Daily Archives: Monday 8 March 2010

Doing the maths

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. Julie has put together a great round-up at The Hand Mirror, Megan does something different and introduces her nana, and across the Tasman there’s an open thread at Hoyden about Town, Helen writes from the cast iron balcony about the green shoots of change, and News with Nipples has a series of whys to ask.

I want to put two things together for International Women’s Day. They are of particular concern to women in New Zealand.

This thing, reported today: ‘Significant’ gender income gap found in study

A new study of graduates with bachelor degrees has revealed that men start earning more than women a year after starting work.

Women’s Affairs Minister Pansy Wong said today her ministry’s study used data from Inland Revenue and looked at the difference between the income of male and female graduates between one and five years after they started their employment.

The pay gap started developing from the first year, and after five years it ranged between 1 percent and 20 percent, with the biggest difference in management and commerce.

And this thing, reported last week: State service super sizing

Prime Minister John Key also indicated small ministries and departments such as the Women’s Affairs Ministry could be on borrowed time. “There is an awful lot of quangos and quasis … and if you want efficiency we need to look at that,” he said last month.

It looks like yet again, we will have to fight to maintain a ministry that concerns itself with the gender differences that still plague our society. To be honest, I wouldn’t be too concerned if the ministry itself becomes say, an Office for Women, as one of a number of “Offices” that are part of a larger department. But I would be deeply concerned if we lose the Minister for Women. I want that direct voice in Cabinet, the voice that reminds the people around the table that:

– changes in child care services have a differential impact on men and women (however much we might hope that might not be the case), and this is actually a problem;

– work hours structured around a 40 hour work week suit only those without caring responsibilities, and this is actually a problem;

– by and large, the people with caring responsibilities are women, and this is actually a problem;

– that women are paid less, just because they are women, and that this is actually a problem;

– women are raped, and this is actually a problem;

– no matter what platitudes we spout about the legal equality of women and men, women are treated as second class citizens, and this is actually a problem.

Happy International Women’s Day. From someone who gets paid less.

Update: To actually celebrate International Women’s Day, here are some new / revived / reincarnated Down Under feminist bloggers I have come across recently. I recommend them.

A Touch of the Crazy

I am not cake

Eddy’s Queer Rant Space

The News with Nipples (actually, she’s just turned one, but I don’t think I’ve introduced her before…)

Pondering Postfeminism