working at administrative jobs right from the entry level, while the men's jobs are administrative only as they move higher up the ladder.

The efforts to create "equal pay for work of equal value" is a start, but real change can happen only if we continue to break down the barriers between what constitutes "women's work" and "men's work."

Also: more support for moms in the workplace.  Motherhood continues to be the most important cause of economic hardship for families, and prevents women's career advancement.  As long as women have to choose between their career and motherhood while men don't have to make this choice, there will be inequity.  

(I know; lots of overstating of the obvious in this post...)

Unionist

Sineed wrote:

The efforts to create "equal pay for work of equal value" is a start, but real change can happen only if we continue to break down the barriers between what constitutes "women's work" and "men's work."

Which is the point I tried to make in my previous post, but less succinctly and eloquently.

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Also: more support for moms in the workplace.  Motherhood continues to be the most important cause of economic hardship for families, and prevents women's career advancement.  As long as women have to choose between their career and motherhood while men don't have to make this choice, there will be inequity. 

Agreed - with the sole addition that we need national public child care, and we also need more support and incentives for fathers to spend time at home looking after kids as well. Paternity leave (Québec), parental leave, care for immediate family leave, etc., are important steps in that direction and are increasingly utilized, but need to be legislatively strengthened.

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(I know; lots of overstating of the obvious in this post...)

I wish it were as obvious as all that to everyone. It needs overstating.

Ghislaine

Sineed wrote:

Also: more support for moms in the workplace.  Motherhood continues to be the most important cause of economic hardship for families, and prevents women's career advancement.  As long as women have to choose between their career and motherhood while men don't have to make this choice, there will be inequity.  

 

Agreed, however I would add the caveat...more support for parents, men and women alike. Workplaces should respect that parents need to raise their children, ie if a child is sick and one parent needs to stay home, special events, etc.  The attitude in a lot of workplaces seems to be "don't take your personal issues to work!", as if your child was just another personal issue.

One female-dominated profession that I think is extremely undervalued is nursing. Any woman that has had a baby knows that the nurses do EVERYTHING. The doctor is basically the "catcher" and is there for the last 5-10 mins. (I know they are trained for abnormal situations). during my experience, I could not get over the fact that the doctor was watching TV in a little room with a bed until the nurse summoned him at the last moment. Partly due to the shortage of doctors, our provincial health system is offloading some doctor responsibilities to nurses, with no corresponding pay raise.

Sineed

Ghislaine wrote:

Agreed, however I would add the caveat...more support for parents, men and women alike. Workplaces should respect that parents need to raise their children, ie if a child is sick and one parent needs to stay home, special events, etc.  The attitude in a lot of workplaces seems to be "don't take your personal issues to work!", as if your child was just another personal issue.

So true!  Though I would add that the involvement of fathers in parenting is entirely voluntary.  I agree that the dads should get lots of support, but whether or not dads are involved with their kids remains entirely their choice, and therein lies the root of inequality.

In my circle of friends/acquaintances, the difference between a life of upper middle class comfort (like my Facebook friends whose status updates consist of bragging about how great their lives are, flying all over the place on expensive vacations, pics of their latest home renovations - maybe I should block these people), and a life of poverty, is the involvement of a man with a stable job.

So one friend, we'll call her a yoga instructor, who to be fair is an excellent mum to her kids, and lives in a 5-bedroom house in a matured-treed, large-lawned, Rob-Ford-voting area of Toronto, and is hugely self-satisfied, secure because she married an emotionally stable nice guy who works in government.

Another yoga instructor friend lives with her daughters in a leaky basement apartment in south Parkdale, having fled the alcoholic abusive spouse.  No smugness there - the apartment is a step up from the women's shelter where she initially landed.

Dad involvement is awesome and should be supported.  But many women continue to be one man away from poverty.  (There I go, overstating the obvious again.)  And in some cases, saying that "Men are parents too" de-emphasizes the necessity for supporting women.  And women need to be supported more than men for reasons of their biological role in reproduction.

Equality of support for men and women as parents will in fact bureaucratically solidify the inequality of men and women.

Ghislaine wrote:

One female-dominated profession that I think is extremely undervalued is nursing. Any woman that has had a baby knows that the nurses do EVERYTHING. The doctor is basically the "catcher" and is there for the last 5-10 mins. (I know they are trained for abnormal situations). during my experience, I could not get over the fact that the doctor was watching TV in a little room with a bed until the nurse summoned him at the last moment. Partly due to the shortage of doctors, our provincial health system is offloading some doctor responsibilities to nurses, with no corresponding pay raise.

True true.  My mum was a maternity nurse.  Nurses get more money/respect than they used to, and my mum feels that's because more men are choosing nursing as a profession.

In general, nurses have all the responsibility of health care, and none of the power (but societal disrespect for front-line health care workers is a topic for another thread).

6079_Smith_W

@ Sineed

I don't disagree with your conclusion, and I don't ordinarily step in and point out the exceptions to the rule when it comes to gender politics because I am aware that it is heavily slanted against mothers, and most of the single parents I know are women.

That said. I know of a few cases where it was the father (or non-birth parent to be inclusive) who held the responsibility, including one close friend who had the misfortune of being left with her mother by the court because they didn't want to leave her childless and she was the only one too young to speak for herself and go with her other siblings to their father. She suffered years of abuse and neglect.

And I know of even more cases (again, frustratingly close) where children are left in the care of grandparents and other relatives because neither parent accepted responsibility. 

Again, I don't disagree with your main point about where support should be focused, and I agree that it is usually women who have to take responsibility, but cases where they do not are sadly not as rare as we might think.

 

 

Sineed

I hear what you're saying, Agent Smith, and I don't downplay the contribution dads make.  My point is about how the biological impact of being a mother results in economic discrepancies.  For instance, my ability to work after having my 1st baby was impacted by post-natal depression and breast-feeding.

Sometimes men take over all the parenting when a mother abandons her child.  But sometimes this abandonment occurs because the woman is depressed.  Post-natal depression is recognized better than it used to be.  But it's still under-recognized, IMV.

Bit of drift: one of the frequent complaints of my female friends is how fatherhood is so lauded.  When our girls were small, my husband would sometimes go about the neighbourhood towing both of them in the wagon.  I heard about this constantly, about what an awesome dad he was, dragging these kids all over while he went about his day (the way we did childcare, I worked days, he worked evenings).  But when a woman is a good mum, there's still all of the nit-picking.  ("you buy Kinder Eggs for your kids all the time?")

Being a good mum is a minimum standard in our culture.  But a good dad is a hero.

6079_Smith_W

Agreed. And when hair isn't brushed to perfection and clothes aren't matched it isn't me who gets the evil eye. 

And I do know it is far easier for men to just up and walk away from their responsibilities than women. I supervised a fellow once whose wages I had to garnishee. Nice guy, good with kids from what I saw. Not a freak at all, but for all his good intentions he was just plain irresponsible. When it came right down to it the province had to force him to  cough up what he really needed to give to take care of his kids - money.

And I have also seen several situations where when the man is in good financial straits, and has a new family all of a sudden the focus is on the "unstable" situation in the mother's home, and he starts trying to force his will and pass judgment even though she has been the anchor in the child's life.

6079_Smith_W

But back to the quesiton of work, it would be much better if the parental leave system we have were not tied in with EI. When both our children were born I was able to take parental leave because at the time I had a wage. My partner, who is self employed was unable to, so we essentially lived off my benefits. Good thing, because circumstances made it necessary for us to both stop working, but it was not adequate, and I could see how someone with less support would have had a much harder time of it.

A colleague of mine was once in the position where she was wondering whether to lie about her intentions to come back to work, because part of her benefits depended on it (she didn't eventually). I don't think anyone should be put in that position. And really I think the only reason it is connected to EI is because it is a cash cow. But the fact is there are enough mothers who fall outside of that system but still need support that it should be separate.

Plus there are certainly women who get passed over for work because the possibility of maternity benefits is in the back of the prospective employer's head. I am sure the question doesn't even enter their minds when it is a man, even though a new child could mean a similar disruption and cost.

 

 

Bacchus

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Plus there are certainly women who get passed over for work because the possibility of maternity benefits is in the back of the prospective employer's head. I am sure the question doesn't even enter their minds when it is a man, even though a new child could mean a similar disruption and cost.

 

I heard that baldly stated by upper management in some companies Ive worked for. One wouldnt even let me answer the main phone if it was ringing and no one was around, that was for a woman only as a receptionist, not a man.  And that company is still around(as is their philosophy)

KeyStone

One of the biggest causes of the inequality is the fact that even for a married couple, if one parent has to have their career suffer to look after the children, it is almost always the woman.

This is because in a couple, the woman is usually younger, and usually earns less, which means that it is to the economic benefit of the couple for the woman to take time off rather than the man.

I don't know how you legislate this away or if we need to.

I would really like to see some comparitive studies between childless single men and childless single women, to see what sort of wage gaps exist there.

 

 

 

milo204

that would be a good point of comparison.  i wonder if something like that exists already?

i guess because statistically women earn less then more often it is the woman who has the lower paying job and would take time off.  addressing the wage gap might be a good solution to that problem.  

 

Unionist

[url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/federal-government-to-pay-150-mi... government to pay $150 million to settle pay equity case with nurses[/url]

Unionist

[url=http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/06/27/canada_post_union_end_30year_... Post, union end 30-year pay equity fight[/url]

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In a bitter dispute that has dragged on for more than three decades, Canada Post will finally begin to issue pay equity cheques in August.

The pay equity fight went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2011 with the justices, in a rare oral ruling, unanimously ordering the crown corporation to pay up.

But cheques were never put in the mail because of a separate lingering fight over how much interest should be paid.

Canada Post and the Public Service Alliance of Canada announced Thursday that they have signed a memorandum of agreement — that interest will be paid on 90 per cent of the settlement.

The union had argued that interest should be paid on 100 per cent of the payout, while the company wanted to pay it on only 80 per cent of the total, arguing it was generous considering employees would have had taxes and other deductions, a reduction of 30 per cent to 35 per cent of gross wages.

“We are extremely happy about this. I’m very proud of our victory,” said PSAC national president Robyn Benson in an interview. “It’s a long time in coming. It’s been 30 years.”

Benson says as many as 30,000 people could be eligible for a portion of the settlement, which is estimated at $250 million with interest.