Independent: ‘More than half of women are discriminated against at work’

Our thanks to Greg for pointing us to this gem in the Independent:

Greg asks:

What are they whining about? I thought that last year 98.7% of women were discriminated against in the workplace, and 45.2% of them experienced sexual harassment twice daily, after they’d made tea for their male colleagues? Things are clearly picking up for women in the workplace… it’s almost as if they LIKE whining!

The article, by Emily Dugan, might just get our vote for the most stupid newspaper article published this year relating to women in the workplace (and there’s lots of competition). Female journalists have a near-monopoly on reporting on this topic, and most of their articles are so absurd and divorced from reality they’re almost beyond parody. Almost. Let’s analyse the whole piece, which starts:

Almost a fifth of the women surveyed so far say that their careers have stalled because managers failed to promote them or offer training opportunities.

Let’s put that another way, shall we?

Over four fifths of the women surveyed so far say that their careers haven’t stalled because managers failed to promote them or offer training opportunities.

Hmm, that’s not quite so bad, is it? But of course it leaves aside the issue of women who haven’t been promoted because either:

There aren’t positions to be promoted to; or

They’re not well-qualified for promotion (never a problem for Entitlement Princesses)

The article continues:

The scale of workplace inequality still faced by millions of women has been laid bare by a survey that suggests more than half of female employees have experienced some form of discrimination at work.

The finding comes from the interim results of the most substantial survey ever conducted into the experiences of Britain’s female workforce. Project 28-40, undertaken by Opportunity Now, has already been completed by more than 25,000 women and aims to get to 100,000 before publishing its final results.

Hmm, I wonder what kind of woman would spend her valuable time completing such surveys? That’s right. The whiny kind. We hadn’t heard of ‘Opportunity Now’ before – it’s so difficult to keep up with the multitude of women’s whiny initiatives, and who in their right mind would try to? – but the strapline under the organisation’s logo is ‘Men – Women – Workplace’ which is obviously ironic given what their website says the organisation aims to do:

Opportunity Now is the campaign on gender diversity from Business in the Community. Opportunity Now aims to increase women’s success at work, because it’s not only good for business but good for society too.

Both ‘good for business’ and ‘good for society’ are plain wrong but I don’t need to explain why to regular visitors to this blog. Let’s look at the Leadership team, which has the sort of balance we’ve come to expect when women run things:

With a deep visceral groan, I note the chair of the Advisory Board is Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management. I do wish she’d spend more time at home with her nine children instead of working 24/7/365 in her bid to destroy the British business sector. She runs The 30% Club which aims to get major companies to increase female representation on their boards, regardless of the evidence showing financial decline will result. A third of FFTSE100 chairmen are members of the club. Why, those damnable patriarchs, keeping women down! The deputy chair of the Advisory Board is also a woman. Of the 16-strong Leadership team, 12 are women, including the Group HR Director of the Guardian Media Group, who looks more cheerful than you might expect of someone working for the Guardian. Back to the article:

Almost a fifth of the women surveyed so far say that their careers have stalled because managers failed to promote them or offer training opportunities. Just over one in 10 experienced sexual harassment. The insight follows the news that the gender pay gap is widening for the first time in five years, according to data from the Office for National Statistics released earlier this month.

There’s no evidence that any gender pay gap widening has anything to with firms paying women less than men for the same work (which I take to be the inference from this paragraph). Year after year it’s explained that the gap is fully accountable by differences in the professions men and women go into, levels of seniority, sizes of organisation, industry sectors, blah, blah, blah. I’m too tired to comment further on that matter. So, did the Independent go to a respected organisation to comment on the interim findings of the Opportunity Now report? No, they went to the Fawcett Society. Hmm, I wonder what those upbeat gals had to say?

Daisy Sands, policy and campaigns manager at the Fawcett Society, said: “Today’s findings present a stark reminder of the raft of deep inequalities that women continue to face in the UK labour market, well into the 21st century. Women continue to dominate in low-paid and undervalued work – two-thirds of those in minimum-wage jobs are women. Conversely, women are sorely lacking at the top tables of power – only 25 per cent of senior managers in the UK are women.”

Back to the article:

Some 81 per cent of women believe having children will affect their career progression…

No shit, Sherlock… sorry, Emily. Would men who took the same time out of the workplace have the same problem? Of course. Moving on:

… and more than two-thirds say society expects women to put their family before their job.

Hmm, no mention of Dr Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory (2000). Her research showed that while four in seven British men are ‘work-centred’, just one in seven British women is. Let’s move on:

Susan Himmelweit, an economist for the Women’s Budget Group, which analyses how women fare in the workplace, said: “Whenever there are pressures on people, as there are now – such as high unemployment – employers are in a better position to put more pressure on staff. Women with caring responsibilities have more difficulty with this [pressure]. Very often they’ve juggled things just to work and it’s more difficult for them to respond to changes. If it is a competitive environment then employers will think it’s not worth bothering with them.”

Professor Himmelweit said she believed the key to improving the gender gap lies in better rights for those who work part-time or flexibly. “What we really need is flexible working that the worker doesn’t have to pay for in some form,” she said. “The legislation on flexible working needs to become tougher so that those who have to use it are not discriminated against.”

Cool. In the interests of gender equality, should men who want to work flexibly not be discriminated against, too? Back to the article.

The Project 28-40 study found that 48 per cent of women had witnessed bullying or unfair treatment of a female colleague, but just 28 per cent said they had seen male colleagues suffer such abuse.

I’m losing the will to live now. We move onto some comments from a notorious gender feminist:

The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The battle for equality in the workplace is far from over. The gender pay gap got worse this year for the first time in many years, and spending cuts have hit women hard as many work in the public sector.”

Whoa, hold the horses. Two-thirds of public sector workers are women. Should the spending cuts have hit women less hard than men, so the proportion of women in the sector would increase? We can’t see any flaws in that argument. The genius continues:

“What really sets back women at work is becoming a mother. Career breaks, a period working part-time or simply the need to work sensible hours hold women back and limit job opportunities and promotion.”

‘What really sets back women at work is becoming a mother.’ Well, don’t become a mother, then.


3 thoughts on “Independent: ‘More than half of women are discriminated against at work’

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s