Gender equality, what do you think?

I saw this in the Independent - what do you think?

The UK has fallen out of the top 20 most gender-equal countries in the world for the first time after average wages for women in the workplace fell by £2,700 in a year, a new report reveals.

The analysis, by economists at the respected World Economic Forum, found that the UK now lagged behind Nicaragua, Bulgaria and Burundi in the list of those societies where women and men have the most equitable life chances in education, work and health.

Last year the UK was ranked 18th in the Global Gender Gap Report, but this year fell to 26th. The report is unusual in that the index is constructed to rate countries on their gender gaps, independent of their levels of development.

Thus less developed countries can be placed higher up the rankings if they are more equitable – even if their overall earnings, access to education, or health outcomes are lower.

The report found that this year average earning for women in the UK had fallen from £18,000 to £15,400 while earnings for men were unchanged at £24,800.

However, it said there was a small increase in the percentage of women in senior official and managerial positions, up from 34 per cent to 35 per cent, as well as an increase in the percentage of women in tertiary education.

Overall the report ranked Iceland as the most “equal” country in the world, closely followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden. At the other end of the scale, Yemen was the least equal country ahead of Pakistan and Chad.

The UK was ranked 46th for economic participation and opportunity and 32nd for educational attainment.

The authors said that on average across the world in 2014, more than 96 per cent of the gap in health outcomes, 94 per cent of the gap in educational attainment and 60 per cent of the gap in economic participation had been closed since the first gender report was published in 2006.

But they warned: “No country in the world has achieved gender equality.”

“The report continues to highlight the strong correlation between a country’s gender gap and its economic performance,” they wrote.

“Because women account for one-half of a country’s potential talent base, a nation’s competitiveness in the long term depends significantly on whether and how it educates and utilises its women.”

Eva Neitzert, the deputy chief executive of Fawcett Society, said the past five years had seen a number of key markers of gender equality go backwards.

“Any government committed to gender equality must lift the national minimum wage and ensure that any future welfare changes do not disproportionately impact women,” she said. “The Government should lead by example by enforcing the Living Wage in the public sector.”

The shadow minister for women and equalities, Gloria De Piero, said the analysis was a “damning indictment of David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s record for women”.

“Their policies have meant that women’s wages are lower this year than last year and the gender pay gap is back on the rise after years of falling under Labour,” she said.

The top 20 gender-equal states

  1. Iceland

  2. Finland

  3. Norway

  4. Sweden

  5. Denmark

  6. Nicaragua

  7. Rwanda

  8. Ireland

  9. Philippines

  10. Belgium

  11. Switzerland

  12. Germany

  13. New Zealand

  14. Netherlands

  15. Latvia

  16. France

  17. Burundi

  18. South Africa

  19. Canada

  20. United States

Oh sorry I misread that.

Norman, what I wrote is a reply to Vic's comment, specifically this part;

"Hi James,

Give me the link for removal - let's put an end to this silliness once and for all."

James, as I read that are you actively encouraging Vic to leave? If so I find that a very disappointing reaction.

Karen, I have always found the use of 'avatars' and 'pseudonyms' to be counter-productive as they simply disguise who the 'real' person is, and as such give them an anonymity blanket from which they can spout the most inflammatory tosh with complete surety against response. I do not direct this at you personally but as a generalisation.

One of the reasons I have come to stay with SFN has been overall the 'dinner-table' flow of conversations, which is ideal for people like me who lead essentially solitary lives, and as such I DO like to see the faces of the people I am conversing with.

If someone has a belief system or simply a positional one, why the need for anonymity? That I don't understand. Bit like being invited to a dinner party and arriving with a bag over your head so you won't be recognised? Overall I think people here behave well, and even us 'cranky old gits' have also been allowed our heads - although I admit to recently noting that there does seem to be a developing PC against quite a few of our postings.

I would certainly say that in the light of these comments heavy intellectual diversions or digressions tend to put me off - mainly as I don't understand most of them anyway, but more because there is a mechanism to letting the intellectuals present to have their own 'dinner-table conversations' on a 'higher plane' on other threads. Possibly for intellectuals they do not feel the need to show their faces? Fair enough, but I think for the rest of us (dangerous presumption I know) it is nice to relate to a face.

That SFN attracts the intellectuals like Brian and Véronique and others, and seemingly from what I have read, yourself, as well as the lesser mentally endowed people like me is praiseworthy. However I do feel that sometimes the 'proving how bright I am' can be a bit tedious on occasion, and can be seen as a bit demeaning to other contributors.

I am sure the reverse must be the case for the sharper pencils in the box, when they have to suffer the perceived inanities of the common herd, with me again to the fore! Several of us oldies I am sure are regarded, as we cheerfully recognise, as 'cranky old gits' - so much so that I feel we should have our own section where we can change the world weekly - or should that read 'weakly'? Some of us will recognise in that a very old joke for very old men!

I am now starting to ramble so will cease, desist and stop.

James. I've never tried to enforce any version of SFN rules as they are patently not my rules to enforce. Of course I have asked others to post a picture & thought I was supporting Catharine when she asks for one in her welcome. I have always made it clear that it is MY opinion that members should be equal & be seen to be equal. I've never tried to 'force' anybody & was politeness personified in my most recent request. I don't understand why you think I'm being provocative. I'm also sort of gobsmacked you should tell me I refused to upload a photo as I've absolutely no recollection of this & one of the things that attracted me to SFN was the photo thing. I'm not a hypocrite & am sure I would have done it as soon as I mastered the system. I've tried to find any posts on this 'refusal' but the system won't let me back far enough after over 2,000 posts so perhaps you could show me where I catagorically refused to do this whereupon I will consume copious quantities of Humble Pie & use the link you so kindly provided.

Obvious I know, I just wonder why you continually try to be provocative and enforce your own version of SFN's rules on our members. We do not insist on profile photos, I have made this very clear from the beginning. It is you that is trying to force this upon those who have chosen not to. Ironic when you consider that when you joined SFN you also refused when asked by other members to upload a photo!

The link to leave SFN is at the bottom of your settings page.

"Hi James,

Give me the link for removal - let's put an end to this silliness once and for all."

"Karen, it's not mandatory, just encouraged. Please don't go anywhere!"

Yes of course I am James !

Norman, I quoted in my OP an article in the Independent, my only comment on it was that I thought was interesting & "what do you think"- for what it is worth I think women's work is seen as less essential and less worth decent pay & more likely to be part-time because women are perceived as doing top-up jobs rather than primary earners (whether that is the case or not). I think that in any industry which doesn't have a national pay-scale women are likely to be paid less simply because they are frequently bringing up children alone or up for any precarious job they can get and consequently likely to accept lower pay. Employers will often pay as little as they can get away with and female workforces are more conditioned to be passive. Even in jobs with that kind of pay-scale they are likely to earn less for time out having babies (which is fair enough, if you don't build up seniority you can't expect to have it). As a woman you also end up with gaps in your cv, which doesn't help - and there's an automatic assumption that if a child is ill you as a mother will be taking time off.

But I think many women are also conditioned to believe their job/pay/intrinsic worth on the labour market is less than that of most men because the baseline assumption in society is exactly that. I think that many men don't have the faintest notion of the privilege they have (just as many white people don't in relation to people who aren't white) simply because that privilege is so anchored and implicit. There is a blind spot and it leads to assumptions which have a knock-on effect all through society. Many women may not want to work outside the home, I imagine if they could live on someone else's work, many men would also be happy to - but would they be happy to accept the corresponding devaluation of status were they to be househusbands? Any job with a high proportion of women in it is devalued, this is becoming the case in medicine just has it became the case in secondary teaching a while ago, and has been the case in nursing or primary teaching for ages. Just think of all the jokes and assumptions about secretaries and air-hostesses & waitresses & fishwives...

I have heard my ex-mother in law say entirely seriously that nurse or primary teacher are aspirational jobs for women if they HAVE to work whereas doctor/surgeon/secondary teacher are men's jobs (she didn't even mention other possible jobs for women; either too high-flying or beneath her notice, eg work in factories etc because she's an outrageous snob). This from someone who hadn't a clue because she'd never had a job anyway & just got married. I have an awful lot more respect for the opinions of her mother who went to Oxford in the 1930s and worked all her life, just as I'd take my own grandmother (publisher) and her sister (barrister) as examples to follow.

I am not anti-man any more than I'm anti-woman - I'm anti-anyone who limits a person's ambitions and possibilities on spurious grounds eg accent/sex/colour. I don't think ability to do any job well is sex-linked, just as I don't think the ability to do eg housework or look after children is sex-linked. What is a shame is that many men and women who might like to take a stereotypically opposite-sex role get it in the neck - and in a way it is even harder for men taking on traditionally 'female' tasks (how many male primary school teachers, nurses, midwives or househusbands do you know? And how do people react to them?).

And I have no personal axe to grind - I'm very lucky in that there isn't a glass ceiling for me, and I'm doing as I have all my working life, exactly what I want: because I gave myself the means to, through work, academic & other.

'runs to Sir who with others apparently condones this'

Are you referring to me Vic?

So there you are then, Vic. I didn't know the history, because nobody follows every post.
Sometimes we jump to conclusions on the basis of too little evidence.
......but we all agree that dead horses don't drink!

I really have tried Catherine, however :- "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink' & I'm getting tired of flogging it.

Lead by example Vic! It generally works best... xx

Mike. I have stated on more than one occasion that my wearing of dark glasses is a protest against the black squares as is my profile now set to friends only . I have previously posted other mug shots showing me warts & all but if all members are not prepared to abide by simple rules of common decency, which are known about on joining, then I'm buggered if I am. Now there is a post here by a black square alleging I'm insulting it when I have simply stated facts. What's all that about ? I won't waste my time answering that post & have stated my position unequivocally on more than one occasion.

I didn't say that, Norman, if you were referring to what I wrote - it so happens that the lovely Claudio was incredibly dull (probably due to his Mamma telling him all he needed to do was look lovely, just like many many girls!!) the leprechaun probably had to make more effort on account of not being 'conventionally attractive'. And I said men of ANY size who like to seem 'ard & square up to people look thick to me.

My present husband is tall, but also extremely clever.

I don't know if many men marry for money, my ex-husband did :-(

Kinda with you Vic. I sometimes wonder about women who go about veiled in public.
I find it a bit spooky and intimidating. Nothing to do with Islamophobia, nuns also give me the creeps.
Do they really think I will be overcome by lust if I catch a glimpse of their face? Perhaps they are ugly, deformed or mutilated, like the Phantom of the Opera? But we have gone beyond that. Simon Weston and others have demonstrated that we can learn to see the truth behind the scars. Maybe the black curtain is hiding a man or an alien from outer space?
Anyway, joining a club and not following the rules is likely to be seen as intimidating and maybe attention seeking. Could be totally innocent, but whatever the reason, that is the way people react.
Nothing in the rules about wearing dark glasses, but I have wondered......? ;-)

Karen - the photo thing is what makes SFN unique and as Vic quite rightly points out, one person who is also a prolific and respected poster, steadfastly refusing to add a photo, spoils it for everyone else.

You also threatened to leave and the SFN membership responded in a positive manner asking you to stay.

We would now very much appreciate it if you could address the photo issue. It really cannot be that complicated in this digital age and if you are truly without any access to a camera via friends, neighbours and so on, please feel free to PM myself or James and we will see what we can arrange. Thank you.

Economics? Evidence? Scientific? You are of course having a joke with me?
Every few years some genius economist comes along with a new scheme for creating enormous wealth for investors. When you remind them of all the previous bubbles that burst, leaving investors impoverished and suicidal, the standard answer is, "But this time it is different!" The latest "experiment" brought the whole of the developed world to its knees and we probably haven't heard the last of it.
Every uneducated "pleb" knows that money doesn't grow on trees. In terms that you might prefer to use - it is not possible to create wealth without creating something of value. But it happens in every generation, that somebody thinks they have found the Philosopher's Stone and all the "experts" fight to jump on the bandwagon.
All these people are educated, overpaid and highly respected for their intellectual grasp of obscure financial theories. Some even won (later regretted) Nobel prizes. They know the history as well as we do, but they still think they have, at last, found a way to make gold.
That isn't science. Alchemy, I call it.
Real science enables us to predict what will happen as a result of certain actions.
Fake science tries to find reasons (excuses) for what happened after the event.

I know Catharine and James don't like direct personal insults on the forum, but I will make my position clear - if it is me you have a problem with then feel free to say so - I'd prefer that to some indirect reference. Then I can respond accordingly.

... and I will add to this - when I first found this forum it was because I was googling the AE stuff and this threw up the best information. When I joined, which was not without it's own little hiccup (entirely my fault) nowhere did I read in the terms and conditions any clauses about members having to put up a photo. Because if had, I wouldn't (or more accurately 'couldn't) have joined because at the moment I have no way of taking photos - and it's not an important issue in my life at the moment. Neither did it say that if I didn't put up a photo I would be the subject of personal accusations on a more, or less, daily basis.

If you take this forum comparative to most forums, it is different. They have user ids they suggest members don't give out personal details due to security, and although they encourage some form of avatar, it's not obligatory. So this forum actually goes against the usual advice given on forums - it takes some getting used to.

Now you can sit there insulting me, indirectly or directly, all you want. It is of no concern to me. But please don't 'threaten' to leave the forum simply because you don't like one thread I am posting in and I have an interest in. There are many other threads sat there waiting for people to participate in and I am sure they would appreciate your input.

Well said Tony. You echo the thoughts that I have been having for some weeks now. This is no longer the place I joined with the people I came to enjoy spending time with. It now seems to be commandeered by the 'intellectuals' who spend all of their time showing us just how clever they are. We also now have a situation where SFN is virtually monopolised by someone who postulates numerous times a day whilst steadfastly refusing to show his/her face or tell us anything about his/herself .When asked by numerous members to show a face it throws a hissy & runs to Sir who with others apparently condones this. I don't agree with this & consider it to be extremely rude & contemptuous of other members. Having been suspended for reasons I'm still not sure about I have to be very careful in what I say now & because of this & the above I rarely post here. I find that the whole ethos of the place has changed recently & shall therefor be looking for another place to spend some time.

Edit. Tony's post seems to have disappeared but I leave my reply which is hopefully self explanatory.