Monday, December 20, 2010

Female Academic: Pay Gap is Women's Own Fault

Women can't have it all: Female academic says those with top jobs only end up with 'nominal families'

Bold text is my emphasis.

Some women might want it all. But a report by a leading academic claims they never will.

Those who try to combine high-powered jobs with having children really only end up with ‘nominal families’ with whom they spend little time.

Dr Catherine Hakim concludes that the battle for sexual equality is over and any pay gap is down to women’s lifestyle choices.

She added that there was no popular support for ‘social engineering’ of the kind used by Labour to try to push mothers into work and persuade fathers to spend more time looking after children.

Her report calls on ministers to drop policies pushing for flexible working hours, more time off for fathers, and more places for women on company boards.

It comes after the publication of figures that show there is no longer a pay gap acting to the disadvantage of women among people under the age of 30.

After 30, women gradually earn less than men. The age at which pay rates diverge between the sexes is the same at which most women start to have families.

Dr Hakim, a senior research fellow at the London School of Economics, said: ‘In Britain half of all women in senior positions are child-free, and a lot more of them have nominal families with a single child and they subcontract out the work of caring for them to other women.’

Her report for centre-right think tank the Centre for Policy Studies will say equal opportunities policies first introduced in the 1970s have now achieved their aims.

Dr Hakim’s paper says the pay gap has not disappeared because women have chosen the jobs and careers they want rather than those that feminists – and politicians sympathetic to feminist arguments – believe they should have.

She criticises the widely-held assumption that women want to be financially independent from men and hold the same ambitions and career aims.

Her report also criticises the notion that ‘family-friendly policies’ help businesses achieve profitability. She says there is no difference between men and women managers, and that success in business for either sex depends on commitment to work and the willingness to put in long hours.

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