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Sometimes, good news is bad news.

January 6, 2015

I was watching the Autumn statement in the gender studies institute of the LSE alongside other members of the Women’s Budget Group when George Osborne said  “And what’s happening to the gender pay gap? It’s just fallen to its lowest level in the entire history of this country.” I’ve never actually heard the sound of so many collective jaws dropping before.

What actually seems to have happened is that the gap went up a bit the year before, and then back down a bit last year.  But only if you take the government’s preferred measure, of the difference between men’s and women’s full time median earnings.  If you actually take into account the actual wages of actual people – you find that women tend to work part time more often than men because, biology (and sociology).  And the government’s “gender pay gap” doesn’t include them ohoh.

And then again as the Joseph Rowntree foundation noted:

So effectively what we were looking at was a bullshit statistic covering downwards convergence.  Trust me, the kind of feminism represented in the WBG isn’t about wanting to close the pay gap by making men poorer but by women richer.  Or as one tweeter pithily put it:

Anyway, the Women’s Budget Group report on the Autumn Statement is out now and can be read here.

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