Can we afford Equal Pay? Women, Work and the Media

It’s not often that I read something in the papers that really annoys me. That has something to do with the fact that I don’t read a paper regularly (we have the internet to blame for that!) and that I refuse to pay for the tat the Sun/Mirror/Daily Mail print but I was so miffed reading the front page article of the Metro the other day that I actually kept it as proof that I wasn’t just being over-senstive  (well, it was before 8am so anything is possible!).

The article was basically about a new ruling which found that female cleaners, cooks and care assistants in Birmingham City Council had been denied equal pay for years and were now finally granted compensation. Only thing is, the story wasn’t painted as Erin-Brockovich-style-justice but more of greedy women out to grab more money at the expense of others. For example, the sub-header read the equal pay ‘defeat’ rather than ‘victory’… but who exactly is losing out here…??

Despite highlighting the fact that female workers were excluded from bonuses paid to men that were worth upto 160% of their salaries and that whilst a grade 4 female care assistant was paid £12,291 and the highest paid male refuse worker was paid £50,000,  the main concern was that the council was facing a huge bill of compensation (which I am sure will be blamed at some point for various deteriotations in local services).

So rather than celebrating the move towards equal pay for women, you are left wondering whether we can really afford the (apparent) luxury of equal pay…

None of the women who were fighting for equal rights were featured or mentioned (not sure if that has anything to do with legal issues) and I really don’t see how we are going to relate/sympathize/support these women when all we can focus on is the  CLEANED OUT! header and the £500m bill.


2 responses to “Can we afford Equal Pay? Women, Work and the Media

  1. I can’t believe The Metro spun the story this way! It IS a great victory for these women and women everywhere. Local councils will just have to remain vigilant about equal pay so as not to be ‘cleaned out’ in the future, something Birmingham should have been doing anyway.

  2. arwafreelance

    I totally agree with you and the Metro is usually better than this! What really annoyed me was the whole equal pay ‘defeat’ spin as if we were taking a step back rather than a step forward…

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