Sunday, 27 November 2011

Women’s work.

A (male) friend of ours has been round this morning asking for help with his computer, not from me, I hasten to add, but from our resident ID expert, my Phil. When the problem was sorted he took his leave, declaring in passing that he had a pile of ironing to do. His parting shot: “A woman’s work is never done!”

Meanwhile, I read in today’s Observer that young women are now earning more than men. I find this hard to believe as for so long the pay gap has been there, relegating women to the lower scale. However, according to Gaby Hinsliff, statistics show that women in their 20s now earn 3.6% more than men their age. This might prove to some that finally women’s superiority is being rewarded.

I can remember, back in the days of the 11+ exam, learning that the pass mark was lower for boys than for girls. Otherwise more girls than boys would have made it to the grammar school. The poor boys would have been relegated to the secondary modern and, who knows, maybe women would have ruled the world. But, no, it was accepted that boys were late developers and so the bar was lowered for them.

Nowadays it appears that girls on average still do better at GCSEs and A Level exams than boys. Examinations are geared, it seems, to reward girls’ ability to knuckle down and get the work done. What a surprise!

In the past there was resistance to giving women equal pay although not universal. According to Gaby, the mayor of New York way back in 1911 supported giving women teachers the same pay as men because this would encourage the employment of more male teachers by removing the financial incentive to employ women. It’s funny that there are still more female than male teachers, although still more male than female head teachers.

Women clearly still have their problems.

Now, the other day our doorbell rang. On opening the door I found a young woman with a large bag over her shoulder and a laminated card in her hand. On the card in large letters it said, “HAWKER”. She explained that she was on a job creation scheme and asked, with resignation in her voice, whether I might like to take a look at the goods she had to sell. I’m afraid I did not want to look at her wares and wished her the best of luck, thinking inwardly that maybe they should just have given her an ID card stamped with the words; “REGISTERED BEGGAR”. Presumably she has to tramp around form house to house like this in order to claim her Job Seeker’s Allowance but is this really the best kind of thing that a Job Creation Scheme can come up with?

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