Kate Andrews is the news editor of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Her piece in the “Thunderer” section of today’s Times:
Like many women, I am sceptical of calling myself a feminist. While I have unending gratitude for the women who fought for my right to vote, my right to work and my right to treat my body as my own, I have little time for the modern-day movement that has zero grasp of the problems women still face.
Feminism today seems more interested in putting the Formula One “grid girls” out of a job than dealing with domestic violence and rape statistics. In its current form, it instinctively aligns with the radical left and for that reason most of us have stayed far away from it. But now I’m torn. As the illiberal nature of fourth-wave feminism creeps into public policy, it may be time to reclaim the ideology from the radicals.
To comply with the government’s new gender pay gap reporting measures, all large companies must file their data comparing men’s and women’s pay by tomorrow. Among their many failings, the reporting measures do not take into account job, background, education level, age or years of experience. Not only do these measures fail to reveal any information about men and women doing comparable work, they are perpetuating misinformation about the gender pay gap.
Companies such as Easyjet and Phase Eight have been lambasted for their respective 51.7 per cent and 64.8 per cent pay gaps. When broken down, these figures are not a result of unequal pay or gender discrimination but rather the mass hiring of women into their largest internal job sectors (cabin crew and retail).
But there is something more sinister than misleading data here. As the gender pay gap has deflated over the years, feminist groups have needed to skew statistics and omit information to keep the victimhood industry relevant. The message they want to spread ignores the accomplishments of working women and tries to recreate the bad old days of outrageous discrimination in the workplace. In other words: forget the official data, which shows positive news, such as women in part-time work earning on average more than men; the pay gap’s worse than before and you need us now more than ever.
The new reporting measures are worse than useless and the government should roll back this botched project immediately. And women should be working to reclaim the better side of feminism, rooted in fairness, equality and truth.
William Collins’s important blog piece on the gender pay gap is here. Spoiler alert:
The median gender pay gap is in favour of women for part-time employees, and has been for 20 years. Post-tax, for full-time employees, the gap has been in favour of women for a number of years.
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