Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Mothers' pay gap

So this is done and dusted now is it? There is no gender gap in the UK but it is now known as the mothers' pay gap, which has been neatly subsidised through Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax credit. Well if Tim Worstall has made these conclusions, then us single working mothers should (yes I've used the s-word) be happy we are getting our subsidy and get on with it.

But in all honesty on that platform, I can argue the point no further. I have looked at the stats and they pretty much give the argument solidity. But this doesn't mean I close the Guardian and get on with my day excepting that the married middle classes have put me in my place once again. There is a problem that needs to be addressed and it’s not about improvements on the welfare system, it's about improvements to the self worth of women living on the bare minimum, within low income jobs or on welfare with children.

The career break is an issue, an issue that mainly effects single women with children, If experience counts then anyone that takes time out from work will be short of it. But what is the root problem we need to address here? If women choose to have kids, of course that is fine, but alas you can't have your cake and eat it. You can't be a full time parent and expect to walk into a job at three time the national average income the moment you decide to return to work, I accept that. But for me this is why the gap is not simply addressed with a bung from extra tax credits. The basic problem is family's remain in poverty even after re-entry into work.

Relative or real most ordinary people don't really give a stuff about being a high flyer, what they care about most is not being poor. There is a possibility that this problem is not new and the only reason we are aware of it is because we have fixed all the other pressing issues and now looking at the welfare state in order to reform it, this problem has revealed itself to be apparent.

There is also the possibility of something deeper going on in society. Women could actually be disengaging, the beginnings of a genuine paradigm shift in attitudes to work and wealth that is leading some sections of society, not just women alone, to turn away from traditional notions of success and worth and back to a more traditional view of what is valuable. I guess if we see a growth in the birth rate over the next ten years this would offer some support for this idea.

I feel like I’m suggesting that women have started a decline from the initial equality sort, maybe because its just too bloody hard to have children then fight to get a decent wage to feed them, so they just make do, except their self imposed fate. The stats may say there is not an inequality and that we have dealt with the shortfall to their wages by bunging them money but living on welfare or low wage sucks, I know, because as always I've been there.

How about offering single parents specifically, who take large periods away from work the opportunity for free open-learning to bring their skills back up and I mean recognised qualification, subsidised by local businesses? I don't know I'm still working on that idea. And pay no attention to people who say degrees don't matter, most of those people who say that have either got one, or have worked in the same job or within the same industry for years. Degrees bloody matter, if you enter into the job market as a graduate you are paid more and have more of an opportunity to enter a variety of fields. Without it you are gravely limited, I cite this by being unemployed at present in Scotland. Scotland takes no prisoners. When it comes to education here its free and they reward you if you take that free option, with a decent starting wage but if you don't, they hand you a vulnerable role in local industry and services. And at the moment it's grim because this recession has attacked those businesses first.

There will be more men in high paying jobs, as the majority of women take the role of looking after the children for large periods of time, there are also a lot more single mums out there as well. So yeah ok, statistically there isn't a wage gap....there is a Mothers' pay gap but I think the way to get people out of that low income poverty trap is education, a very obvious conclusion yes....but why arn't we doing it then instead of bunging tax credits at it, it needs a long term solution not means tested resolve?


  1. What a muddled post.

    "How about offering single parents specifically, who take large periods away from work the opportunity for free open-learning to bring their skills back up and I mean recognised qualification, subsidised by local businesses?"

    Why should a local business give you money because you've opted to have kids? What benefit do you offer them in exchange? You've already said that business in Scotland is suffering and yet your solution to your personal issue is to make them suffer some more? Tax them capitalists, take more money off their money tree!

    But putting that aside, a few sentences on, you say: "When it comes to education here its free".

    So education is already "free", but you want more "free" education?

    What the fuck are you on about?

  2. In reply to Obnoxio the Clown

    As I said when you 'opt' to have kids there will be a significant skills gap, the back lash is tax payers till pay for tax credits to help those on low income. I'm looking at a more efficient, cost effective, long-term resolve. With the added benefit of self-worth and independence from the system.

    The issue is about single parents living in poverty, my suggestion is to ask industry’s who will be needing a workforce to invest in the poor people within community to ensure a workforce and an appropriately qualified one for their business.

    Education as cited is free for a certain age group...its not free forever.

    When skills are lost, education is the best way back into the work place but can be expensive. Instead of Tax credits how about SVQ/HNC/NVQ genuine vocational qualifications, which most employers are looking for. And I’m talking across the UK

    It will be a lot more effective and cost less money to get people who are career benefit claimers educated and back into jobs. There needs to be a cultural change in the thinking of people in poverty and I’m thinking handing someone self worth could be the key, may avoid future generations being born into welfare and making this awful norm redundant.

    What the fuck am I talking about? I'm just looking for possible workable answers Obo not handouts, solutions that have equal benefit for people and for industry.

  3. Look, people either want to work, or they don't. People are career benefit claimers because they don't have to do anything and get by well enough.

    If there aren't jobs in "your" town, go somewhere that there is a job. And I bet there are jobs in "your" town, they're just not good enough for "you".

    The problem is not that people do not have the necessary skills or education, it's that they don't have the desire to work. If they had the desire to work, they'd take a job, any job and then work their way up the tree. That's what I did.

    No fucking NVQ in the world is going to get someone off the sofa and out looking for a job.

  4. To be honest if I were the Leader in this country and I was aware that there is a significant pocket of society that lacked motivation and any aspirations beyond handouts, people that are not helping the infrastructure but a burden to it, with the many knock on effects career benefit claimers can cause, then I would feel I am failing as a Leader.

    The answer is not to suggest there is always going to be lazy section of people in the UK, of course that’s a given in any society. The answer is to work out why are there so many of them?

    How did the system let them down, forget about them and create a hereditary problem? And then what can I do to give people something to aspire to. When I work that out, then the sooner I can get rid of the dependency on the benefit system and then the benefit system altogether.

    ‘’If there aren't jobs in "your" town, go somewhere that there is a job. And I bet there are jobs in "your" town, they're just not good enough for "you".’’

    Really? Great suggestion….yes I think people do try that……and when the time comes, just as I did when I moved to Scotland will only be too happy to work minimum wage if I have to. But unlike you I don’t feel everyone has my capacity to help themselves in order to survive.

    I don’t want people to be spoon fed but as I said I’m just throwing ideas out there, your just knocking them down and dismissing them without any replacement…

    I’m just thinking out loud…

  5. "How did the system let them down, forget about them and create a hereditary problem?"

    "The system" didn't let them down. The system is configured to actively trap people into benefits. Once you're on benefits, it's practically impossible to go off them without taking a knock to your lifestyle.

    "yes I think people do try that"

    Really? Then how come people come all the way from Romania and Poland and find jobs in your town and survive and manage to send money home?

    Do you really, really think that people who live in the UK are trying that hard?

    "I’m just thinking out loud…"

    Which really just goes to show why most thinking should be done silently. You accuse me of not presenting a useful alternative to your wonderful idea of taxing those who are prepared to get off there arse to give some more to people who are not prepared to get off their arse. Really, isn't doing nothing at all a better idea than punishing the few who are still prepared to earn their living?



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