The cost of motherhood: 40 per cent disadvantge
It is something that still raises my blood pressure thinking about it. My poor Mum, who was never very high in self-confidence and ego, really wanted a job as an estate agent, and would have been very good at it, because she was really good at people.
It would have been her first real "career" job, after taking a range of part-time secretarial posts when I was young, so that she was always able to take me to and pick me up from school. But I was now 11, and other possibilities beckoned. The choice was down between her and a male applicant, but the employer chose the man, telling Mum that "your child might get sick or something". Mum never went for another professional job.
Now the same employer mightn't actually say that flat out, but it seems his compatriots are still thinking it...
The review concluded that mothers were the most disadvantaged group in the job market, after calculating which groups face the biggest “penalties” when analysing data dating back to 1974.
It was found that mothers with young children have a 40 per cent disadvantage. The next most disadvantaged groups were Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, with a 30 per cent disadvantage, and mothers with children over 11 years, at almost 20 per cent.
Then of course there are other disdvantages. The Guardian gets a bloke to list his ten favourite verse novels. Nine of them are by blokes; one is by a long-dead woman, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
That's the power of the "old media", but the new can be as bad: Amazon is in hot water, in an uncomfortable reminder of the potential power of these new virtual behmouths, over the anti-abortion slant of its search results:
Campaigners complained that requests for information on abortion generated the response "Did you mean adoption?" at the top of the page. They expressed their suspicion that Amazon was tampering with its search results to appease pro-life groups, and expressing what appeared to be an "editorial position".
Amazon has hurriedly taken down the question but continues to risk the ire of pro-choice groups because adoption is still listed as a related topic. Customers are not offered listings on abortion when they search on adoption.
Then Afghanistan - remember that? George Bush's success story? Well the UN is tell refugees don't come home because of the parlous state of the security and general situations. Is it any wonder the US can't catch Bin Laden?
Finally - I do try to get one bit of good news in the round-up, a lovely profile of Janet Todd:
From the trend-setting encyclopaedia of women writers that she brought out in 1984, through the seven-volume edition of the works of Aphra Behn (a Mother of the English Novel), a seven-volume edition of the works of Mary Wollstonecraft (with Marilyn Butler), to the nine-volume Jane Austen edition (currently under way with CUP), Todd has tramped the Himalayan ranges of her subject. She is the kind of academic who, unlike most of her colleagues, will leave monuments behind her. Useful monuments.