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Women, Class and Gender: new discriminations Kathleen Lynch Equality Studies Centre UCD School of Social Justice 22 nd Greaves School 10 th -12 th September.

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Presentation on theme: "Women, Class and Gender: new discriminations Kathleen Lynch Equality Studies Centre UCD School of Social Justice 22 nd Greaves School 10 th -12 th September."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women, Class and Gender: new discriminations Kathleen Lynch Equality Studies Centre UCD School of Social Justice 22 nd Greaves School 10 th -12 th September 2010

2 2 Economic and social status of women and men in Ireland Education: In Ireland 14.2% of men aged 18 to 24 and 8.7% of women left school early in 2008; 57% of all 3 rd level graduates are women…this looks very promising Employment and having Children In 2008, the employment rate for women aged was 66.1%. This rate varied from 87.4% for women with no children to 56.9% for women whose youngest child was aged between 0 and 3 years of age (Table 1.7, CSO 2009) Income The average income for Irish men aged in 2006 was €32,338 and for women it was €21,802 or 67.4 % of what men earned Average income of women aged is only 53% of men ’ s income Source: CSO Women and Men in Ireland, (2009);

3 3 Women in Ireland: Ownership and control of resources Control of resources: 86% of employers are men: only 3% of managing directors and 21% of senior managers are women Control of the Means of State Violence: Police and the Army combined are approximately 90% male Control of Land: 94% of farm holders are men Lack of security: Almost 80% of part-time workers - those working 19 hours per week or less are women. Almost 33% of all women employed are part-time compared with 8% of men Unpaid Labour: Less than 1% of persons whose main activity was working managing/caring the home/family were men; 99% were women

4 4 Ireland: Pension coverage of persons in employment, 2005 and 2008 % of Women and Men with Different Pensions Pension coverage Men Women Men Women Occupational pension Personal pension Both occupational & personal pension No pension Total Source: CSO QNHS36 (% are rounded so may not add up to 100) Table 3.3 CSO Women and Men in Ireland Report, 2009

5 5 All types of Carers aged 16+ (almost 1.2 million) (2001) European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP) Type of CareFemale MaleTotalTotal Pop. Carer % % % % Care of children only Care of persons due to Illness, age or disability Care of Children +adults No Care responsibility N/A Total

6 6 Earned Income differences between women and men are much greater than recognised Focus on hourly earnings conceals true differences in income between women and men in Ireland Mean (average) annual earnings for men in 2007 were €40,269 Mean (average) annual earnings for women in 2007 were €31,403 –Women earned 78% of what men earned on average in 2007 In the Financial sector women earned only 55% of what men earned –men’s average salary was €73,920 compared with €40,884 for women – (including bonuses for both) Women only earned 66% of what men earned in the Electricity, Gas and Water supply sector: –Men’s average earnings including bonuses were €74,578 while they were €49,269 for women including bonuses Source: CSO (2009) National Employment Survey, Dublin: Government publications office (Table 40)

7 7 Proposal to give higher points to higher level Maths – a class and gender issue The Class Issue: Giving higher points to higher grades in HL maths will further exacerbate inequality –In 2002 in our study of Mathematics education (Lyons, Lynch, Close, et al., Inside Classrooms: the teaching and learning of Mathematics in Social Context) we found that 7% of schools did not do HL maths at Junior Cert– all were disadvantaged. In a further 20% less than 20% did HL maths at Junior C – the majority were either disadvantaged or had high numbers of students who were. This means that the numbers doing them at LC are even lower in these schools Gender inequality would also be exacerbates as more boys do HL maths and more get As – in 2010, 54.3% of those who did HL Maths at leaving certificate were boys and of these 16.1% got As compared with 12.2% of girls. At the B level, girls and boys are equal and more girls get Cs at higher level

8 8 Attacks on the public service and the community sector are attacks on women 26,507 in Civil Service of whom 65% are women – however between 75% and 90% of the top 3 level positions are held by men (PO, AS and Sec. Gen) Source: Department of Finance (CSO), 2009 Women and Men in Ireland, 2008 Report Table 1.19 –85% of graduates in health and welfare and 80.7% of those in education are women –82.5% of graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction are men –95% of those employed in construction are men –85% of those working in primary education are women; almost 80% of those in health care are women; Community sector workers are overwhelmingly women – working class women Women are disproportionately concentrated in lower paid sectors of the economy –cleaning, catering, retailing, caring, clerical in public and private sectors –58% of all service workers are women

9 9 How do we understand the subordinate status of women? The impact of Conceptions of Citizenship Liberal, Social democratic view prevails within the EU Traditionally citizenship is equated with the public sphere: –citizen is defined as an economic actor –citizen is defined as a socio-cultural actor –citizen is defined as a political actor The adult citizen is defined as an autonomous person (employed worker of a particular nationality) It largely ignores community & voluntary work, care work and love work generally work that is not for gain/profit)

10 10 Problems with Liberal conceptions of Citizenship for Women Ignores the reality of dependency and interdependency Silence on the reality of human dependency and interdependency leads to silence on the care and love work that most women and many men do without pay Need a new perspective on citizenship - Universal caregiver and care receiver - a person who has citizenship with or without paid employment –based on a relational rather than autonomous view of the person

11 11 Neo-liberal concept of the citizen prioritises the economic citizen The neo-liberal ‘citizen is seen as an employed worker and economic maximiser and consumer. ‘a hypothetical man supposed to be free from altruistic sentiments and motives interfering with a purely selfish pursuit of wealth and its enjoyment.’ Moral endorsement of the CARE-LESS model of the citizen in neo- liberalism – ‘ideal worker is a Zero-Load worker’ – person with no care responsibilities Self-interested economic model is blind to the rationalities of caring which are not governed by purely economic self-centred calculation.

12 12 HPAT and Gender The Health Professional Aptitude Test for medicine Secret test – Examining should be done in public Evidence this year that repeating the test radically raised students scores – this shows it is not a test of ability as it purports to be – practising improves your scores so it is a test of practice not ability or learning!! ACER has refused to release statistics on the test and improved scores! Cost – it costs €95 to do the test and you have to buy the tests to practice at €27.50 to include postage There are only 5 Centres in Ireland where it is offered so students may have to stay overnight – more money 110 multiple choice questions - girls tend not to do as well on MCTs as boys HPAT is directly discriminatory against women as section 3 is based on non-verbal spatial reasoning tests (essentially a mathematics test) where girls are known not to perform as well as boys for a host of different reasons

13 13 Sample question from the HPAT

14 14 Sample question from the HPAT

15 15 Report of the US Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission, 2008 Seriously questions the use of standardized tests as a basis for selecting for higher education entry on: –Social class grounds – costs involved/practice makes perfect! –Racial/ethnic grounds/language grounds –Gender grounds as they are not as reliable for women Tests that are best predictors of overall college attainment (not just first year) are tests that “measure content covered in high school courses” (page 11)

16 16 Report of the US Commission on the Use of Standardized Tests in Undergraduate Admission, 2008 Referring to the use of tests as a way of measuring educational outcomes it says: “The Commission recommends that states refrain from using standardized admission tests without significant modification as evaluators of student achievement, …..Admission tests ….are not sufficiently tailored to measure progress toward explicit measures for learning in a given state.” (Page 10) Time for someone to take a discrimination case on gender equality grounds re. the HPAT

17 17

18 18 Time for Resistance Culture of silence wrapped around Irish Women Fear of being seen, of being defined as awkward, assertive etc., controls us and keeps us silent Irish women need to come out of the closet and lay claim to a new concept of citizenship, one that grants them rights in the public sphere to employment but also recognises the cost of care work, personally and politically


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