The Abbott government wants to stop collecting some of the gender equality data currently required of Australian businesses. Because what’s something cheap you can give business in a time of (sorta) fiscal constraint? Red tape reductions.. and gender equality data can potentially be embarrassing to both business and government so there’s some low hanging fruit right there if you’re a less than visionary government.
Conservative columnist and economist, Judith Sloan is leading the charge for the government with “Surge in red tape gives gender equality a bad name” – and here she is in The Australian describing the kind of data we collect at the moment…
What are the minimum standards of gender equality on which all private-sector companies with more than 100 employees must report? There are five indicators and the level of detail required is ludicrous. Take the gender composition of the workforce. There are three management categories and 10 non-management categories listed. Then there is the disaggregated data on remuneration between women and men. Details are required on the annualised average full-time equivalent base salary and total remuneration for all 13 categories of workplace profile, plus by employment status.
Given this data is all computerized and the bulk of it is collected in a standard payroll database it is difficult to see what exactly is so onerous about this but Sloan is trying her best to make the case. The other kinds of data collected by government include the family friendly working arrangements offered by a company and which of their employees use them. Again, all of this information is routinely collected by companies about themselves. Sure, reporting requirements aren’t cost-free but they’re not enough to have any Human Resource Department on a fainting couch either. And anyway, there’s no significant penalty for non-compliance and half the firms love the exercise because they use any better-than-average results to compete for the best job applicants.
So, Sloan tries another argument in relation to the data..
But I have come to the fundamental question: what is the point?
Goodness Judith, as two economists we will never guess what use you might make of data.
Cross-posted at Hoyden About Town.
Posted in feminism, politics, work and family (im)balance | 1 Comment »
I was interviewed recently for a television program that intends to look at various styles of parenting and the kinds of children these create. I know they’re trying to be nuanced about the topic but I can imagine the stereotypes their audience will have in mind. Namely, the idea that my generation of parents are coddling our children, are too intense about our parenting, that we’re a little too attentive.. that we want our kids to get trophies just for showing up and we’re creating feckless brats in the process. Yes, so about that..
I really, really like this piece, “How the ‘trophy for just showing up’ was earned” by Sonya Huber in The New York Times.
My son’s eight soccer trophies are lined up above his bed. One is a fake-metal bobblehead, and one has a little soccer ball that spins. He received each one for merely being on the roster.
These pieces of plastic and metal handed out by park-district coaches have emerged as a symbol of the unearned praise that is said to have weakened our children’s characters.
But I love them, those memorials to grit and mud.
Motherhood writing could do with a lot more of this… a lot more perspective, a lot less stereotyping.
Posted in feminism, motherhood, motherhood bliss, motherhood sux, school kids, single parenthood | 2 Comments »
Vice recently posted a fashion spread today called “Groin Gazing.” It features a series of photos by Claire Milbrath with styling by Mila Franovic, and the photos are framed tight on the clothed junk for your viewing pleasure. The models are identified by the type of guy they depict, such as “The Boyfriend” or “The Artist” or “The Businessman,” and even “The Boy Next Door.” And taken together, they are also exactly the sorts of men, anonymous, real, and imagined that a woman (or man) might lust after..
But what makes it remarkable is that, for a moment, you can indulge what it would actually be like if most of the photographs you saw in advertising or fashion were meant to cater to your desire. Not your desire to be more beautiful, or thinner, or more glamorous, but simply your desire for the opposite sex. This is something men take for granted. This is something women must overlook when watching popular TV shows and movies (*cough*gameofthrones*cough*truedetective*cough) that purport to be for everyone, and then instantly betray that when it’s time to show naked bodies, which are largely female, and which are nearly always and only filmed for an assumed hetero male viewer.
This discussion at Jezebel also made me think about how a big part of feeling desire is about feeling desired. Years ago I read an interview with a feminist stripper and she was asked about the difference between doing lap dances for male and female customers and she said that male customers tipped more. She put that down to men being more able to believe the fantasy that the stripper really, truly desired him. Female customers, she said, enjoyed the lap dance but understood that the stripper was working, that it was her job to pretend. But male customers believed the stripper wanted him and it was exciting and he tipped accordingly. What about when women watch male strippers instead? It’s quite difficult to objectify men. As John Berger (Ways of Seeing) says:
Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves…
.. The surveyor of women in herself is male: the surveyed female … thus she turns herself into an object-and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.
Might the patriarchal history of objectifying women mean that, for women, feeling desirable is an especially important part of feeling desire? Women often complain that mainstream images of men aren’t particularly erotic. Maybe it is partly because we don’t see evidence of desire for us in those images of men? Yes, male model, you look hot and you’re making serious bedroom eyes at me in this photo but I see from your crotch that you’re just posing. We know it’s all pretend. We don’t get the kick of excitement that is knowing this person is excited too, and that they’re excited about us.
See below the line for an example of these “groin gazing” photos. (Sorry about the lack of diversity – only slim white guys were used in the VICE fashion spread).
Posted in body image, feminism, sex of the icky parental kind | 12 Comments »
I wish so much that I had been able to buy Miriam Elia’s book, We Go to the Art Gallery before it was stomped on by Penguin books. I do love a bit of mothering and nihilism in art galleries, you know.
Thanks to Penelope D. for the link.
Posted in art, motherhood, motherhood bliss, motherhood sux, pop culture, school kids | 3 Comments »
From here. Thanks to Leena for the link.
Posted in me, pop culture, slow parenting | 1 Comment »
If this essay doesn’t make you feel like going for a swim this very instant..
The body is engaged in full physical movement, but the mind itself floats, untethered.
Posted in thinking | 2 Comments »