22 February 2010

From the duh files...


Really? Scrapping the court challenges program, removing "gender equality" from the mandate of the Status of Women Canada, and closing three quarters of the Status of Women Canada offices didn't do us any good? Really. Well, colour me shocked.

The court challenges issue spurred a facebook group. But of course, that means little to the government (or anyone else, unfortunately). I got myself one of those nifty looking t-shirts, even. Now, that's another rant, thank you. Stupid shirt. I bought an extra large. I am not an extra large woman, but I do wear an extra large size in most t-shirts. I have given this one to Snap. She weighs 80 lbs. The shirt fits her like a loose, but not too big, t-shirt. How's that for some feminist irony? But, I digress.
The report also slams the government for scrapping a nascent $5 billion over five years national child care program and contends that "senior advisers within the office of the prime minister [have] strong links to anti-feminist organizations."
Yeah, that was a kick in the teeth, that was. And to add insult to injury, giving us $100/mo for childcare needs? Please. I pay that for child care. And I only work 7 hours a week!  What's that going to do for people who work full time? Squat, that's what. Now, I'll grant you, I overpay because I can, and the single mother on welfare who babysits for me needs the extra money (yet another rant for another day), and I have to pay extra because Crackle is autistic and I need better care for him than most can provide. But still. $100/mo? And just to grind salt into the wound, claw it back in income tax. Wanna hear a good one? I made approximately $7000 last year (including the Harper Hundred). Because my husband couldn't claim all of the spousal amount anymore, his refund dropped by $1500 dollars. So basically, MOST of the Harper Hundred was gone, right there. And don't even get me started on how I can't deduct my interest payments on my student loan, but can't transfer them to my husband either. I can't get on interest relief programs, because he makes too much money, and should, according to them, pay off my loan for me, but I can't transfer the deduction to him. It's remarkably sexist.

Oh, and who are the advisers with strong links to anti-feminist organizations? I'd like their names!
Queens University law and gender studies professor Kathy Lahey calls the report "devastating."
Please, can we stop misusing this word? Losing your children to your abusive ex? Devastating. Earthquake in Haiti? Devastating. A report saying we're losing ground? Not so much devastating. Shit like this is why feminists get a bad name.

One part I found particularly interesting, because at one point I was considering a career in academia was this:
Men with PhDs are still twice as likely to be named full professors than women with PhDs, the report said. And female academics earn 79 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn, which is only slightly better than the overall wage gap of 70.5 per cent.
 I think there is something missing here. How was this determined? Did they look at all female academics average salary vs. all male academics average salary? Or did they break it down by area? I'd really like to look at the methodology. It seems to me that in areas like Engineering or Computer Science where the competition with industry to get the best people drives up the salaries, and those areas tend to be dominated by men. Now, not to say that that in and of itself isn't a problem, clearly it is, but it isn't the same as overt discrimination by gender. Do women in Engineering get paid approximately the same as men in Engineering? I have no idea. And I would really like to.

Same with the "overall wage gap". Is it more a matter of women do lower paying jobs (childcare, etc)? Or is it also that we get paid less for equal work? I think it would be very interesting to see the breakdown.

And then there are benefits... In the United Church, wages are set from above. That is, the individual churches cannot decide how much to pay the ministers. It's excellent, and helps ensure gender equity in wages. However, the benefits are negotiated at the pastoral charge level. Well, guess what they found out? Men have better benefits. I don't know if it's that men are conditioned to bargain harder, or what it is. But I do know this: The previous minister at my church got a higher housing allowance than the current one. This is because he was married, and was expected to need more money to rent a house than our current single minister. Previous guy's wife was not expected to contribute. Seriously. Never mind that she made about 3 times what he did, in a very prestigious position. Ridiculous. Also, they paid him at the top of his scale, and tried to offer the new one the bottom rung on the scale. She told them "no way". Good for her.

So, Stevie is painting a rosy picture for women, and it's clearly not playing out. We're not taking it. But we don't seem to have the power to do a damned thing about it. And he's stripping away what powers we did have. It's infuriating. I'd like to see a pot-banging protest. The kind that Mexican women threw a few years back. Start small, with everyone banging pots outside their doors for an hour and simply STOP TAKING THIS. It's infuriating. But dammit, we've been put in a position where we're caretakers for children, and there aren't many of us who can just leave them to protest the way we need to in order to stop this shit from happening over and over again. And those bastards are counting on that.


MgS said...

This is no surprise - it's the 'Social Conservatism By The Back Door' strategy that Harper has been playing out since 2006.

It's bad for just about everybody who isn't a male WASP.

Ultimately, this is all about re-instating a sense of privilege that the ReformaTories think they've lost because of uppity feminists/gay rights/ethnic minority advocates.

Anonymous said...