View Kathleen`s presentation here

Women, Class and Gender:
new discriminations
Kathleen Lynch
Equality Studies Centre
UCD School of Social Justice
22nd Greaves School
10th -12th September 2010
Economic and social status of
women and men in Ireland
Education: In Ireland 14.2% of men aged 18 to 24 and 8.7% of women left
school early in 2008; 57% of all 3rd level graduates are women…this looks
very promising
Employment and having Children
In 2008, the employment rate for women aged 20-44 was 66.1%. This rate
varied from 87.4% for women with no children to 56.9% for women whose
youngest child was aged between 0 and 3 years of age (Table 1.7, CSO
The average income for Irish men aged 15-84 in 2006 was €32,338 and for
women it was €21,802 or 67.4 % of what men earned
Average income of women aged 55-65 is only 53% of men’s income
Source: CSO Women and Men in Ireland, (2009);
Women in Ireland: Ownership and control
of resources
• Control of resources: 86% of employers are men: only
3% of managing directors and 21% of senior managers
are women
• Control of the Means of State Violence: Police and the
Army combined are approximately 90% male
• Control of Land: 94% of farm holders are men
• Lack of security: Almost 80% of part-time workers those working 19 hours per week or less are women.
Almost 33% of all women employed are part-time
compared with 8% of men
• Unpaid Labour: Less than 1% of persons whose main
activity was working managing/caring the home/family
were men; 99% were women
Ireland: Pension coverage of persons in
employment, 2005 and 2008
% of Women and Men with Different Pensions
• Pension coverage
Men Women
Men Women
Occupational pension
Personal pension
Both occupational &
personal pension
No pension
Source: CSO QNHS36 (% are rounded so may not add up to 100)
Table 3.3 CSO Women and Men in Ireland Report, 2009
All types of Carers
aged 16+ (almost 1.2 million)
(2001) European Community Household Panel Survey (ECHP)
• Type of Care
Total Total
• Care of children only
• Care of persons due to
Illness, age or disability 3.0
• Care of Children +adults 3.0
• No Care responsibility 60.0
• Total
24.0 85.0
2.0 8.0
2.0 7.0
72.0 N/A
Earned Income differences between women
and men are much greater than recognised
Focus on hourly earnings conceals true differences in income between
women and men in Ireland
Mean (average) annual earnings for men in 2007 were €40,269
Mean (average) annual earnings for women in 2007 were €31,403
– Women earned 78% of what men earned on average in 2007
In the Financial sector women earned only 55% of what men earned
– men’s average salary was €73,920 compared with €40,884 for women –
(including bonuses for both)
Women only earned 66% of what men earned in the Electricity, Gas and
Water supply sector:
– Men’s average earnings including bonuses were €74,578 while they
were €49,269 for women including bonuses
Source: CSO (2009) National Employment Survey, 2007. Dublin: Government publications office (Table 40)
Proposal to give higher points to higher level
Maths – a class and gender issue
• The Class Issue: Giving higher points to higher grades in HL maths
will further exacerbate inequality
– In 2002 in our study of Mathematics education (Lyons, Lynch, Close, et
al., Inside Classrooms: the teaching and learning of Mathematics in
Social Context) we found that 7% of schools did not do HL maths at
Junior Cert– all were disadvantaged. In a further 20% less than 20%
did HL maths at Junior C – the majority were either disadvantaged or
had high numbers of students who were. This means that the numbers
doing them at LC are even lower in these schools
• Gender inequality would also be exacerbates as more boys do HL
maths and more get As
– in 2010, 54.3% of those who did HL Maths at leaving certificate were
boys and of these 16.1% got As compared with 12.2% of girls. At the B
level, girls and boys are equal and more girls get Cs at higher level
Attacks on the public service and the
community sector are attacks on women
26,507 in Civil Service of whom 65% are women
however between 75% and 90% of the top 3 level positions are held by men
(PO, AS and Sec. Gen)
Source: Department of Finance (CSO), 2009 Women and Men in Ireland, 2008
Report Table 1.19
– 85% of graduates in health and welfare and 80.7% of those in education are
– 82.5% of graduates in engineering, manufacturing and construction are men
– 95% of those employed in construction are men
– 85% of those working in primary education are women; almost 80% of those in
health care are women;
Community sector workers are overwhelmingly women – working class
Women are disproportionately concentrated in lower paid sectors of the
economy –cleaning, catering, retailing, caring, clerical in public and private
– 58% of all service workers are women
How do we understand the subordinate status
of women?
The impact of Conceptions of Citizenship
Liberal, Social democratic view prevails within the EU
Traditionally citizenship is equated with the public
– citizen is defined as an economic actor
– citizen is defined as a socio-cultural actor
– citizen is defined as a political actor
The adult citizen is defined as an autonomous person
(employed worker of a particular nationality)
It largely ignores community & voluntary work, care
work and love work generally work that is not for
Problems with Liberal conceptions of Citizenship for
Ignores the reality of dependency and interdependency
Silence on the reality of human dependency and
interdependency leads to silence on the care and love
work that most women and many men do without pay
Need a new perspective on citizenship - Universal
caregiver and care receiver - a person who has
citizenship with or without paid employment
– based on a relational rather than autonomous
view of the person
Neo-liberal concept of the citizen
prioritises the economic citizen
• The neo-liberal ‘citizen is seen as an employed worker
and economic maximiser and consumer.
‘a hypothetical man supposed to be free from altruistic
sentiments and motives interfering with a purely
selfish pursuit of wealth and its enjoyment.’
• Moral endorsement of the CARE-LESS model of the
citizen in neo- liberalism – ‘ideal worker is a Zero-Load
worker’ – person with no care responsibilities
• Self-interested economic model is blind to the
rationalities of caring which are not governed by
purely economic self-centred calculation.
HPAT and Gender
The Health Professional Aptitude Test for medicine
Secret test – Examining should be done in public
Evidence this year that repeating the test radically raised students scores –
this shows it is not a test of ability as it purports to be – practising improves
your scores so it is a test of practice not ability or learning!!
ACER has refused to release statistics on the test and improved scores!
Cost – it costs €95 to do the test and you have to buy the tests to practice at
€27.50 to include postage
There are only 5 Centres in Ireland where it is offered so students may have
to stay overnight – more money
110 multiple choice questions - girls tend not to do as well on MCTs as
HPAT is directly discriminatory against women as section 3 is based on nonverbal spatial reasoning tests (essentially a mathematics test) where girls
are known not to perform as well as boys for a host of different reasons
Sample question from the HPAT
Sample question from the HPAT
Report of the US Commission on the Use of
Standardized Tests in Undergraduate
Admission, 2008
• Seriously questions the use of standardized
tests as a basis for selecting for higher
education entry on:
– Social class grounds – costs involved/practice makes
– Racial/ethnic grounds/language grounds
– Gender grounds as they are not as reliable for women
• Tests that are best predictors of overall college
attainment (not just first year) are tests that
“measure content covered in high school
courses” (page 11)
Report of the US Commission on the Use of
Standardized Tests in Undergraduate
Admission, 2008
• Referring to the use of tests as a way of
measuring educational outcomes it says:
• “The Commission recommends that states
refrain from using standardized admission tests
without significant modification as evaluators of
student achievement, …..Admission tests ….are
not sufficiently tailored to measure progress
toward explicit measures for learning in a given
state.” (Page 10)
• Time for someone to take a discrimination
case on gender equality grounds re. the
Time for Resistance
• Culture of silence wrapped around Irish Women
• Fear of being seen, of being defined as
awkward, assertive etc., controls us and keeps
us silent
• Irish women need to come out of the closet and
lay claim to a new concept of citizenship, one
that grants them rights in the public sphere to
employment but also recognises the cost of care
work, personally and politically