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Actuality of Sexism and Racism

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barbados
1243059.  Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:38 am Reply with quote

Jon Holmes was on the radio this morning discussing the comments that he was supposed to have made regarding this matter. It would appear that "BBC pay gap may be caused by women using agents who are 'not as tough' " the reported "BBC pay gap may be caused by women using female agents who are 'not as tough' "

It's only one word, but it certainly changes the meaning of the comment

 
L on earth
1243062.  Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:58 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

I'm happy to admit that neither approach is a perfect solution. The problem with option 1) is obvious in that it is unfair on many people. However, the problem with option 2) is that, while it will eventually fix the problem in a few generations, it does very little to address the problems of the people who are living today with the consequences of discrimination in the past.


I've also got pretty mixed feelings about positive discrimination, but I think there's also an argument for it in providing representation and reducing future discrimination.

I think the first is more relevant for the BBC; if young women think that it is going to be harder for them to reach the top jobs and get paid as much as men in the field, they're more likely to reconsider pursuing the career. Promising that it will be better in the future probably isn't going to make much of a difference there.

The second point I hope is becoming less relevant, but, in my experience, male seniors are far more likely to mentor and offer opportunities to male juniors. I think that's partially because they are more likely to see themselves in them, but also because forging a close relationship with a more junior woman can often lead to assumptions of impropriety.

I don't think that anyone's arguing for women to be hired in place of men who are wildly more qualified for the position, but I think where there's a choice between two good candidates in a male-dominated field, there should probably be an inclination towards a female candidate.

 
suze
1243071.  Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:25 am Reply with quote

L on earth wrote:
I don't think that anyone's arguing for women to be hired in place of men who are wildly more qualified for the position, but I think where there's a choice between two good candidates in a male-dominated field, there should probably be an inclination towards a female candidate.


As you're a relative newcomer here you may not know this, but most readers will be aware that I'm an English teacher.

School teaching is one of the relatively few industries which is female dominated. 85% of primary school teachers are women (DfE), and about one primary school in four has no man teacher. Even in secondary schools 62% of teachers are women, and the men tend to be concentrated in a handful of what have traditionally been perceived as "boys' subjects". (Notably Chemistry and Physics, Math, Boys' PE, and Woodwork and Metalwork.)

There are several reasons for this. Teaching is one of the rather few jobs which was always open to married women, so it's perhaps no great surprise that a lot of married women do it. Arguably - I have no strong opinion on this, but you'll find people who do on both sides of the question - the skills needed for primary school teaching in particular are more likely to be possessed by women. And, sad a fact as this is, some men are put off the industry by fear of being falsely accused of sexual impropriety by girls. (This is not as common as some would have you believe, but it does happen.)

There was a point at which my faculty didn't have a single male teacher, and I didn't especially like it. Even less did I like one member of my faculty tellling me that I was the "honorary man" because I don't suffer fools gladly and have been known to say so in words of four letters. (While those things are true of me, the notion that only a man will tell an intelligent but lazy pupil to pull her something finger out is of a bygone era.)

Is so-called positive discrimination in favour of male would-be teachers more acceptable, less acceptable, or just the same as discrimination in favour of women in male-dominated industries?

Is your answer different as regards single sex schools? Unfortunately, Teach First apparently thinks that it is, and apparently believes that single sex schools should have single sex teaching staffs. If that isn't what it meant when it said "The profession should reflect the make-up of the classroom", it should have thought a bit harder before it said so.

 
L on earth
1243073.  Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:19 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

Is so-called positive discrimination in favour of male would-be teachers more acceptable, less acceptable, or just the same as discrimination in favour of women in male-dominated industries?


A fair point, but I think there's an important distinction; I may be wildly generalising (and potentially incorrect- happy to hold my hands up if so!) here, but female-dominated industries don't seem to have the same level of barrier to male entry as male-dominated industries do for women. The top dogs also tend to still be men; despite it being a mostly female workforce, secondary school headteachers are still mostly men.*

However, I do personally think that where a school has mostly female teachers, appointing a male teacher over a similarly qualified female teacher would be a reasonable course of action; I think that it benefits all children to have both male and female role models (and yes, in single sex schools too).

* http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39502068

 
AlmondFacialBar
1243076.  Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:45 am Reply with quote

Only of course in some cases you also have a serious lack of applicants of the less common gender, which might well need looking into. My particular corner of my generally male dominated industry is female dominated and at this stage we interview just about any male regardless of CV quality just to get a wee bit more gender parity - unsuccessfully because 99% of those guys turn out to be complete and utter shit. Why that is? No idea, but I'd love to know.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
barbados
1243078.  Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:49 am Reply with quote

It could be because you are interviewing based on gender rather than ability ;)

 
suze
1243089.  Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:47 pm Reply with quote

L on earth wrote:
The top dogs also tend to still be men; despite it being a mostly female workforce, secondary school headteachers are still mostly men.


Yes. Even in primary schools, one third of heads are men. The number of primary schools where the only male member of staff is the Head is in four digits.

Again one could advance all sorts of reasons for this, but one of them is in fact women teachers. If you were to ask one hundred female teachers which sex they would prefer their Head to be, I'd anticipate that more than half who expressed a preference would prefer a man. Governors don't want to piss their teachers off if they can help it, so they might thus tend to appoint a man.

I don't care either way, but my Head is a woman. Like me, she doesn't suffer fools gladly and her vocabulary tends to the Anglo-Saxon, so we get on very well. This would be the case whichever sex either of us happened to be.

L on earth wrote:
However, I do personally think that where a school has mostly female teachers, appointing a male teacher over a similarly qualified female teacher would be a reasonable course of action; I think that it benefits all children to have both male and female role models (and yes, in single sex schools too).


I sort of want to agree, much as what you suggest is probably illegal. Twice I've hired a new teacher for my Faculty with an (unspoken) preference for a man.

Once I couldn't do it, because the only man who was called for interview was a waste of space. I do not appreciate a man half my age addressing me "Alright mate"; "Good morning" or "Hello" work rather better. A man will not be teaching in my classrooms without a tie, so wear one to the interview.

But once I did do it, and the man I hired has proved excellent. (Just to prove that I'm not completely stuck in my parents' era, he presented at interview wearing an earring, and indeed he wears one in class. One of the governors wanted to use that as a reason not to hire him, but I completely fail to have an issue with it.)


AFB wrote:
Only of course in some cases you also have a serious lack of applicants of the less common gender, which might well need looking into.


This is very much an issue in schools, especially primary schools and girls' schools. Whether it would be possible to change it even with positive discrimination I'm not sure. Imprisonment of girls who make false allegations against male teachers might be altogether more helpful, but I'm not holding my breath.

 
Leith
1243164.  Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:11 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Teaching is one of the rather few jobs which was always open to married women, so it's perhaps no great surprise that a lot of married women do it.


Not always in the UK. My grandmother had to leave her teaching job on her marriage in the mid-1940s, if I remember right.

From what I've read, it seems that marriage bars were the norm in the teaching profession from the early 1920s. They were subsequently outlawed in the Education Act of 1944, but were still enforced through social pressure (and perhaps historical contracts) for some time after that.

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00002550.htm
http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/23rd-august-1946/2/the-marriage-bar

 
PDR
1243166.  Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:01 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

Just as a datum point, this is no longer the case. It seems the BBC have brought in changes to their contracts to plug this tax loophole, which perhaps explains why Ms Bruce wound up her company last year and is now a full-time employee of the Beeb.


I didn't know that, and concede the point.

Quote:

Although, given the figures we're discussing seem to go back some unspecified amount of time, I'm guessing it's likely the figures cover the period in which she was partaking in this nefarious activity.


As I didn't know it I can't reasonably claim this excuse for for what my a-level maths teacher used to call "cumulative corrective error convergence" (ie coming to the right answer by a completely invalid sequence of steps!)

:0)

Quote:

Can you explain to me the difference between "skewed" and "biased".


Hmmm...I thought I was employing a common usage, but some reading appears to suggest that it was only common to me, so apols for that. To me "skewed" essentially means someone's analysis has been influenced by factors that he/she wasn't aware of whcih, had they been aware of them, would have led them to produce a different result or even a different conclusion. Whereas "biased" would be similar EXCEPT that the person doing the analysis was aware of (or was eve the source of) the influencing factor, so it was intentional.

Consider someone doing a study on car speeds on a stretch of 40mph road in July compared to a similar study conducted the previous December. They conclude that on average people are driving significantly faster. One of the factors in that result is the way that in the summer foliage has obscured the speed limit sign - that skews the results. If the researcher had KNOWN that the signs were obscured in the second study but had not cleared the foliage before starting the study then the results would be biased. Not a good analogy, but I guess my point is that in my view it focuses around intent.

Quote:

That's fair enough. However, if you're not sure that the awarding system is unbiased, then it's not a very good datum point to bring into a discussion about possible bias. It would be a bit like saying "They're clearly different people since Huw Edwards has twice won the Best Dressed Man award, and Fiona Bruce has never won it." True, but not terribly relevant.


True enough, but then I did suggest it might be one of many such indicators rather than the sole basis of the decision. In any organisation/professional hierarchy the closer to the top you are the more the expectations and consequent remuneration are based on personal performance and achievement. We have a new CEO, and he published his objectives and package details in his first intranet blog (he wants everyone to know what it is he has been brought in to do, so what "success" and "failure" will look like). His salary is in the same ballpark as Chris Evans, but nearly 90% of it is contingent on achievement of objectives. Achieving the easier ones will see him netting less than Fiona Bruce.

I guess the point I'm making is that at the level most of these people are operating there are no direct equivalencies between jobs, so we can't just assume there's a problem because two people get different salaries. But I do agree that the "top 100 pay packages" show more than 60/40 skew on gender (I've picked 60/40 out of the air as being my guess on what a chance variance in that sort of size population might look like).

Quote:
I agree with this statement 100%.


Damn. Can I have another go at it?

Quote:
The two approaches you describe are basically 1) positive discrimination and 2) ruthless anti-discrimination from now on.

I'm happy to admit that neither approach is a perfect solution. The problem with option 1) is obvious in that it is unfair on many people. However, the problem with option 2) is that, while it will eventually fix the problem in a few generations, it does very little to address the problems of the people who are living today with the consequences of discrimination in the past.

I've previously always been uneasy about positive discrimination, but seeing those two options makes me realise there's a definite strong argument in favour of it. Unless and until someone can come up with a third option that fixes everything with no down sides :)


I respect your view, but I've always been deeply uncomfortable with any attempt to justify doing bad things by saying the end result will be good. This may be a consequence of my family history, but it runs very deep. A while back it got me into trouble when I reacted rather extremely to yorz's suggestion that we could allow torture of prisoners in certain specific circumstances where the resulting information was desperately needed. To me positive discrimination will always fall into this category, and no matter how I try I can't see it otherwise, so I guess we'll never agree on this one!

PDR

 
Strawberry
1243170.  Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:15 am Reply with quote

PDR: I don't mean to argue with you but I think that the 3rd sentence of your last paragraph was a bit much. I don't see the point in bringing things up.

 
'yorz
1243172.  Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:01 am Reply with quote

PDR's rather selective memory has been noted before. That, plus the fact that he is a immature, vindictive, git.

 
Spud McLaren
1243173.  Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:14 am Reply with quote

I have a machine for making popcorn, in case we run out ...

 
PDR
1243175.  Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:46 am Reply with quote

Strawberry wrote:
PDR: I don't mean to argue with you but I think that the 3rd sentence of your last paragraph was a bit much. I don't see the point in bringing things up.


I only included it to illustrate that this has always been a consistent position for me rather than something I've suddenly developed a sensitivity about or a view that is confined to this one narrow topic.

yorz:
What is it that you are suggesting is a "selective memory thing", and when has it been noted before?

PDR

 
Alfred E Neuman
1243191.  Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:48 pm Reply with quote

Seriously? You're going there yet again? Are you some kind of moron, or just trolling?

 
GuyBarry
1243194.  Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:20 am Reply with quote

I have no idea what all this is about but would note the following:

Quote:
The only place on the internet where you'll find people intelligent enough to discuss current affairs and hot topics without descending into flame wars.


Perhaps the moderators would like to review the above billing?

 

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