Tag Archives: Equality

#EqualPayDay: I’d rather be a rebel than a slave…

midlife

Midlife Crisis, a diary of being 40 something and a half in today’s world…

The problem with time is that is supposed to make stuff happen. The quiet, clock ticking quality of it, the spit-spot way it’s supposed to develop elements around us, be a healer, even, force life and all that’s in it to move on, make change, be something.

And so to today and the equal pay between genders. See Monday is Equal Pay Day, and I say this with heavy heart. Just the words, the size of their meaning makes me want to break down and fear for humanity, or at least my pay packet. Because I sit here, writing at my laptop, over the age of forty and I cannot quite fathom that still, in 2015 – that’s post second world war, people – we are fighting for equal pay for women. I went to see the Suffragette movie the other week and women were fighting for equal rights, yet now, even though in the western world women finally have the vote  we still don’t have equal pay (fun fact! Switzerland only granted votes to females in 1971!)

What the actual f**k? I mean, sorry to go all potty mouthed here , but, seriously, what in the hell is going on? Did

The cast of The Suffragette movie telling it like it is
The cast of The Suffragette movie telling it like it is.

organisations around the globe miss the memo that we are in 2015? It makes no sense. I have noticed people, from all walks of life, commenting on those who stand up, on the women that shout that we must be paid on the basis of our ability not our sex, that we should just be quiet, wait, deal with it, that we simply need to be patient. Yes, because forty years of equal pay legislation not actually working has not been long enough to wait at all, meaning that here I am, in my mid-life and the gender pay gap not only still exists, but displays no real signs of abating.

The Office of National Statistics calculated that the gender pay gap is currently at 14.2%, meaning that it would take 54 years to reach parity at current rates. To put it bluntly, this gap means that from 9th November 2015, women will effectively be working for free until the end of the year. Super! Pay is over rated anyway, right? At this point, I refer you here to my previous blasphemous reaction from above.

What will it take to sort this? I’m 42 now and, do you know what, I’ve had it with this gap business. I thought that by now things, life, heck society would be different, believe in equality, with a government that doesn’t just pay lip service to equality but acts on it too. To think that the Suffragette movie was pure fiction would be nice, and yet now, in 2015, where we are, the whole thing feeling like a scary reality. To not give women equal pay to men is to treat them as second class citizens.

We must act. All of us. Because, as it turns out, I can’t be doing with a divide, with a gap of any kind – so that means men and women joining together and insisting on equal pay for all, no matter what gender, colour, race or sexual preference. Because, like the t-shirts worn by the Suffragette cast above say, I’d rather be a rebel than a slave. Any day (Note: let’s all buy one of those t-shirts, wear them to the office, down the shops, in parliament…)

But, when those in retort say that women should just be quiet, should just go away, I leave them, not with my own words, but with the words of Cary Mulligan’s character in the Suffragette movie: ‘What are you going to do? Get rid of us? We’re in every bloody household in the country.’

What do you think? Post your thoughts below…

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Zumba alone will not help girls into sport

Shopping basket filled with sports related items on white background

Have you seen a boy playing netball recently? When I was at school, there was a clear distinction between the girls and the boys when it came to sport. The lads did football and the girls netball. That was it, no joint games, no change in tradition – you were expected to know where the gender line was drawn.

Fast-forward 15 (okay, 25…) years and it seems nothing has changed. Today, in the Independent Newspaper, Judy Murray, tennis coach and mother to Andy, said that, “Schools could encourage more girls to take up sport by being more sympathetic to the image conscious world that young women grow up in.”

Now, look, I agree with that statement – to a point. Yes, there’s a lot more that could be done to encourage girls into sport, and with real reason. In a survey carried out just last year, for example, it was found that a worrying 40 per cent of 16-year-old girls do no vigorous physical activity at all. But the question is, does providing girls with activities that bow to an image conscious society, help? Isn’t that just like putting a plug in the hole without fixing the hole itself?

Natasha Devon, author and broadcaster, said activities such as Zumba and Yoga should be considered in schools to encourage girls into sport. Now, yes, without doubt, more choice is a good thing, but what would be damaging would be for schools to introduce Zumba but only for the girls, effectively turning Zumba into the new netball, and so would start the whole inactivity, inequality cycle again.

I have two girls and I wouldn’t dream of turning round to them and saying, my dears, girls are expected to not sweat, so best do Zumba. In fact, they tried it once a few years back when they were at Brownies and hated it. But, whether they liked or not is beside the point, because what’s interesting is that the boys in Cub Scouts, boys the same age as my girls, were not offered Zumba at all, and instead played football and running games, activities which were never offered to the girls.

What should be happening is a sea change in how we view young woman and woman in general when it comes to sport. We can get dirty, sweat, stink, play rugby, football, cricket or do Zumba or dance, but we should do it because we want to, not because it fits a pre-defined gender role.

But of course, they only way girls are going to want to do any of these sports is if society gives them a huge, bloody break and gets off their case. The answer? To encourage girls to just be. Be themselves, be strong, be smart, whether that involves getting muddy on a rugby pitch or dancing hip swinging moves to Latin tunes.

Break down the gender demands and not only will we see more girls get involved in sport, but we’ll see more of a change, more of an openness across the genders, too. And then maybe boys can finally start playing netball.

 

Gazette column: The council must provide equal access to libraries

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about the new mobile library scheme in Saul, Gloucestershire, and why the county council has a duty to provide equal access to libraries. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Is the provision for libraries enough? Should people make their own way, no matter how far, to a library, or should there be more local access to libraries? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

My latest column: Why are women still not allowed to be Bishops?

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is all about equality and why women still aren’t allowed to be Bishops. To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Should women be Bishops? Or is that just a preserve of male clergy? Is equality a right or a privilege? 

Look out for tomorrow’s  post, “Friday Fact or Fiction”. This week it’s fiction.  I’ll be posting part one the 1st chapter of a young adult story I wrote for a competition. It forms part of a trilogy called The Dakota Duels**

It’s Media Monday: Shouldn’t screenwriters be paid more?

It’s Media Monday where I post my latest views on writing & publishing news…  Writing news

Like dealing with a bad case of piles, finding a job can be tough, right? Well, news out last week was that screenwriters in Hollywood and beyond are now being hammered on the job front. As reported in the i newspaper, screenwriting jobs and wages  in Hollywood have declined for  a second consecutive year, with total earnings down 12.6%.

Okay, so I guess if writers’ wages are down, actors’ wages will be down too, right? Wrong. Take the film Hangover 3. Due out in 2013, its actors are

The Hangover – making a whole heap of money

reported to be receiving more than double the amount of pay they enjoyed for the first film. No wage cuts there then. And remember the sitcom, Friends? By the time the last series was running, the actors were receiving a huge $20m (£12.5m) a year.  And how about the writers? Well they were earning nowhere near as much, nowhere near. And that’s the main question here: why are writers  paid so much less?

Is it right for actors to still receive enormous pay increases  while the screenwriters who create the films for the actors receive less pay year-on-year? It isn’t simply wages either. Recognition for screenwriters’ work in films goes more unnoticed as time goes by. Yes there are exceptions (step forward the wonderful Diablo Cody). And of course writers as a profession do not naturally seek the limelight. But isn’t it only right to dish out recognition where it’s due? And if that means the correct wage packet that reflects the effort put in, then surely that should be done? The trouble with the movie world is that it is littered with inequality: men vs women, writers vs actors, runners vs studio execs. There is a pecking order – and writers are missing out.

So come on, Hollywood, how’s about a little more respect for your writers and a few more dollars in their pay packets? Bet it would make a great movie…

How about you? Have you been paid less than someone working on the same project? Are you an underpaid writer? Or do you think writers can’t expect to receive the same pay heights as others? Let’s start the debate…

 **Look out for Wednesday Wafflings where I post my latest entry of my Diary of a Hopeful Author**