Andrew Little, White Knight, Jousts For Women’s Salaries
Mr Little claimed that he could not think of any reason that female public servants in leadership roles were currently being paid 8% less than men in similar positions. (Or was it 14%? The article threw around several figures.) Little blamed the average salary difference on ‘a lack of leadership’ on the part of the State Services Commission, implying that the difference reflected sexism against women.
Mr Little surely must be disingenuous in this. The income comparison was spurious because it did not mention the relative experience and qualification levels of the men and women involved. Women tend to take time out of their careers for child birthing and nurturing so can be expected to have less experience on average. Incomes for public servants tend to be based on experience. Is Mr Little not intelligent enough to recognize this?
What Andrew Little is actually suggesting is a system of gender inequality in which women are paid more than men for any given level of experience and qualifications.
The fact is that if any woman public servant were being paid less in the same job than a man with the same experience and qualifications, that would be against the law. She would complain and quickly have her salary adjusted.
The article made it clear that the gender salary difference has been varying from year to year. That is entirely consistent with a varying factor such as the average level of qualification and experience of those employed at any one time. It is not consistent with an explanation involving sexism that would not be likely to move upwards and downwards from year to year.
If women public servant managers are paid less on average and this is due to lower levels of experience and/or qualifications (and, given the law, there really can be no other reason), then this implies that women are being promoted to managerial roles at lower qualification and experience levels than men are. Why would feminists and white knights object to that?
There is justification for recognizing women’s contribution as child-birthers and primary nurturers, but should such recognition be shown through an unequal gender formula for employers to determine salaries at any given level of qualification and experience? It may make more sense for such recognition to be shown transparently through a state subsidy.
Equal Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue was quoted as saying “New Zealand’s changing face needs to be reflected equally across the state sector from the boardroom down.” If so, then where are her policies that will see as many women dying in dangerous jobs as men? And where are her policies to get more women wrecking their bodies for low wages in sewers, on rubbish trucks, fishing boats, abattoirs, industries using toxic chemicals, cutting down large trees, handling dangerous loads, digging holes etc? She may well not really mean what she says. For feminists, gender equality in employment only applies to privilege and high pay. And even then, as shown here, it actually means ‘gender inequality in favour of females’.