Philobiblon: Weekend reading

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Weekend reading

* This is hardly news to anybody - certainly to women - but it is now official: 16 per cent of the UK's biggest employers are paying women significantly lower wages than men's.

"A study by the [Equal Opportunities] commission of 870 employers, all of whom have reviewed their pay structures to check if they are paying equally, found that 16% are unlawfully discriminating against their female workers by paying them less than men to do the same job."

And it is a pretty fair bet - since these are firms at least aware enough to do the survey - that the general figures would be higher.

But there is some sane thought being given to genuine flexible working.

"The Institute for Public Policy Research - entitled The Citizen's Stake - is calling for employers and employees to take a "whole career approach" to their working lives and dramatically rethink the way they think about time."
The Citizen's Stake approach involves viewing your working life as a number of "time units" that can be saved, borrowed and exchanged - much as our financial assets can. In this way, our working lives could be dramatically reshaped so that work-life balance becomes more of a reality.

Oddly enough the media -- particularly among sub-editors -- is something of a leader in this. I know lots of people who work four-day weeks, an agreement for two employees to job-share by working six-month about (one wanted to live in France for the other half of the year), all sorts of arrangements.

* A horrific tale of an arranged marriage that apparently ended with a woman abused and imprisoned. (I say apparently because the trial is ongoing.) The good news out of this is that it seems the police are taking reports such as this much more seriously than they did.

* Far be it from me to correct Germaine Greer, but hey, I will anyway. In today's piece in the Guardian on the John Donne portrait that the National Portrait Gallery is trying to buy, she writes of London at the very end of the 16th century "there was no room for doubters or backsliders while London reeked of the flesh charred at Tyburn". But under Elizabeth, and James, "heretics and Catholics" were no longer burnt. There were Catholics being executed, but they were hung, drawn and quartered for treason, not burnt.

* On the ground that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, I shouldn't point to this, but the main Guardian headline at present says "US threat to Hamas over $400 aid". I suspect there's an "m" missing in there ....

* The British fascination with some murders - usually sexual ones; all of this provoked by Sir Ian Blair, who for once had something to say (about the media's selective reporting of crime victims), but as usual managed to spectacularly put his foot in it in saying it.


Anonymous Sharon said...

I suppose Greer might be referring that when people were hanged drawn and quartered, their entrails were burnt in front of them. (Last year's C4 Elizabeth (the one with Helen Mirren) depicted this with some relish, I seem to remember.) But it does give the impression of some confusion.

1/28/2006 04:36:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Fair comment, but would that really cause London to "reek"? (Didn't see the re-enactment, but was it really an attempt to destroy the intestines, or more of a gesture?)

I know Greer's being metaphorical, but that is VERY metaphorical.

1/28/2006 07:02:00 pm  

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