“Gender Discrimination” comments actually a sidetrack

This morning on Newstalk ZB, Mike Hosking interviewed Alasdair Thompson and Helen Kelly about Green MP Catherine Delahunty’s bill on gender equality in pay. You may remember Delahunty having a bit of an unprovoked rage at members of the Young Nationals at the beginning of this year. If not, I’ll embed this at the bottom 🙂

Alasdair Thompson’s comments were stupid. He should not have said about women taking more time off because of “medical problems once a month”. While he does have a point about women taking time off for child birth (I’ll get to this later), it is unfortunate that these comments were blown out of proportion. If you listen to the interview before he says that, Helen Kelly has nothing. She clearly doesn’t understand what a pay gap is. Seriously, have a listen to the interview – that’s what I linked to above. She starts talking about how there’s a pay gap because people in higher management positions get paid more. Hold on, what?

But to the comment I’ve made here that will possibly be blown out of proportion just as much as this whole thing, and that is women are likely to have a lower pay because of taking time off for child birth. What company is going to invest money in training someone for higher positions when there is a good chance in a few years they will lose her because goes on maternity leave to have children, or leaves entirely to bring up the children. I know I wouldn’t invest time and money in someone that is going to potentially disappear in five years. That’s nothing against the ability of women to do the work. Women have every ability to do the work. But until they’ve had children, or reached an age where they aren’t likely to have children, they aren’t going to achieve these positions, because companies won’t want to invest this. If women are getting less for the same job in the same company, that’s wrong. But if they aren’t getting promoted because of the above reasons, that’s rational.

Now, have a look at what happens when Catherine Delahunty sees red. I mean blue.


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Posted on June 23, 2011, in New Zealand Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. And when I was at MIT the lecturer told us never to bother training anyone over 30, that it was a waste of time because they couldn’t learn, they were too old. That was crap too.
    If we only train people we are sure are never going to leave us and we take care of all of our little prejudices of who is worthy of training then we only train those who have no gumption and no place to go other than stay with us. It also is self perpetuating. If companies don’t train women because they will have babies, don’t train the over 30s because they are too old who does that leave. Oh, yes, young men. And we wonder why men are earning more than women. Really!

    • Okay… I have read this comment five times and am having trouble figuring out what you’re trying to say. I’m not saying you should only train people who are never going to leave the company. But if they are likely to leave before your company receives any benefit from that training, financially, that is a bad decision. If they’re likely to stick around for ten years, then sure, you can gain out of that person in ten years. But two or three years down the line, you will not have gained much from that training.

      Personally, I did not, and would not, say not to train anyone over 30. The fact is yes it was untrue that people over 30 can’t learn. However, it is NOT untrue that women leave jobs more often than men due to things like childbirth. I’m not saying women should stop giving birth. I’m simply saying they should not expect to be trained for higher positions unless it’s obvious they will not be leaving to start a family in the near future. Given that’s a very difficult thing to do, I personally wouldn’t expect that promotion until the woman has gone through childbirth or reached an age where it’s not going to happen. That’s exactly what I said in the post, and it’s what I stand by.

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