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 Post subject: Gender pay gap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:54 am 
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I've received another question from reddit that certainly warrants attention. See here as to why I'm not responding on reddit the-failure-of-reddit-as-a-medium-for-discussion-t1331.html

"I was just wondering, because I was talking to someone the other day, and they mentioned that if the gender pay gap existed, employers would only employ women because their labour is cheaper. I found it hard to argue against this, but the figures don't match his explaination, and I was wondering what you thought about it?"

To begin with, the pay gap obviously exists, and what's more, domestic labor exists. What do I mean by that? Cleaning the home, cooking, taking care of children, doing the grocery shopping etc. etc. Women are all pretty much forced to engage in this unpaid form of labor, so even if women held jobs that paid precisely as much as men, they still come home to what is referred to as the "second shift." If you are single or living alone and you have a job, you surely know that this work you must do around the house IS work, but you aren't paid for it. We can take some reference to Marx when dealing with this question as well.

Marx quotes Schulz giving the following statistics

[quote2="Schulz"]The English spinning mills employ 196,818 women and only 158,818 men. For every 100 male workers in the cotton mills of Lancashire there are 103 female workers, and in Scotland as many as 209. In the English flax mills of Leeds, for every 100 male workers there were found to be 147 female workers. In Dundee and on the east coast of Scotland as many as 280. In the English silk mills ... many female workers; male workers predominate in the woollen mills where the work requires greater physical strength. In 1833, no fewer than 38,927 women were employed alongside 18,593 men in the North American cotton mills. As a result of the changes in the labour organism, a wider sphere of gainful employment has thus fallen to the share of the female ***.... Women now occupying an economically more independent position ... the two sexes are drawn closer together in their social conditions.”[/quote2]

So, to begin with, there are less women on the labour market than men (at least in the USA), period. (https://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/latest_annual_data.htm)

Further, even with less women on the labour market than men, the unemployment rate for women is lower than for men. So your friend is right, employers DO employ women more than men, whenever they can at least. Women often simply have the 'luxury' of doing unpaid domestic labour, but very frequently they are forced in to the recognised work force where they are paid less than men and still have to do domestic labour unpaid.

What your friend probably sees is the lack of women in more higher paid positions, and that is pretty intentional. Women are relegated to the lower paying jobs in healthcare and finance in general, serving as the nurse or secretary rather than the doctor or the boss.

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 Post subject: Re: Gender pay gap
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:00 pm 
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Quote:
"I was just wondering, because I was talking to someone the other day, and they mentioned that if the gender pay gap existed, employers would only employ women because their labour is cheaper. I found it hard to argue against this, but the figures don't match his explaination, and I was wondering what you thought about it?"


No, it's not just the pay gap-- the labor has to be made accessible; it has to be expelled from its domestic fetters-- so for example the great migration of capital to SEZ's, maquilladoras, etc. is accompanied by the great dispossession of young women in Latin America, South Asia, and even in Africa from being encapsulated completely by domestic household labor; or agricultural labor. And in fact, in raw numbers, I think almost all the increase in employment in the "newly developing economies" can be attributed to the increase in female labor.

Of course this is reversible, particularly in Africa, where the recurrent downturns, following weak "upturns" mean the women have to leave factories and return to domestic labor, like gathering firewood and hauling water; or, in a parallel phenomenon, leave school.

Look at factory employment in the Guangdong over the last 30 years and the tremendous upsurge in the labor participation rates of young women in China. This involve massive migration, and "super-exploitation" as these migrant women have reduced legal standing, and minimal claims on social welfare benefits.


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 Post subject: Re: Gender pay gap
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 6:24 am 
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Is it really expelled from domestic fetters though? Don't the women still have to perform domestic duties?

Edit: But the overall point is that fresh, unorganised labour is released in to the market, and being unorganised it is weak and ready for high levels of exploitation.

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 Post subject: Re: Gender pay gap
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:52 pm 
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The common objection against the existence of pay gap is that the figure doesn't compare equal education, equal work experience (maternity leave, part time work), same sector, etc. The argument is that if you would compare a man and a woman with the same education, work experience, same sector, etc. there would be no difference. Seems to be a valid point. The point should be though about differences in pay general (since this kind of discrimination is not based on gender, liberals don't have a problem with), which tends to be accepted as based on meritocracy or responsibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Gender pay gap
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:44 pm 
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Noa wrote:
The common objection against the existence of pay gap is that the figure doesn't compare equal education, equal work experience (maternity leave, part time work), same sector, etc. The argument is that if you would compare a man and a woman with the same education, work experience, same sector, etc. there would be no difference. Seems to be a valid point. The point should be though about differences in pay general (since this kind of discrimination is not based on gender, liberals don't have a problem with), which tends to be accepted as based on meritocracy or responsibility.


My understanding is 1) exactly those studies have been done, and show that there is a pay gap 2) that's pretty much an elitist argument, exactly analogous to saying there is no black-white gap because it doesn't compare equal education, equal experience, same sector, etc etc when of course part of the discrimination has been discrimination in education, in being allowed to enter sectors openly, in being allowed to gain experience.

Yes, for the class to be a class for itself, to get to the point where the demand is the abolition of wage-labor, the class needs to oppose all differentials in pay to workers, but you only get to that point by fighting the discrimination based on gender, race, color. Such discrimination has roots deep within the accumulation of capital.


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