Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Bio-politics

As usual, today's edition of the Guardian flopped into my inbox. One of the stories is an issue that makes me furious.

Gender pay gap amongst executives.

On a side note, it always amazes me how these stories pop up in the media so often. People seem to react as if it's a big surprise and how can this be happening with the Equal Pay Act in force? The excuses given in the article are pathetic. "There are more female executives in some sectors." And your point is? Just because you are a woman doesn't mean you should be getting paid less than a male counterpart for the same job. Again, one of the downfalls of living in a patriarchal, capitalist society.

Still on topic, I went to a talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival. It was a discussion about feminism and the panel consisted of Lynn Segal and Laura Kipnis. The former a British academic who was part of second wave feminism in the 70s, the later an American academic who seems to equate sexual identity with gender. It was a lively discussion but seemed to be dominated by audience members asking questions about child rearing and so on. For me, the subject of children is a battle ground for heterosexual couples, less so with same-gender couples.

The decision to have a child ultimately lies with the woman, this cannot be a truly equal decision made between the biological parents. The female can decide to remain pregnant or make decisions to remove that feature. Legislation caters more to females remaining the care giver after the child has left her body. Paternity leave for a father is, on average, two weeks whilst the mother is entitled, with recent legislation, up to nine months. Why should one assume the mother wants to remain the primary care giver? But, as Lynn Segal at the above talk argued, being a mother only lasts proximately 20 years of an estimated 60-80 year life span. It can be easier for the male to walk away. After all, he doesn't have it growing inside him. In the first 9 months of development, the mother suffers and this suffering is continued through to the birthing process. Talking to friends who have given birth, it sounds like a humiliating experience. Your body is no longer your own property, it is given over to midwives and nurses to stretch and tear and rip and pull and force. No orifice is safe, the body expels some matter through every one. Then there's dangers of your entire body going into shock after the birth which can lead to death. Meanwhile, the father struts around the waiting room, wondering if handing out cigars is a little ironic. And please let it be a boy so they can do worthwhile bonding activities like attend sporting events and learn it's not masculine to show your emotions.

Both genders suffer in this life but I feel that women are paid less, treated badly and generally fucked over because they had the rudeness to come into this life missing balls. And that's partly why I'm a feminist. Rant over.

3 comments:

sheeldz, Marque said...

I don't disagree: I think that it is shocking and rather alarming that some people can still give men raises and women passed over, and the inequality in the workplace is something I cannot understand.

The problem I have is, as an engineer, women are already at a disadvantage it being a "male" industry. This is not a point of contention; more men take engineering, therefore there are more men in engineering. This has two consequences. In executive (and senior, lead and even at graduate) levels there are more men in these positions, and thus the statistics can be distorted. Secondly, a female member of the employment force might acutal be able to force success onto her self for being the female in the male office.

From where I am sitting (nice and cool in an air conditioned office in Aberdeen) Wood Group values each employee the same (except contractors), but will welcome any diversity into the industry with money, open arms, and probably a cheeky wee slap on the arse.

The talk of Bio-Politics on the other hand, is something I cannot comment on, as I really am at a disadvantage being in this male industry. Now, I am off to have some beer, look at Zoo, and scratch me balls!

A Woman with an Opinion said...

I am a little bit hypocritical in this respect. Science, Graphic Design, Maths and other male dominated subjects held little interest for me at school. I was better, and enjoyed, subjects such as English and History which are usually linked to girls.

Positive discrimination exists in the workplace which I'm not entirely keen on. It implies to me you got the job because you're a woman, gay, a trans-sexual and so on rather than your own skills and talents. I remember getting an application form for Borders and there was a section you had to fill out which ethnic group you belonged to, sexual orientation, topics I felt didn't matter except in extreme cases.

I think I need to get a sense of humour in this blog ;-)

Marquis Wildcard de Pwn said...

oh dear me i sure hope alex doesn't see this or we could have a rant battle on our paws :P