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Posts Tagged ‘news’

  1. Gender pay gap in the City

    September 7, 2009 by superlative

    There’s an article on BBC News this morning, Gender pay gap in the City ‘shocking’, that says that women in the financial sector in London get paid far fewer bonuses than men. Some equality bod says in it that “the sector must take action to redress this shocking disparity of rewards”, and the government has talked about tough new measures to tackle the pay gap.

    I would agree that if men are receiving five times more in bonus payments than women, and if women aren’t reaching the upper echelons of the companies solely because they are women, then that’s shocking and should be redressed.
    The article blames entrenched recruitment patterns, and practices which intentionally or not inhibit women’s success for the disparity.
    BUT, I also read this article in the Economist this week, called Risky business. The article outlines a study on attitude to risk, which is important in a lot of financial jobs, and the levels of testosterone in a person’s body. The study claims that if you look at people as individuals, regardless of sex, and factor in their testosterone levels, any perceived sexism vanishes. Men and women with the same testosterone levels performed the same in the study, from those who were more risk-averse to those who were more comfortable with it.
    When the study tracked people through into their careers, they found the same correlation between testosterone levels and where they ended up: those with higher levels were more likely to choose risky jobs in finance.
    So based on that, I now don’t know what to make of the first article on pay disparity. If bonuses and promotions in the financial sector are linked to performance, and if those with higher testosterone levels (admittedly being mostly men) perform better, is it really sexist? And is it realistic to introduce quotas and other measures to eliminate the pay gap? That could artificially reward women whose performance doesn’t merit it.
    It’s an interesting argument anyway, and one that probably hasn’t been considered by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. It’s only one study of course, so more work would be needed to corroborate it, but it muddied the waters for me rather and gave me something to think about.

  2. Feeling a bit peaky? Well never mind you’re a criminal, off you pop home

    August 20, 2009 by superlative

    I have been appalled recently by two cases of people being released early from prison ‘on compassionate grounds’, i.e. because they’re probably going to die quite soon. The first was Ronnie Bigs, the Great Train Robber, and the second today looks set to be Ali al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber.

    I fail to see why the fact that they received life sentences for their crimes no longer matters simply because they are ill. That’s the whole point isn’t it? You give someone a life sentence so that they live out the rest of their life in prison, because their crimes were so serious.
    Ronnie Biggs being released is particularly galling. He was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the Great Train Robbery, but after 15 months he escaped from prison and then spent the next 30 years on the run. So as well as stealing £2.6m of money that wasn’t his, he stole back 30 years of freedom that weren’t his to live simply because he didn’t feel like staying in prison, and probably had a lovely time living in Australia and Brazil feeling very smug. He only came back to the UK because he was getting old and wanted medical treatment! What the fuck?? Medical treatment that he’s paid no taxes during his life to pay for!
    And Ali al-Megrahi killed 270 people in a terrorist bombing, but now has prostate cancer. Well boo fucking hoo – that’s 270 people who had their lives stolen from them, why should he enjoy even his last few months in freedom?
    Being ill and being old do not negate your crimes. These people forfeited their right to freedom when they decided the law didn’t apply to them; their sentence should be fully carried out and they should die in prison.

  3. Death by dustcart

    June 20, 2008 by superlative

    Being backed over by a dustcart must be a pretty awful and ignominious way to meet your end. That’s what happened to a 61 year-old grandmother last year in Brighton, and they’ve just finished the court case to decide if blame should be apportioned to someone. Honestly, if someone said to me “you’re going to die by being backed over by a dustcart”, I would think fuck what a rubbish way to go (hilarious pun there, not intentional).

    The woman was on a pedestrianised street, but which the vehicle was allowed to be on to collect rubbish. Although it had flashing lights on, its reversing warning siren (that annoying beep beep beep thing) was switched off, and the camera that allows the driver to see behind the truck wasn’t working. So apparently he should have asked a member of the crew to stand at the back and check it was safe, but he didn’t and it wasn’t. The driver has been fined £2,500 for driving without due care and attention and given nine points on his licence, but not convicted of anything like causing death through dangerous driving. The family seem fairly happy with that, they just didn’t want it labelled ‘an accident’ with no-one at fault.

    But seriously, of all the ways to go. It’s like dying on the toilet or falling into a septic tank or something. I’ve often wondered how I’ll go. Hopefully I’ll be really old and no longer frightened of it, at the moment it terrifies me. I’m quite a morbid person sometimes though, I should really cheer up…

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