I was invited to appear on Media7 this week, as part of a panel discussing misogyny on the internet.
World famous in New Zealand, or at least in Greenhills, where a couple of people at places I go to regularly (like, the supermarket – exciting, huh) have stopped to talk to me about it. I was happier with the way that this discussion went, except that my pearls clattered against the microphone, so I had to take them off and wear them around my wrist instead. There goes my badge of middle class respectability. As ever, I thought I things I could have said, or things I might have qualified, or said better, after the fact. Oh well.
Many thanks for the invitation, Media7.
Alasdair Thompson, head of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, has opined that the gender pay gap exists because women take more sick leave every month, and they have babies.
For details on the story, see Women’s sick day comments outrage. You could also check what Tallulah has to say: I’m sick of this bullshit. Period. And what anjum says: Unequal pay is ok with employers. And Stef: This is what makes periods painful. And the other Steph: It’s like Carrie’s prom in here.
I’ve created a bingo square for Alasdair, taken from some of the special things he has said today. Thank you, Alasdair, for the inspiration.
(Description: Bingo card. Text for squares at end of post)
Sources: Newstalk ZB’s interviews with Thompson, KiwiPolitico’s transcript of part of the initial interview, TV3′s full interview with Thompson. The start of the TV3 interview has some very special moments, such as:
“Don’t interrupt me, otherwise we stop the interview.”
“Do we start from the top? (Reply – sure) Jeez!”
“I’m moving it to a higher plane.”
“I’ll say what I want to say without interruption.”
“I’ve given you the privilege of having an interview.”
I think that women around the country have been alternately been feeling a sense of dread that someone representing employers would say and think such things, and rolling around the floor laughing.
1st row across: My heart is pure on this matter. / The truth is the truth is the truth. / I have data … Here in my own firm. From talking to other employers. / Once a month women have sick problems. / The person who takes the telephone calls (for sick leave) knows the data.
2nd row across: Women have babies. / I’m sure there are workplaces with some degree of gender discrimination. / Men and women are different. / I’ve been taken out of context. / I’m sorry if I offended you.
3rd row across:EMA support equal pay for equal productivity. / The socialists don’t like [the facts of life]. / Facts of life / [Giving staff information] will just lead to industrial unrest. / I’m not sexist.
Middle square: Facts of life
4th row across: Women should be paid more than men where their productivity is greater. / I don’t like saying these things. / The two highest paid lawyers in my firm are women. / Lots of men are unproductive because they’re in jail. / Women take the most sick leave.
5th row across: 90% of people would agree with the guts of my statements. / Women take time off to look after sick kids. / It might be the way I said it. / We’re a member of the EEO employers…. thing. / I have people of every religion and every colour and every race working for me.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to move on from The Hand Mirror. No particular reason. Just a sense that my time there was done. You can pop on over there and read my farewell post, if you like. As I said in that post, I have the greatest admiration for Julie Fairey, who put the team together, and for the other women who blog there. A couple of other great women have joined the team since, so they have a tremendous line-up of writers there. I’ll miss blogging there, but… it was time to go.
But where to?
Yes, that name does have more than one possible meaning, and yes, you should google it, except for you, Mum. Also my dad and my venerable uncles should exercise caution. You too, darling. And my brothers. And… hmmm… let’s just say that this is a bit more out there than I’m used to, and it may be that I am the boring nerdy one at The Lady Garden.
I’ll be blogging at The Lady Garden with some fabulous women: Emma Hart, Tallulah Spankhead, and Coley Tangerina. I think the blog will have a different flavour to The Hand Mirror, but lets see how things develop over time.
I’ll still be blogging here too. I love sharing a space with women I admire and like, but I like having my own space too. And if you’re not quite sure how to navigate the space at The Lady Garden, then by all means drop by and see me here, and we’ll see if we can sort it out (yes, I *am* looking at you, Robert). While we’re not planning to do Feminism 101 at The Lady Garden, we do want people to be able to participate there.
I would like to say that just as I learned my feminism from my mother, I learned my gardening from her too.
Google has a special header up for Mother’s Day. And, in an appalling break with the pinkification of anything to do with women, it’s NOT PINK!
(Description: “Google” in greyish-purple font, “L” as a tall, slender daisy style flower with purple petals.)
I didn’t see last year’s Google effort for Mother’s Day, but the 2009 one was fairly revolting. In Stef’s memorable phrase, it looked as if a flamingo had thrown up all over it. How pleasant to see something different this year.
MIND THE LINE, IT MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE
Blue lines on roads in Island Bay mark the furthest point that a worst-case tsunami has been calculated to reach.
Since the lines were painted in February, after consultation with GNS Science, almost every coastal suburb has expressed an interest in having them.
“If there was a big earthquake in Wellington, and you live on the coast and have seen that line on the street, then hopefully you grab your wife and kids and go to behind where that line is,” Wellington emergency management office senior adviser Dan Neely said.
You grab your wife and your kids…
So many possible meanings there. Maybe it’s because only men are capable of taking action, or because men are the ones who take responsibility for action, or because when it comes to disaster planning, we plan for men. Also, you will note that we only plan for nuclear families, and families that have a husband and a wife at that.
It’s such a small thing, but it’s revealing. It shows which people are regarded as being the norm, the average, the ones from whom all others are different.
And it’s so easy to fix. All he needed to say was, “… then hopefully you grab the people around you and go to behind where that line is.”
Maybe that’s what he meant to say. I’m sure he is concerned for the safety of everyone in Wellington. It would just be nice if that thought got out into public discourse too, instead of using language that reinforces notions of men as normative, and women as others who need to be cared for.