Just in time for International Women’s Day we’ve proof perfect that we don’t in fact have a problem. For we’ve – not that Zoe realises it of course – an insistence that the welfare state is pro-women. Something which is true. So, if the world of employment is slightly anti-women and the welfare state is pro-women then we’re done aren’t we?
However, looking like a good person relative to Jacob Rees-Mogg is not yet enough to make you a feminist. Tories cannot truly be feminist, because their decisions impact women most. When you roll back the duties of the state, whether in paying its public-sector workers or providing social care or a safety net, the resultant burden falls disproportionately on women.
If the burden of reducing the state falls mainly upon women then the benefits of the current state must accrue mainly to women. We’ve thus neatly solved that anti-women bias of the non-state part of the economy.
The usual claim is that there’s a gender pay gap, for full timers, of 9.6%. As has been pointed out again and again this is driven by the different choices of mothers and fathers concerning the arrival of little bundles of joy. OK – but the why doesn’t matter to some, only that an imbalance exists. Fair enough, thus we want to have some balancing item. Enter that state with taxes and benefits.
Men do indeed earn that 9.6% more on average. Given our progressive taxation system they therefore pay more in tax. Given a benefits system which pays more to those on lower incomes, less to those on higher, women gain more from the spending side of that equation. Excellent, we’ve therefore neatly solved the original problem.
Pay and or earnings for men and women may be unequal. But we’re already compensating for this in our tax and benefits system to equalise – perhaps – actual consumption of men and women. This must be so, at least in part, if reducing that state part’s burden falls mainly upon women. Zoe has therefore proved to us that we’re already doing something. Not that she realises it of course, this being male logic, mansplaining even.
We need thus to bring Worstall’s Fallacy into play. The only question left is well, how much more, or less, of this do we need to do? Something which would require accurate calculation of the effects of what we already do. Anyone ever seen that? The imbalance in taxes paid, welfare received, by gender, with a comparison of that to any earnings gap by gender?
No, I didn’t think so, although that is what we need to know, isn’t it?