Women and Equality

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Mububban, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    General topic for all things related to the topic of equality and women's rights.

    I'm a male feminist, if you will, and it saddens and disappoints me that in the year 2011AD, wome are still treated like second class citizens in so many ways. Sexist behaviour, sexual and physical violence, unequal pay, lack of top corporate positions etc etc. owever, are things as clear as some statistics would have us believe?

    Let's look at my little family as an example. My wife and I were on exactly equal pay before kids. We started a family and she left work 3 years ago to voluntarily be a stay at home mum, and she loves it. She does a far better job with the kids than I could do! By the time 2nd kid is school age she might work part time, but that will be 5-7 years of zero income for herself, thus no superannuation. When she returns it will likely be part time not full time. So how can she expect to earn the same over her career lifetime with a 7 year gap, and say another 3-5 years of part time not full time? However she loves being a mum and is in no rush to return to the workforce.
    Women are treated poorly in many areas, but some stats are not simply cut and dried.

    On the topic of unequal pay, I think it's disgraceful that women get paid less for doing the smae job as a man.
    But playing Devil's Advocate, would I as a boss want to invest 100% in a female employee if she's stated she wants to start a family in 2 years' time? Or would I promote a man who I think has more chance of staying with the company full time?

    Of course, if nobody ever had children, then as we grow older we'll have no young workers to look after us and be th tax-paying worker bees of the future.

    Without women, none of us would exist. Mothering is arguably the most important job of all, because a good or bad childhood can have a massive effect on the rest of your life. But western society still seems to view stay-at-home parents as being of lesser value to society.

    Do you think that society will ever view women as 100% equal?
     
  2. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    I believe in the equality of women and men but I also think that women should respect men and that in general,the rule of "the man is the hunter who brings food at home and the woman is the queen of the household" still exists in general and should in many ways exist.Without that meaning that women should stay at home and should not have any careers or dreams or ambitions.On the contrary I am attracted to ambitious and clever women.

    Still I love saying that old phrase "WOMAN!GO TO YOUR KITCHEN!" :p
     
  3. perspexacity

    perspexacity New Member

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    I don't view stay-at-home mothers as being of lesser value to society, but I can see why an employer would view a woman planning to leave/take many years off to start a family as less valuable as someone else dedicated to staying at the job, if only from an economical viewpoint (though, of course, men could decide to quit for their own reasons, too...).
    I agree with you in the importance of mothering; it's difficult but can be so incredibly influential. If a woman decides to take time to care for her baby, it's an unfortunate, but understandable, consequence that she will fall behind in terms of income and the company she works for. I'm not entirely sure this is the same as her being less valuable to society; she has chosen to direct her value somewhere else (her child). It can be a difficult decision. But I would equally value and respect stay-at-home fathers; it just seems it is the mother who decides to leave her job, whether that's influenced by law, biological imperative or tradition.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I think the problem with the 100% equality is that its a false truth. If you follow it through to its extreme end you end up with a society trying to make everything 100% equal for two genders which have, through genetics and also partly through upbringing, have mental and physical differences. I think that a proper society needs to view them with equal status, but also take into account the natural differences that commonly occur between them and to make allowances for them as such (for example males tend to be stronger, not always, but tend to).

    Things such as unequal pay for the same services are hangovers and things that I think should, and in time will, change since it is a case where both are outputting the same and yet one is biased against for no good reason.


    However the whole area of child birth is a quagmire of political correctness and extremist views which makes it not only a risky, but a tricky area to legislate. For a start the point has been outlined that, purely from an economic point of view, a young woman, likely to start a family, is going to be biased against by employers. They don't want someone who will, without fail, leave the company (whilst still on the pay roll) to have a child and then will make a slow return to work (and might not even come back full time ever to that position). If the person is in a low end position its not too bad; but if that person is a key cog in the company or has key skills suddenly an employer needs to consider hiring a temp worker to cover. Now your employer is paying for two and getting only one - this of course becomes even more troublesome if you get a small group of women suddenly all leaving for their families - suddenly you're getting holes in the company and in not just low level positions.

    Thus I think whilst we remain in a society that has the economy as the key part of functionality there will always be a bias toward younger women over younger men, especially in promotions to key positions within a company. The only way I can think of getting around that is a tax based method where society at large pays for the employer to allow them to replace the lost staff without additional cost to the company. That at least covers a companies costs, but still won't encourage early advancement of the younger women worker - even if you can replace not all key positions are easy to refill (eg key organisers within a company have a set method, change that person and it can cause a reduction in the output/efficacy as the new person tries to get into the originals seat)

    The other factor that we have to consider is health and the social make up. For better or worse the idea of a single partner in a relation ship being the (majority) breadwinner works because it allows the woman to focus on the family at a younger age. However these days we are seeing more and more families needing to have both partners being majority earners - furthermore when a women is in a working environment there is a pressure upon her not to start having a family just yet. This puts a cost on society later (at least in the UK where we have national health cover) and a threat to the women because starting child birth at a more advanced age increases the risks and also the possible need for medical support; especially if its her first time.

    I'm not going to try and give answers to all this or work around ideas; but simply outline some of the faults that I can see with the system as well as some of the basic differences that we have to take into account. Again I think that we won't ever and should not ever try to make everything 100% the same, because in doing so we ignore the potential of each gender to excel and we also create new problems for society. What we need is a fair system that takes into account all the merits of each and then tries to balance things out.
     
  5. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Seeing as we were both on identical money but my wife had better prospects for advancement in her career, we toyed with the idea of me being a stay-at-home dad which appealed to me. However once those hormones kicked in, there was no way she was going to leave her baby and go to work :D And I must say she's an amazing mother to our two kids.
     
  6. perspexacity

    perspexacity New Member

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    And, purely out of curiosity, how did you feel about leaving the baby to go to work?
     
  7. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    Where's Al Bundy to reply to this thread?

    Hahahahaha!
     
  8. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Very difficult. I had the first 2 weeks off work when each child was born. That first day I went back to work with our firstborn, I could see what a daunting challenge it was for my wife and I felt terrible closing that door and getting in the car. But it needed to be done :(

    Honestly, some days it's a relief to go to work, because working in my office is not emotionally draining and exhausting like looking after little kids and babies is.
     
  9. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    Yes. Yes, I think it will.

    In fact, we're pretty close. Much closer than we think.

    Based on the old values, women have come a long way. In various Western countries, women easily outstrip men for university degrees, for instance. That they don't quite hold the number of positions in the top spots is only a matter of time in my opinion. I would guess that there will always be more men in the top echelons, simply because there are more men going full-out for a successful career. But looking at the MD's, for instance, we're out for a female-driven healthcare system.

    But there are new values and skills involved as well. They all boil all down to empathy more or less, which is the chosen field of play for the women. The influence of emancipation is not only tangeable, it's day-to-day reality. I fully understand that females feel like they have been or, indeed, still are the underdog. And, from a historic perspective, rightly so. However, that doesn't match with current-day affairs in my experience.

    Is there nothing left to gain in this area? Well, yes and no. I think we already have achieved equality as such. Still, parts of society and - especially - economy have a masculine touch. I think the especially the economy could benefit from further promotion of female influence.
     
  10. ScreenXSurfer

    ScreenXSurfer Better Than You

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    I'm a standard feminist that believes there should be absolute equality between men and women in terms of social attitudes and acceptance.
     
  11. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

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    This is an interesting solution, OR!
    However, it might be hard to convince men to pay taxes in order for women to benefit and for men to be at a disadvantage. A lot of people don't even recognize the unequal treatment of men and women in employment.

    I hope society will evolve like this: More and more women will want to have a career, more and more men will stay home and raise the kid(s), or they will hire a nanny to help them out, bring the kid(s) to daycare, etc.. Eventually, there will be equally as much men staying home as women. The employers, realizing this, hopefully won't discriminate against women anymore.

    Who says that men don’t want to stay with their kid as much as women do? It’s just society deciding that it’s more “natural” for a woman to stay home and for a man to go work and “bring in the food”. The gender roles are changing now, and I think, maybe not in the near future, the way people look at gender roles will be more equal. It won’t happen overnight, but I do think it will happen. In my country, women only received the right to vote in 1948, and there has been so much progress ever since. In theory, we already are equal, but in reality, nor in our minds, we’re not quite there yet.

    Why not make everything 100% the same?
    I know there are differences, but if we’re going to keep highlighting these, gender stereotyping won't cease to exist. You have women being more “masculine” than most men and some men being more “effeminate” than some women. I spoke to a sociologist the other day, and he said that both groups are growing each day, eventually the distinction between “masculine” qualities and “feminine” qualities will not be relevant anymore.

    I do think, as I see ourselves in a transition period at the moment, there need to be some forms of positive discrimination, like using quota’s to increase women’s political presentation, but this should stop once the transition period is over.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Aye but I look at it like this - people already pay tax for other peoples healthcare, transport and education - each area being considered to be a key part of enabling the society as a whole to function to a specific level/standard of living whilst also preserving the society in general (eg cut out eduction and you'd quickly have a social shortfall of skilled or even basically skilled labour). Providing for maternal cover is, in my mind, still a part of that self same setup - healthcare wise people are already paying for the midwives so it makes sense to provide a level of cover that ensures that the whole process itself is covered for both the mother and the employer.


    As for the 100% equal part - in my minds eye its wrong to try to bring society to a point where we regard males and females as being equal components. I dislike this because its building on the concepts that eduction is beginning, which is that each person is considered to be 100% equal.
    My view isn't so much toward the rights of these people, but more toward the mental and physical differences within those groups as a whole and also down to the individual as well. At present we've the mindset to try and force everyone to view and be at least equal or better than equal in the system which presents the dangerous view that if you are not equal to the system standard then you are below the standard. In education in America (for example) this manifests itself in the move toward more usage of drugs on children to improve their attention span and thus meet the equal standard in education.

    Myself I feel that this approach neglects to look for the advantages in a the group (eg male and female) and instead builds itself closer and closer toward catering for the lowest common denominator. In the employment world we see this appearing as the concept that an employer MUST employ a certain % of female workers to ensure the equality is met - this means that the values of the individuals applying for the job (both the men and the women) are now out the window as the target % quota must be met. This might ensure that there is an even spread of male and female employees, but totally ignores other factors such as the nature of the work - the social dynamics of the working groups within that company etc.... It also works against itself because it can result in female workers being promoted when of a lesser skill to the company simply to meet the % quota - to my mind this can only serve to breed a resentment and work backward in reverting toward a male female divide.
     
  13. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    I think equal pay, benefits & career progression should be a given but I don't think it should be a function of society to compensate couples for their decision to start a family or the choices they make on childcare in the name of gender correctness.

    Most countries now have maternity & paternity rights as standard and provided the individual(s) return to work the only 'loss' they should have experience is the difference between their normal pay and any reduced level they received whilst off work and any opportunities they may have missed in the interim. Similarly most european countries will not allow discrimination on the basis of sex or suitability for a role assessed on whether they could become childbearing ~ having interviewed a lot of people I can assure you that the subject is taboo unless you want to be in an employment tribunal!

    The couple themselves should have worked out who will look after the child ~ him, her or childcare ~ and communicated that to their employers. The state can provide some support such as child benefits and (UK) credits towards state pension entitlements for carers but the taxpayer is not responsible for paying women to reproduce or indirectly doing so by paying employers, the couple are.

    I do believe that on occasion striving for equality has totally the opposite effect. A recent example of this is the recent ruling by the EU on insurance policy pricing. Male and female drivers now have to be charged the same even though they represent a totally different claim risk ~ women's premiums rose sharply to subsidise the more accident prone men just so premiums could be broadly equal. Way to go EU!
     
  14. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

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    I'm pro the quotas for powerful and political positions, for these two reasons:
    1.It is a reality that only a ridiculously small percentage of senior management positions are occupied by women and the biggest reason for this is that these men appoint people from their (all-male) networks and connections.
    2. I've read an article by researchers that investigated the effects of women in senior management positions. They found that the optimum for the governance of a company consists of a shared male and female management.
    So not only is it more fair, it's also good for the company, whether they realize it or not.
    I'd like to see legislation passed similar to Norway's legislation: 40% of the seats on company boards have to be filled by women.

    About the merit-argument, I think this article published in The Economic Times says it best: