BBC and Tesco: The gender pay gap debate. Encouraging extremism?

More and more I read about X and Y corporations and their unfair pay distinctions within in their organizations. I listened to the arguments on Question Time about the difficulty in distinguishing the value of different types of work, and also MP Emily Thornberry's viewpoint that it was always women's jobs that were underpaid.

Please note that I used the term 'underpaid' and not undervalued'! This is important to my viewpoint. You see I agree with BOTH of the above. BY Emily Thornberry's calculation, the blame falls on those that undervalue women, while Richard Tice pointed out the difficulties of comparing job values.

Once again I agree with both, but also once again they're missing the point. Pay isn't decided by a group of people who may be pro-men that said,"let's underpay women!" It was more a question of negotiating tactics and strength. Take a hypothetical job interview. In such interviews for an executive job, say candidates fall into two groups: an experienced group of white men or a well-educated and equally experienced group of black women. When the results show that on average the white men are paid more, you could say the interview panel are biased. On the other hand you could simply say that the black women settled much quicker and for a lower salary. That the second method is the way of the world with salaries, and even job descriptions; is borne out when when compares the salaries of like for like. Some men are paid less (or others more) when doing the same job. It is the way of the world.

More accurately, it is the way of business (call it capitalism), but if I was to suggest that government or legislation should determine the salaries of different types of jobs I would be stoned, but isn't that what we are discussing here?

It's all a mater of negotiation, but before we pass final judgement about who/ how to decide, let us also consider the case of Jeremy Corbyn and his case to limit the salary of top executives or even the salaries of top entertainers and sportspeople. There is now the case to show restraint on all of the above and not simply leave it to market forces and/ or negotiating tactics.

Emilline Pankhurst became a heroine of the feminist movement. Another way to look at it was that she was a great negotiator that garnered and shaped popular opinion on her side. 100 years ago the first women entered parliament and the same principle has held true for anyone that has ever won anything for anybody. Whether it was equal pay for women's sports, equal pay for equal jobs, equal opportunity for disabled, blacks or even the Irish Good Friday agreement. So don't take it personally ladies, just continue the fight and hit back - and this also holds true for every group out there trying to negotiate.

But it also raises another important issue. How far is too far in the tactics used to gain attention and strengthen one's argument? Is chaining oneself to the railings too far? Is breaking in to a zoo by animal activists too far? Is bombing the underground too far? Is excrement through a letterbox too far? Are threats (even idle ones) too far?

This is definitely something that needs to be investigated, discussed and regulated ... BUT TAKE CARE! Isn't this just a way of limiting the negotiating strength of the pressure group (be they women, trade unions or political activists)?

So now we recognize that any such methodological legislation needs to have two sides, one for the pressure group and one for the defenders (let's call them then status quo). Failure to have a balanced legislation is to bias the argument and by extension, to encourage extremist behaviour by the pressure group. I really don't know how one would legislate such a matter, but I am sure of a few things.

Firstly, attempts to conduct such proceeding quietly without public involvement may not always be beneficial. Sometimes the public needs to weigh-in on the subject as indeed does the church for moral issues. Secondly, allowing matters simply to be settled through compromises (without acceptance of guilt) and out of court is not solving anything it is simply kicking the can down the road. Case in point, how many women settled out of court on harassment and signed non-disclosure agreements over the years before the Weinstein issue brought everything to a boiling point? If it was up to me I would simply declare all non-disclosure agreements as valueless whether paid for and accepted or just signed.

So people, let's hear from you!


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