Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Back in the real world, we bumped into Liam Gallagher last night...almost literally as he was chased into a pub by the paparazzi. To be honest, I initially thought it was Ronnie Wood, but was confused by how much bigger he looked in real life...fortunately a picture in the Metro this morning put me straight. The Cat's Mother is disappointed I failed to correctly identify him at the time as he's on her list of five. She says she would have screamed. I said he might have screamed.

I'm not that good with celebrity spotting...it was The Boy that saw Jeremy Clarkson on holiday, and I completely missed David Bradley who plays Filch in Harry Potter when we arrived back at Stansted Airport. The likelihood of me ever meeting my list of five (which consists entirely of Monica Bellucci) seems ever more remote.

Kellogsville wrote recently about equality, and why women are paid less than men. And how topical is that, given that the European Court has announced the insurance industry can no longer differentiate (discriminate?) between men and women. Yippee because my car and bike insurance will be cheaper. Boohoo because my annual pension will be smaller. Yippee because The Boy will not have to pay an outrageous amount more than The Cat for his first car insurance.

So is this really the march of equality taking a big leap forwards? No, I don't think so. You can prove statistically that women have fewer accidents than men so logically should pay less. You can prove statistically that women live longer than men, so the annual payment out of their pension pot should be smaller. Political correctness has triumphed over the laws of biology. That's not really very clever or impressive is it?

Men and women are different. That doesn't mean they are not equal, in the sense of one man/woman one vote, and equal pay for equal work, but you cannot deny the basic differences. There are some things that are different...and legislation should recognise that. Or the judiciary should keep its nose out all together. I've never understood why men retire later than women when they die younger...except of course I do - historically men were the breadwinners and had to provide for their family. It's not like that now. I see there is some talk of forcing companies to have equal representation of men and women on their management board. It's not something I agree with, in the same way I don't agree with any form of positive discrimination....because effectively it discriminates against the people who are not part of the positive discrimination...and more importantly it doesn't deal with the underlying causes...just the symptoms.

I work in an industry that is dominated by women, yet women still tend to earn less than men. That suggests to me, at least, that discrimination is based on more than historical prejudice.

So what's needed is a root and branch look at where there is unreasonable discrimination, and that should be put right. It's difficult to summarise such a complex topic in so few lines, but I hope that as The Cat and The Boy grow up into the commercial world they are given an equal chance to achieve what they want. And they both pay a reasonable sum for their car insurance.