Friday, 23 October 2015

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism – Part 6 – Discussion of Assumptions

Author: Blaise Wilson

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Series:

Part 1 – Factors to be Controlled: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem1.html
Part 2- Assumptions: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem2.html
Part 3 – Freeing Women's Time and Money: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/outcomeoutcomefem3.html
Part 4 – Cultural Pressure : http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/outcomeoutcomefem4.html
Part 5 – Discrimination: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/outcomeoutcomefem6.html
Part 6 – Discussion of Assumption 6: This article
Part 7 - Discussion of Assumption 1: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/the-outcome-of-outcome-feminism-part-7.html
Part 8 - The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Conclusion:  http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/outcomeoutcomefem8.html
Part 9 - Campaigns and Action: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/outcomeoutcomefem9.html
Abstract/TLDR

In this article the Outcome Feminist assumption [23] that gender is a purely social construct, and that biology does not play a role in the choices of men and women is investigated. The evidence indicates that there are biological differences which impact men's and women's career choices. These are reflected in the current trends of careers as discussed in the factors of the Wage Gap [22]. Thus many of the suggested solutions will be ineffective and using ratios of gender as indicators of discrimination is invalid.

Introduction

In this sixth part of the Outcome of Outcome Feminism series assumption 6 from part 2 [23] will be investigated. This was the key assumption which many of the suggested solutions use as a foundation. If this assumption is proved false the ratio of gender as a measurement will not be a suitable indicator of discrimination.

Only assumption 6 (gender is a social construct) is discussed in this article. The next article will discuss Assumption 1. The other assumptions will not be investigated.

“Assumption 6: Gender is a social construct. There is no biological sexual dimorphism in humans [3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10].

This assumes there is no difference between the wants and needs of men and women. All women want the same jobs, and hours as men. Women don't choose to be stay at home mothers or jobs that earn less, or to work less hours – they are forced into these roles though old fashioned cultural pressure and discrimination.” [15]

Despite the large number of Outcome Feminist resources making this assumption [3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10] there was very little evidence of them questioning it's validity. It boils down to a 'nature versus nurture' argument. This complex topic is the focus of ongoing debate. However the only element of interest is 'does nature have any impact on choice?' If gender is purely a social concept we should see no difference between men and women. They should have identical biology which will translate into identical choices. Different biology will indicate a difference in drivers that influence choices, which in turn will affect the Gender Wage Gap.

While looking for the supporting evidence from feminist outlets it became clear there is very little, if any, scientific data behind the assumption. Feminist education on the subject do not touch on the debate between nature and nurture [17]. This puts the students in a dangerous position of being indoctrinated into an ideology without any consideration to alternative views.

From Feminism 101 [18] “Gender is socially instilled rather than biologically determined, but so is religion.” This statement is not supported by any scientific references but makes the statement that gender is akin to money. If we all stopped accepting money it would no longer have any influence on our social structure. Money only works because we all agree it has value and act accordingly. If we all agreed there are no differences between the genders, would this be a reality?

How far is gender a social construct and or a biological one? This is a very interesting question, however it is out of scope for this article. The question we are interested in is 'are there biological differences between men and women that may influence their choices.' We are not interested in 'how much', simply a black and white answer. If biology has any influence at all, then gender can not be 100% socially constructed as the Outcome Feminists put forth.

Although there maybe more differences, for the sake of time only three will be investigated. This will not be a complete comparison – only enough to establish there are some biological differences between men and women that may impact their average choices. The three areas covered are:
  • physical
  • hormonal
  • mental
Physical

“The physiological differences between the sexes disadvantage women in strength-based and aerobic fitness tests by 20 to 40%; so for the same output women have to work harder than men. Despite the differences, there will be some women, amongst the physical elite who will achieve the entry tests for [Ground Close Combat] roles. But these women will be more susceptible to acute short term injury than men.” [19, p4]

As demonstrated by the UK Army there is a significant difference between the average man and average women, although there is an overlap between them. Men and women are not physical identical. This will influence the roles they choose to play in society through their career. Women will be less likely to select roles that require physical labour as they are at a disadvantage to their male peers, although this will not deter all women.

Hormonal

In a study on mice at the University of California San Francisco [20] showed a clear link between hormones, genetic expression, and behaviour. By influencing the hormones they could impact the behaviour of the animal:

“Female mice in the laboratory normally exhibit what one might consider classic motherly behaviors—mating with male mice and nurturing their young. But female mice with a genetic trait making them unable to sense the hormone estrogen lose their interest in sex and spend less time caring for their offspring.” A similar experiment on testosterone produced equivalent results for male mice.

Hormonal theory is often used in gender reassignment to influence behaviours of humans, demonstrating a clear link between hormones and behaviour. As men and women have different levels of testosterone and estrogen this provides strong evidence that men and women will have different behaviours, which will impact their choices. The hormone estrogen will influence women to place caring for their offspring as a higher priority than men. This will impact career choices by a biological influence making women more likely than men to choose to be stay at home parents.

Mental

“Recent studies highlight a long-held suspicion about the brains of males and females. They're not the same” [21] this website goes on to highlight that women's brains tend to focus on language, indicating the are genetically predisposed to social skills compared to men. There are many other differences, but this key point in itself explains why women have a higher tenancy to prefer social jobs, and this is reflected in their career choices.

Do Current Trends Support Biological Influence?

If biology does play a role in career choices, we would expect these trend to show in  gendered career choices. This can be checked by going back to the first part of this series [22] and reviewing the factor and trends highlighted with the biological pressures in mind. The biological expectation that women avoid dangerous and physical roles and have a preference for social and care careers certainly holds true. As does women being more likely than men to put their children before a career and giving up a full time job to care for them. This provides further real life evidence that gender is biologically influenced and is not purely a social construct.

Why does Sexual Dimorphism Exist?

This section is mostly hypothetical, with logical steps and contains assumptions without citations. If required it will be investigated further at a later date.

Having established that gender cannot be a purely social construct but is one at least partially based in biology, the question arises of why is this so.

One answer is women are the limiting factor of procreation. It takes a women 9 months to make a baby, and then a women isn't ready to reproduce again for a while after the birth. However a man can reproduce not only for an extended part of his lifetime, but more often. Just considering the numbers show that women are the bottleneck of human survival. As such their lives are genetically more precious.

Social structures have sprung up around this notion that women should be protected. A safe working environment is an extremely new concept, especially when compared to the genetic life of homo sapiens.

Thus, gender as a social construct is based in biology, not the other way round. The larger question is does our modern society need this social pressure in order to protect the species, or it is outdated?

The trade-off, if women are no longer protected, is more women will die in the workplace. In order to accept this, male and female lives must be socially equivalent.

Once male and female lives are socially equal, it will improve the gender wage gap by dismissing the social pressures of society for women to stay within the protection of the home. However the biological pressures will remain.

This biological pressure should be respected. Men and women would continue to choose different careers and have different priorities in life, even if all perceived social pressure was removed and the lives of men and women treated with equal reverence.

The impact of proving this assumption as false is dramatic. It throws into question the suitability of using the ratio of men to women as an indicator of discrimination.

References

[1] UK Government request companies publish gendered wage data:
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/07/britain-gender-pay-gap-world/398684/ accessed 29/08/2015

[2] Wage Gap in Rwanda, Burundi and Nicaragua is almost non existent:
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/global-gender-gap-equality-is-overrated/16110 accessed 29/08/2015

[3] UN Women Progess Report 2015 – 2016
http://progress.unwomen.org/en/2015/pdf/UNW_progressreport.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[4] New Republic – How to Equalize the Female Pay Gap
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118653/how-equalize-female-compensation accessed 29/08/2015

[5] New Brunswick: The Wage Gap Action Plan 2005-2010
https://www.gnb.ca/0012/Womens-Issues/wg-es/tools/pdf/5-Action_E.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[6] Roosevelt Institute: How to Fix the Gender Wage Gap: Going Far Beyond an App
http://rooseveltinstitute.org/new-roosevelt/how-fix-gender-wage-gap-going-far-beyond-app accessed 29/08/2015

[7] American Progress: Seven Actions that could shrink the Gender Wage Gap
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2014/09/18/97421/7-actions-that-could-shrink-the-gender-wage-gap/ accessed 29/08/2015

[8] Policy.Mic: Norway Has Found a Solution to the Gender Wage Gap That America Needs to Try
http://mic.com/articles/87983/norway-has-found-a-solution-to-the-gender-wage-gap-that-america-needs-to-try accessed 29/08/2015

[9] IMF STAFF DISCUSSION NOTE: Women, Work, and the Economy: Macroeconomic Gains from Gender Equity
https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2013/sdn1310.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[10] Graduating to a Pay Gap The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation:
http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/graduating-to-a-pay-gap-the-earnings-of-women-and-men-one-year-after-college-graduation.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[11] Quotas in the EU:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/65f494e6-f5e7-11e1-a6c2-00144feabdc0.html accessed 29/08/2015

[12] Pros and Cons of Quotas:
http://www.newstatesman.com/business/2012/09/quotas-women-boards-all-pros-and-cons-one-place accessed 29/08/2015

[13] Gender Wage Gap within the same job:
http://www.payscale.com/gender-lifetime-earnings-gap accessed 29/08/2015

[14] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now
http://www.oecd.org/gender/closingthegap.htm accessed 29/08/2015

[15] Outcome of Outcome Feminism Assumptions:
http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem2.html accessed 17/10/2015

[16] Some cultural have 4 types of gender:
https://www.quora.com/If-gender-is-a-social-construct-then-how-can-a-sexual-orientation-toward-a-particular-gender-be-innate accessed 17/10/2015

[17] Feminist studies on Gender as a Social construct:
https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/gender-stratification-and-inequality-11/gender-and-socialization-86/the-social-construction-of-gender-496-8675/ accessed 17/10/2015

[18] Feminist questions on gender as a social construct: https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/faq-if-gender-is-a-social-construct-arent-feminists-saying-that-gender-doesnt-really-exist-at-all/ accessed 17/10/2015

[19] WOMEN IN GROUND CLOSE COMBAT (GCC) REVIEW PAPER – 01 DECEMBER 2014
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389575/20141218_WGCC_Findings_Paper_Final.pdf

[20] Hormonal changes produce behavioural changes:
http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/02/11440/male-and-female-behavior-deconstructed accssed 17/10/2015

[21] Men and women's brains function differently
http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/how-male-female-brains-differ accessed 17/10/2015

[22] EgaFem, Outcome of Outcome Series: Factors to be controlled:
http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem1.html accessed 22/10/2015

[23] EgaFem, Outcome of Outcome Series: Assumptions:
http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem2.html accessed 22/10/2015

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Taking an in-depth look into domestic violence research (Part 2) - Conflict Tactics Scale

Author: Drew Roan.

Part 1: The Duluth Model - http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/taking-in-depth-look-into-domestic.html
Part 2: The Conflict Tactics Scale - This article
Part 3: UK figure of DV - http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/a-sample-of-domestic-violence-research.html
Summary - Domestic violence is an emotive and often poorly understood topic. Feminist discourse often focuses on issues facing women and girls that result from domestic violence. Unfortunately, research and data can often be biased, being driven by politics rather than strong evidence. This is the first in a series that will analyse different models available. Later we will attempt to analyse the impact on victims and their opportunity to seek help.
Whilst the Duluth Model is the most commonly employed model for handling domestic violence cases, the Conflict Tactics Scale and its' variants have arguably been the most frequently employed by researchers looking to understand patterns and scales of abuse since the 1970s. It has drawn significant criticism from feminist researchers over the years and has seen notable changes over the years.
Introduction: The world of domestic violence research is one that is fiercely debated by many researchers, academics and activists. Whilst everyone who is involved with domestic violence research and treatment is keen to see an end to all violence, there is a great deal of discussion about which methods to use and how to measure domestic violence.

If you have ever taken the time to study domestic violence data, you will see the term "Conflict Tactics Scale" crop up numerous times. In this piece, I will attempt to provide a brief explanation of what it is along with some positive and negatives associated with it.

What is the Conflict Tactics Scale? A brief history.

It is a research method used to examine the types of abuse that go on in relationships. Its' creator, Murray Straus, first wrote about it in 1979 after testing the model for some years before hand.

He sought to create a model for researchers to use that was gender neutral and would examine the extent of violent behaviour that goes on in domestic abuse cases that might otherwise not be reported to the police. It presents the theory that conflict is inevitable in human interaction, but violence as a method of dealing with conflict is not. [3]

The CTS was widely praised for providing a way to measure violence in relationships. it allowed researchers to examine the reasoning, verbal and physical aggression used by people in relationships when conflicts arose. However, it was not without its' flaws.

The original model failed to take into account acts of sexual coercion & violence or any ability to measure the level of injury caused by acts of physical violence. It was also noticed that as the original CTS questions were framed in a hierarchical order of perceived importance, it could also lead to negative results with data collection. Some studies noticed that when asked about severe acts of violence and having responded as "never having done that", the subjects would often become irritated when asked about the remaining acts of physical violence. [3]

The CTS 2 took into account much of the feedback and criticisms of the original CTS and provided a much broader pattern of behaviour, including acts of sexual coercion and records of injuries received as a result of physical violence. Many notable studies and surveys such as the Crime Survey for England and Wales continue to use the CTS 2 to gather data, measure crime rates (including crimes not reported to the police) and even advise on Government policy. [4]

Further adaptations of this scale now exist including the "Partner & Spouse" scale and the "Parent & Child" scales, which change some forms of abuse for others depending on frequent types of abuse. For example, the partner & spouse scale includes choking, whilst the parent & child scale includes scalding with boiling water. [3]

Below is a chart containing some of the additional categories of measuring violence included in the CTS2:


Praise And Controversy

There has been a great deal of praise and controversy surrounding the use of the Conflict Tactics Scale and its' variations. 

Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling once wrote that the CTS "was revolutionary because it allowed researchers to quantitatively study events that had often been ignored culturally and typically took place in private." [1] 

In their report criticising the CTS for its' failures, researchers Walter DeKeseredy and Martin Schwartz cite another study that demonstrates many social scientists consider it “probably the best available when it comes to estimating the incidence and prevalence of woman abuse in the population at large”. [5]  They also note that it appears to be a reliable method of extracting "sensitive information".

But as with all things, there are those who are critical of use of the CTS.

The National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) state that the CTS2 should be considered a research tool rather than a clinical one because it does not have a "cutting score" (a score beyond which a person has a problem). They do note however that the CTS2 can be useful for promoting dialogue and extracting information. [2].

Other critics complain that the CTS does not take into account context with partner violence. Researchers such as DeKeseredy and Schwartz express concern that it does not examine the reasons why such violence exists in the first place. They further claim that the CTS runs on the "ideological base that presumes that violence is family-based, rather seeing the issue as one of male violence directed toward women." [5].

In future articles, I will be examining the rates of domestic violence which will help provide further information as to whether or not their assertion that "male violence directed towards women" is the dominant view based on evidence gathered. However, it is worth noting that DeKeseredy is one of many researchers that support the Duluth Model's narrative on the notion of domestic violence, which they paraphrase as; "Women use violence for a variety of reasons, but a common one is to defend themselves. Men  typically use violence to control their female partners" [5].

For our previous examination of the Duluth Model, please click on this link. [6]

Straus has responded to criticisms of the CTS. He notes that whilst the majority of objections come from feminist researchers who feel the CTS "overstates female violence", it is still the most widely used instrument of measuring domestic violence, including by feminist critics who lack a "better alternative". [7] Other criticisms include such claims as the CTS "counting 'verbal aggression' as 'physical violence'". Murray points out that the scale deliberately counts "verbal aggression" before "physical aggression [ibid. p5]. In regards to not examining the context of violence, Strauss is quick to point out that the purpose of the CTS is to collect the "raw data" on intimate violence not to provide context for said violence. As such, Straus suggests that the CTS should be used in conjunction with further research methods. [3]

Some groups have even taken to using variations of the CTS but with alterations made to fit the researchers' ideological bias. In a radio interview from 2002 Straus stated that he had tried to work with battered shelters to examine and help end domestic violence. He then states that he ceased to do so because advocates would deliberately use a "biased version" of his scale. [8]

Specifically, he states:
"It includes various acts that the partner can do, might do, and that the respondent – the person interviewed – might do. And they refused to ask the questions about what the respondent did. They insisted that it was for women respondents. They insisted that only acts, only the questions on what the partner did.
"That same procedure was carried over into the National Institute of Justice study, the National Violence Against Women study.  They asked, err, what they call a 'feminist version' of the Conflict Tactics Scales, that asks only about victimization, leaves out the questions about perpetration.  And of course if you do that, you will have to find that only men are violent. 
You can hear an audio version of the full clip by checking out the attached citation. [9]

The "Noun Swap" Test

Here at Egafeminist, we have a simple test for measuring if a statement is fair; If you could switch one noun for a reasonable replacement and it creates absurdity, then it probably wasn't acceptable to begin with. The conflict tactics scale unanimously passes this since it does not discriminate between people in any meaningful context. Any person who is violent will have their behaviour recorded in the same way as any other violent person regardless of race, religion, sex (and so forth).

This was a criticism of ours in relation to the use of the Duluth Model, which specifically re-frames violence between men and women different based on which sex is perpetrating the violence. [6] We are yet to determine how transgender people fit within the framework of the Duluth Model.

Our opinion

We believe that the Conflict Tactics Scale & its' variations, to date, still provide the broadest and most usable research method of determining and understanding domestic violence. We also note that the Conflict Tactics Scale should be used in conjunction with other research methods to provide detailed analysis of behaviour patterns within various interactions. Whilst there is the possibility that data on purely malevolent acts (violence committed for the sake of being cruel) might be lost, the research suggests that the likelihood of this is minimal at best and is no more significant than any other method.

Until such a time as a new, more efficient model presents itself for scrutiny, we will stand by the use of the CTS as a method of collecting raw data on partner violence.

Next time, I will be taking a detailed look at some of the stats behind domestic abuse from America/Canada/the United Kingdom in detail and trying to clear up some confusion.

[1] http://rzukausk.home.mruni.eu/wp-content/uploads/Intimate-Partner-Violence-Research.pdf

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64439/

[3] http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/CTS15.pdf

[4] http://www.crimesurvey.co.uk/

[5] http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/A-Critique-of-the-Conflict-Tactics-Scales.pdf

[6] http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/taking-in-depth-look-into-domestic.html

[7] http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/CTS4.pdf

[8] http://www.breakingthescience.org/StrausSaysTjadenThoennesBiased.php

[9] http://www.breakingthescience.org/StrausSaysTjadenThoennesBiased.mp3

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism – Part 5 - Discrimination

Author: Blaise Wilson

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Series:

Part 1 – Factors to be Controlled: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem1.html
Part 2- Assumptions: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem2.html
Part 3 – Freeing Women's Time and Money: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem3.html
Part 4 – Cultural Pressure: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/outcomeoutcomefem4.html
Part 5 – Discrimination: This article
Part 6 - Discussion of Assumption 6: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/outcomeoutcomefem6.html
Part 7 - Discussion of Assumption 1: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/the-outcome-of-outcome-feminism-part-7.html
Part 8 - The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Conclusion:  http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/outcomeoutcomefem8.html
Part 9 - Campaigns and Action: http://egafeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/outcomeoutcomefem9.html
Abstract/TLDR

One of the outcome feminist assumptions highlighted in part 2 was the reason women are not in certain roles is due to discrimination.

The main suggested solutions are:
  • improve the ability to get justice for discrimination
  • treat people differently, based on characteristic rather than ability or opportunities
  • force companies to provide gender analysis data
  • use quotas
  • provide women centric jobs, tailored to their needs
Introduction

In the previous articles we established which factors play a role in the Gender Wage Gap. After highlighting numerous required assumptions, the factors boiled down to:
  • Freeing up women's time and money
  • Cultural pressure
  • Discrimination 
This part concentrates on solutions to solving discrimination against women.

These articles focus on developed countries, namely the UK and the US.

Discrimination is defined as:

“The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex” [15]

In the UK this is covered by the Equality Act 2010 [16] which combined multiple laws into one. However, under UK law positive action is allowed under certain circumstances, such as choosing a candidate from an under-represented group in favour of one who isn't in the event of a tie of eligibility for a role [17].

The EU are pushing for quotas, which the UK has resisted so far [20]. There is some confusion over the legality of quotas in the UK, with some people stating they are legal [21] and others citing the Equality Act 2010 meaning they are illegal [22].

It is likely this confusion stems from the definitions within the “Equality Act 2010 that allow positive action in respect of employment – it should be noted that positive discrimination continues to be illegal in most cases” [22, p1]. This raises the question 'what is the difference between positive discrimination and positive action?' Without further clearly defined and bounded definitions it appears the difference is one is legal, while the other is not [23].

Legal: “Positive action (or affirmative action) is laws and policies that attempt to promote equal opportunity by taking into account gender, race, disability or other equality strands in order to positively improve outcomes for these groups. The focus of positive action might be to redress systemic, historical or institutional discrimination or to promote diversity in business and public sector organisations” [22, p3].

Illegal: ““Positive discrimination” in employment normally indicates actions that seek to redress historical inequalities through a reverse principle of discrimination in favour of a disadvantaged group” [22, p3].

As highlighted earlier in this series, it is assumed the reason women are not obtaining senior roles is due to discrimination based on numerical representation. This implies a 50% split between men and women should be obtained.

Solutions to Discrimination

Where discrimination happens it must be fought. The consequences should be harsh enough to discourage it [4, 9].

Although there are already laws in place, there is reason to believe these could be improved [3], including ensuring equal pay for broadly equal work, with checks every few years to ensure this remains in place [4, 5].

But this won't help if individuals are unsure, or can not prove they are being discriminated against without fear of risk to their jobs.

““Knowing what your job pays is an integral part of negotiating a fair wage,” said general manager Abby Euler... According to IWPR, nearly half of all U.S. workers are either contractually forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with coworkers.” [6]

The US have proposed a Paycheck Fairness Act [1, 4, 6, 7] which makes it illegal to fire an individual for discussion their terms and conditions, including their pay. The current culture of embarrassment to discuss pay should be replaced with one that allows open and honest discussion on the topic.

Joining a union has been shown to decrease the pay gap [3, 6] which helps provide advice and support.

Another possible solution is to treat men and women differently. However this runs contrary to laws addressing equality of opportunity like the Equality Act 2010.

The UK Government are taking the topic very seriously. Their March 2015 report [18] resulted in the Positive Action Pathway [19] being implemented.

“The Pathway is aimed at Civil Servants in the following under-represented groups with the potential to progress at least one grade higher.
  • Women;
  • Minority Ethnic;
  • Disabled; and
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender” [19]
This uses positive action, based on factors outside of individual control, to provide targeted support but does not guarantee promotion.

This is supported by the UN Women's Report, which states:

“Equality should be understood in relation not only to opportunities but also to outcomes. Unequal outcomes may result from indirect as well as direct discrimination, and ‘different treatment’ might be required to achieve equality in practice.” [p24, 3].

However, it is impossible to have both equality of opportunity and outcome, as the report implies.

There is little point fighting discrimination if you can't monitor it. This is solved by the suggestion to force companies to publish gender based information [1, 4, 5]. Going in tandem with this is the concept of quotas. These are a very popular solution [1, 3, 5, 11] with pros and cons [12]. These should help with positive examples and representation [9, 12].

The UN Women's report encouraged the use of quotas:

“Ensure that women are fairly represented at senior and management levels of public sector employment. Quotas can play a part in making this happen.” [p117, 3].

The final suggestion is to create more well paid jobs, tailored to women's needs [9]. This topic was touched on in the section on freeing up women time and money, where it was suggested women are paid for domestic and caring roles within their own household.

The UN Women's report suggests roles that empower women to shape their working environment, providing decent pay for care work, protect those jobs, and provide training, while also ensuring non-manual work is available to women, at equal pay to men. They go onto suggest the can be achieved through improvements to regulations and standards [3].

Discussion

The Positive Action Pathway provides additional career progression support to everyone, except for non-disabled, Caucasian, cis-gender, heterosexual men, who – regardless of their personal circumstances - are not eligible for the scheme.

This is not a means tested scheme. A wealthy woman with an excellent education can be provided extra support and opportunities whilst a poor man with little education cannot. And yet this is permissible as 'positive action'. This fails our #NounSwap test. It determines who can receive help based not on personal circumstances but on genetic code.

The implementation of gender based analysis must be handled carefully. Many companies employ specialist roles and it is unfair to compare genders within a company without comparing job roles. Breaking the gender analysis down should include clear comparison of skills – showing equal pay for equal work. It should indicate the standard deviation from the average, and what average is being measured.

These published analyses also imply a quota. Although not overtly stated they encourage companies to hire based on gender to improve the company reputation and could encourage illegal practise. This would need to be monitored carefully.

As highlighted on our About Page, EgaFem is fundamentally against the use of quotas because they are against equality of opportunity and do not account for ability or skill. It implies women are incapable of reaching these goals without an unfair advantage. Any woman employed by a company using quotas might question their ability. It may increase hostile attitudes as the concern becomes they were hired for being women, not because they can do the job. This is extremely dis-empowering and could increase the sexism these solutions are trying to eliminate.

Creating women centric jobs, with non-manual work, well paid, equally paid, protected and providing training implies increased legalisation and controls of the Free Market. These companies would either have to increase their prices or be subsidised by the state. They would also have to employ additional personnel to cover possible labour requirements in the roles that women do not wish to perform.

Conclusion

The main solution to discrimination areas are:
  • improve the ability to get justice for discrimination
  • treat people differently, depending on their characteristic rather than their ability or opportunities
  • force companies to provide gender analysis data
  • use quotas
  • provide women centric jobs, tailored to their needs
References

[1] UK Government request companies publish gendered wage data:
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/07/britain-gender-pay-gap-world/398684/ accessed 29/08/2015

[2] Wage Gap in Rwanda, Burundi and Nicaragua is almost non existent:
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/global-gender-gap-equality-is-overrated/16110 accessed 29/08/2015

[3] UN Women Progess Report 2015 – 2016
http://progress.unwomen.org/en/2015/pdf/UNW_progressreport.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[4] New Republic – How to Equalize the Female Pay Gap
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118653/how-equalize-female-compensation accessed 29/08/2015

[5] New Brunswick: The Wage Gap Action Plan 2005-2010
https://www.gnb.ca/0012/Womens-Issues/wg-es/tools/pdf/5-Action_E.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[6] Roosevelt Institute: How to Fix the Gender Wage Gap: Going Far Beyond an App
http://rooseveltinstitute.org/new-roosevelt/how-fix-gender-wage-gap-going-far-beyond-app accessed 29/08/2015

[7] American Progress: Seven Actions that could shrink the Gender Wage Gap
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2014/09/18/97421/7-actions-that-could-shrink-the-gender-wage-gap/ accessed 29/08/2015

[8] Policy.Mic: Norway Has Found a Solution to the Gender Wage Gap That America Needs to Try
http://mic.com/articles/87983/norway-has-found-a-solution-to-the-gender-wage-gap-that-america-needs-to-try accessed 29/08/2015

[9] IMF STAFF DISCUSSION NOTE: Women, Work, and the Economy: Macroeconomic Gains from Gender Equity
https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2013/sdn1310.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[10] Graduating to a Pay Gap The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation:
http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/graduating-to-a-pay-gap-the-earnings-of-women-and-men-one-year-after-college-graduation.pdf accessed 29/08/2015

[11] Quotas in the EU:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/65f494e6-f5e7-11e1-a6c2-00144feabdc0.html accessed 29/08/2015

[12] Pros and Cons of Quotas:
http://www.newstatesman.com/business/2012/09/quotas-women-boards-all-pros-and-cons-one-place accessed 29/08/2015

[13] Gender Wage Gap within the same job:
http://www.payscale.com/gender-lifetime-earnings-gap accessed 29/08/2015

[14] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now
http://www.oecd.org/gender/closingthegap.htm accessed 29/08/2015

[15] Oxford Dictionaries definition of discrimination:
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/discrimination accessed 10/10/15

[16] Equality Act 2010:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents accessed 10/10/2015

[17] Positive Discrimination:
http://findlaw.co.uk/law/employment/discrimination/500553.html accessed 10/10/2015

[18] UK Government Report for equality in the Civil Service:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/418050/TAP_Template_260315.pdf accessed 10/10/2015

[19] Positive Action Pathway:
https://www5.i-grasp.com/fe/tpl_capita45.asp?newms=info1 accessed 10/10/2015

[20] European Union Committee – Fifth Report. Women on Boards. Report ordered by the House of Lords. Printed 6 November2012.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldselect/ldeucom/58/5806.htm accessed 10/10/2015

[21] Quotas are legal in the UK:
http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/diversity-quotas-in-the-law-the-issues/5044880.fullarticle accessed 10/10/2015

[22] Quotas are illegal in the UK:
www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06093.pdf accessed 10/10/2015

[23] Difference between positive action and discrimination:
http://www.xperthr.co.uk/faq/what-is-the-difference-between-positive-action-and-positive-discrimination/108522/ accessed 10/10/2015