Equal Rights Vacuum; Feminism Fails to Bring a Fairer Deal for Women

Article excerpt

Byline: ISABEL OAKESHOTT

THE once-accepted wisdom that a woman' s place is in the home belongs to a bygone age ... or so we have been led to believe.

But new statistics reveal that, in Scotland at least, feminism has failed to deliver the sweeping changes it once promised.

The figures show women are still doing far more housework than their partners and earning less than their male colleagues. Crucially, they are more likely to be overweight and unhappy than men.

The gulf between men and women has been exposed in a survey by the Scottish Executive.

It also shows that the traditional glass ceiling is still seriously restricting women's earning power.

The average single woman in Scotland earns [pound]177 a week - only 84 per cent of what her male counterpart can expect. Once she has children, the likelihood that she will bring home a decent salary diminishes drastically.

On average, women earn just 36 per cent of the amount men with children earn, either because they can only work part-time or because they are unable to secure such good jobs. Even when they do become bosses, female managers earn just 69 per cent of what their male colleagues get, with female sales staff faring only slightly better.

Muriel Robison, principal legal officer with the Equal Opportunities Commission, said: 'When you consider that we have had 30 years of equal opportunities legislation, the pay gap is dire.' In other areas there has been progress. Over the past ten years, girls have been consistently outperforming boys at school and in higher education. …