Mothers earn less than non-mothers, fathers more than non-

The BBC has a radio programme about the gender pay gap today. Fortunately, as the opening paragraph of this Guardian article by the maker shows, we don’t have to listen to it. Because she’s simply not got the basics of the subject under discussion:

We never hear politicians or pundits arguing that men should be paid more than women. Yet this reality is fundamental to the organisation of our society. The mean gender pay gap for full-time work runs at 14.1%, rising to 18.4% if part-time work is included. And these pay gaps are just one aspect of the unequal division of wealth between the sexes.

It’s a decade now since the Statistics Ombudsman told us all that we should not use the mean here. For that places much too much weight upon the very few who earn very large incomes. In fact we shouldn’t use the mean when we’ve a distribution bounded upon one end and not upon the other. We don’t record negative incomes in our wage or income statistics, even though such obviously do exist – we can’t explain bankruptcy without that now, can we? There’s also no obvious upper limit upon incomes. We are thus abjured not to use the mean, we should use the median.

Emma Griffin is professor of modern British history at the University of East Anglia

So much for the UEA and their professor of modern history’s command of basic statistics.

We also shouldn’t be mixing and matching the concept of a flow – income – and that of a stock – wealth. That’s another economic no no. Therefore, obviously, we don’t need to listen to the programme which is a relief.

When we look at how men’s and women’s labour has been rewarded in the past, we are forced to drop that comforting assumption. For hundreds of years, virtually all work has been segregated by gender, and men have always been paid more. Occasionally men did physically demanding work, which might command a wage premium.

Yes, as we knew it would, it does get worse. From, say and around and about, 6,000 BC up to perhaps 1850 or so the majority – the vast majority at the beginning then tapering down – of people were peasants. Farming the fields that is, straight agricultural labour. Which is indeed a matter of muscular heft. There are of course women who can handle an ox-drawn plough, Flemish farmers are famous for seeking them out as wives. But they’re in short supply even in Belgium. The gender division of labour is not some imposition by The Man, it’s, or at least it was, innate in the gender disparity of the human form. Especially in those millennia when an adult woman would, likely as not, spend her entire adult life either pregnant or lactating.

That cultural practice has lagged the change in technology is not exactly a great sociological finding even if it does come as a surprise to a historian or two.

No, no need to listen to this programme at all. Even if we might want to ponder why our taxes are spent upon making it – and yes, the BBC licence fee is a tax, Gordon Brown said so.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Completely O/T, but now I have to switch JS off simply to access the site (if I don’t want a blocking gray front page that insists I either “join” or “sign in”)?

    I’m guessing that’s not intended?

  2. Shut the BBC/C4 down for good in 24 hours flat.

    Pay ordinary folk –techs/tea ladies etc,–their redundancy.

    The CM boss class, their hench-luvvies and all the rest–standard terms . Out with nothing/pensions confiscated.

    We are paying for the 24 hour spewing of cultural marxism in our homes. 24 hour propaganda on behalf of socialism. A death cult that has murdered 150 million human beings and ruined the lives of hundreds of millions more.

    Shut it down. Shut it down now.

  3. Occasionally men did physically demanding work, which might command a wage premium.

    It might. Or it might not. I am pretty sure that working as a bin man is more physically demanding that sitting in an air conditioned studio spouting boll0cks. But for some reason women prefer the latter – and get better paid.

    Women are simply shaking down the gutless spineless males who run Britain. These pathetic White Knights will throw money at any woman who hates them in the vain hope of winning approval from their long dead mothers. Whereas the sensible response is to say “shut the f**k up”. And maybe “go make me a sandwich”.

  4. About greed.

    1 Timothy 6:6-10
    6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    plus,

    UK’s right wing press has been ‘over the moon’ because the government has finally balanced its current budget this year, meaning that borrowing is only being used to finance investment.

    There are two problems with this though. The first is it has only happened at cost to the millions of people in the UK who are now considerably worse off than they need be, some of whom have been pushed into serious poverty as a result, including many families with children.

    The second fact is that this austerity has left us ill-equipped to deal with the future. We are a nation with low stocks of physical, intellectual and human capital because investment has been so low in both the state and private sectors; both being the result of a crushing of demand from the state sector.

    Third, we are not making the transition that is needed to a low carbon economy that meets the needs of our ageing and changing population as a result.

    Fourth, With further austerity planned, and a massive round of further cuts in benefits just about to be introduced, those in precarious situations are about to get more vulnerable still.

    Fifth, all of this is before Brexit.

    What we have seen, and are seeing is the madness of an economic philosophy that says that government expenditure (G) must equal tax income (T) when in practice we know that as borrower of last resort the government has to take any savings offered to it. These savings are often called government debt, but that’s only because any deposit taker owes the funds they hold back to those who have placed them with them for safe custody. To eliminate these borrowings the government has than had to shrink the economy to ensure excess funds are not sent its way.

    This is, and has always been, the economics of the mad house. Rather than accept that the short term consequence of any growth in an environment of uncertainty (as we have) is more saving, which the government has a duty to absorb and which it could do at present at no net cost at all because real interest rates are so low, the government has instead crushed growth and so any prospect of improved well-being for most people in this country out of the system.

    And that’s what it seems to want to continue to do, with the right wing press making that one of the centre pieces of its demands. As economic narratives go this one is crushing, quite literally.

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk

    • 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

      Says the f**kwit who is purple with envy at the thought of other people’s money – to the extent that he has built a career lying about how much some companies have and how morally right it is to take it away from them.

      The love of money is the root of all evil. So stop picking on Cafe Nero and be content with what you have. Hypocrite.

  5. Taking two problems wages and housing costs. Gender wise the male half take home more than the female half. That seems to be a big problem for some. Housing affordability is another problem which is not unrelated to salary. So do the males have an advantage there? For each strata of income what is the housing enjoyed by each gender. Is there a gender housing gap?