355 days of men’s day

by Jinryu

I was riding home in the car with [CM] and, on the radio, it was pointed out that day is “Women’s Day”. The radio announcer was basically in a bad mood because, really, it’s a pretty embarrassing thought that you need to have this one day to remind people to appreciate women, think about how far they’ve come, and then think about how much further they still have to go. Sure, okay, whatever. Baby steps, I guess. Making a big deal about it is what gets more people involved in the conversation to begin with, and it is one of those things that everyone has to go through the motions of before they can understand it.

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I know it’s not exactly constructive to talk down on existing feminist discourse, but in the long run, I think a point needs to be made that feminism is hardly a united front. There are so many different ways to approaching it that it is, quite simply, difficult to even understand what women are aiming for.

Even to that, a lot of people will  suggest “equality” is the end-goal of femminism– but even that isn’t agreed upon. Why not aim for higher in certain respects? And is it even possible, given the fundamental biological differences?  Maybe the whole conversation is artificial?

Of course it is— it is all very artificial. Maybe necessarily so.

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I don’t really have a solution to gender inequality.

I delivered a seminar on the effects of pay-secrecy on the gender payment gap in Australia a few weeks ago. Parliament is currently debating a bill which aims to make pay-secrecy provisions unenforceable. That is to say, the current position at law is thtat employers can (and do) often put in provisions into employment contracts where it is considered a breach of the contract to discuss your pay with anyone. The effect of this of course is to gag discussions. While the original idea might have been to give employers an edge in negotiations, or perhaps to pump of the prestige of various roles, the undiable effect of this tradition (especially in top level exec positions) is that the actual pay gap between men and women has been very difficult to quantify to date. All the numbers, such as the suggestion that Australian women on average earn 18% less than men, are based on incomplete staistics due to current pay-secrecy provisions. That is to say, for all the “progress” we’ve made in the past several years, we might just find out that the numbers are still worse than we even thought.

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