Kate Long Profile picture
Jan 11, 2018 54 tweets 13 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
In tonight's vintage mag tweets, I'll show just a few of the ways male employers tried to wriggle out of the 1976 Equal Pay Act.
Even when female workers managed to take their fight to the EOC and win, firms would launch a counter-appeal to delay having to pay them the proper wage.
Although sometimes they were 'lucky' and the boss breaking the law gave in without too much fuss.
Here's a great bit of logic from an employer determined to dodge the law.
Here's a clever dodge by Electrolux to keep its female workers on lower pay than men.
Here's a partcularly creative excuse by Vauxhall for paying men more than women.
Because sweeping the floor, if you're a man, requires initiative, complexity and judgement.
Note, too, how many employers took dodgy measures before the Equal Pay Act came in to protect their male workers' wages and ensure they could still pay women less.
Women: by definition Casual Workers because they 'have to take time off to look after others'.
Here's a good one: 'owing to the employer having to raise women's wage, he'd be forced to cut their hours and so pay them less'.
Here are some more women doing exactly the same job as men and being paid less.
Female senior consultant: £3000 PA. Male senior consultant: £3500.
That was from 1981, so well after the law came in. Employers thought they were invulnerable.
And another.
Shop steward explains how a low-paid job is "all right for a woman".
1975 and the government of Eire's desperate to stop the law coming in.
Safeguarding women's jobs is a retrograde step, explains chamber of commerce.
OK, I have another dozen or so of these but I'll add them in on Sunday if anyone wants to "collect the set".
But how incredibly disappointing that women are STILL fighting for equal pay, forty years after this law.
And that employers are still trying to find dodges around it.
But at the same time, a massive thank you to those women who did fight for equal pay, who did stand up to their bosses, and strike, and picket, and apply to tribunals, and bypass useless shop stewards, and go back to appeal when they lost.
Where would we be without these brave women?
And I think this is what gets to me sometimes: that women have had to fight so hard for the very basics, the stuff that drops into men's laps. Every damn thing seems to have been a battle in the 70s and 80s.
We couldn't go into that sports club, we couldn't order a restaurant meal on our own, we couldn't drink a pint in a pub, buy a vacuum cleaner on HP, get a coil fitted without hubby's say-so, claim back our own tax allowance.
(Because met's not forget that the Equal Pay Act was just that - it deliberately excluded issues of tax, pensions, benefits, all of which were much much lower for women on account of their being 'dependents'. )
And yes, we have made gains, but not without a lot of grief and there's still a heck of a way to go.
So, it being Sunday, let's look at more vintage mag clippings and again they're to do specifically with equal pay for women (or lack of it). I'll tag this thread #WASPI for those involved with the current pension fight.
Riddle me this: what's the difference between a male cushion stuffer and a female cushion stuffer? We don't know, but the men get more.
Women's unemployment doesn't count as real unemployment.
Turns out they didn't have to worry anyway.
She was only a glorified housewife, apparently.
In 1981 you could legally pay part time workers a lower rate than full time workers. And it so happened that most part time workers were ... you guessed it.
Yes, she won. But this is 6 years after the law about Equal Pay came in, and look at the way her employers tried to intimidate her.
This is the state of play EIGHT years after the law stated men and women must be paid equally.
Employers giving men different job titles so they can pay them at higher rates: women meanwhile being interviewed for jobs they'll never get.
Nine years!
Also, how come cleaning three toilets is equal to cleaning two?
He's seething with resentment, isn't he?
Reading back that last tweet, it seems like it can only be malice which prompted men to keep women out of pension schemes. What other justification could there be??
Britain somewhat slow to catch up.
In fact even after 1973, the government deliberately dragged its heels about legislating for equal pay.
Some figures.
Basically, love, the problem's that you're just not as good as the guys.
I do love the way they've gone straight for the female pronoun here when on every other page the default is male.
Of course, there were many many jobs where women were expected to work without any pay at all.
(As an aside, we had a family friend who was a vicar's wife, and she was treated like a skivvy by the church.)
Comments from an unfair dismissal tribunal: not to worry, love, you're a good-looking girl.
When you look back at the various underhand dodges and delaying tactics employers used, it's not really surprising, is it?
In N Ireland the Equal Pay Act was virtually useless for years.
(If anyone has info on when and how the Act there was strengthened, I'd be interested to hear.)
Last one for tonight, and it's par for the course. Presumably Cammell Laird were just hoping she'd give up.
Once again, a huge huge thank you to those women who DID stand up and fight for what was rightfully theirs. I hope the young women of today know about them, and the struggle they went through.

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More from @volewriter

Sep 13, 2018
Tonight's #VintageMagTweets come from this amazing stack of Women's Monitoring Network home-made magazines. They date from between 1981 and 198, though I think the group was active outside those dates.
This was their brief: to choose a date, then get women from all over the country to spot sexist or misogynistic items in national and local publications, cut them out and post them to the WMN for compilation.
The group was methodical in their approach, and the result is a revealing snapshot of attitudes to women as portrayed in the print media in the early 80s.
Read 131 tweets
Aug 24, 2018
Yesterday we saw this graph being passed around regarding gender bias in GCSE subjects. Green is boys, and purple is girls. graph shows only a tiny proportion of girls interested in construction.
Now, where would youngsters get the idea that construction was a field reserved for boys and nothing to do with girls? Here are some boys' T shirts on sale at Asda right now. t shirt showing construction vehicles
boys'T shirt showing construction vehicles
Read 18 tweets
Aug 13, 2018
In last night's #VintageMagTweets I asked how come boys are generally raised to be confident, and girls to be compliant (and the impact that has on their education and career progress). Well, today I was in Primark and I had a look at the messages on girls'and boys' T shirts.
Here are what the boys' T shirts told them they are/can do:
Read 35 tweets
Jun 21, 2018
Here we go, then, with a Cosmopolitan from 1981. There is some upsetting stuff about sexual violence in this batch, so please mute or unfollow if you need to. x
Very much the theme of magazines around this era: be careful, girls, don't ask for too much equality because it might upset the guys and we really don't want to do that.
In fact, here is the possible effect of feminism on a decent man. You've been warned.
Read 37 tweets
Jun 14, 2018
Here are tonight's vintage mag tweets. They all come from just one copy of Cosmopolitan, and I think make an interesting snapshot of the state of the world for women at that time.
So first off, a first aid quiz in which the idea of domestic violence against women is treated as a bit of a rib-tickler.
Still, they can redeem themselves later in the article and stress how unacceptable men beating up women really is, can't they? Oh.
Read 19 tweets
May 31, 2018
Just to tip you off, tonight's vintage mag clippings will be about the tax system and how it discriminated against women in the 70s, 80s and 90s. The effects of those policies are of course still being felt by #waspi women.
OK, remember the Equal Opportunities Act of 1975/6 that was supposed to bring parity to women's financial status? here's what it left out.
Here are some of the impacts of those exclusions, in 1976.
Read 42 tweets

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