Photo by Emil Athanasiou. Whenever the government fumbles around desperately for the story they can sell as success, they often reach for the following statistic: that since the Conservatives took power in 2010, unemployment has dropped, and more people than ever are in work. But this simple story conceals a much more worrying truth – that work simply doesn’t guarantee a decent standard of living any more. Official statistics gloss over the effects of semi-employment, self-employment, self-unemployment, zero-hours contracts and a shrinking in real wages, leaving four million people in in-work poverty. The sluggish growth of the apparent recovery is distorted by financial markets, and concentrated largely in the hands of the wealthy – particularly in the South of England. What growth does trickle down to the average worker is eaten up by inflation and falling wages. In other words, UK workers are in dire need of radical change to deliver a more just economy. And with … [Read more...] about A four-day working week is within our grasp
The simple truth about the gender pay gap
For too long, our economics has been dominated by the doctrine of GDP – a measure used to plan almost every government policy, but which has nothing to say about our quality of life. This approach has badly failed us. We’re a nation of the exhausted in a world on the brink of ecological collapse. Now we must start measuring the things that matter. Let’s start with a new measure that values the most precious and scarce resource we have: our time. In our first new policy idea as co-leaders of the Green Party, we are pledging to introduce a Free Time Index to count how much leisure time each of us really has. Time when we are not at work, or doing work on a long commute, or on call in the gig economy or doing unpaid care work. The time we all need to have a family life, relax, pursue other interests, study things that interest us or to be active in our local communities. Along with other indicators of a good economy like health, natural resources and housing … [Read more...] about ‘Forget GDP, we should measure people’s free time if we want to understand our country’s economic progress’
Last month I took my eight-month-old son William to a stay-and-play session at our local children’s centre. Hoping to get him crawling, I popped him down on a mat next to a box of toy cars. But when he shuffled over to a JCB, I freaked out that I might be unconsciously perpetuating gender stereotypes. Relocating to the kitchen area, I nodded in approval as he grabbed a plastic aubergine and tossed it into the microwave. But could this encourage a reliance on convenience culture? Maybe we’d have more luck with the dolls. As he reached enthusiastically for a blonde, blue-eyed, most likely cis-gendered schoolboy my heart sank — in the future, will he only hire employees who look just like him? Then he started banging its head against the floor, bashing this symbol of toxic masculinity into submission. Take that, patriarchy! If this sounds unhinged I’m not the only one struggling with the pressure to get parenthood “right”. Since his daughter … [Read more...] about When did raising kids become so complicated?
A slayer of man-baby trolls, polarising teller of hard truths and feminist flamethrower, Ford is rarely far from online uproar. Moreover, she fights back with élan, naming and shaming commenters who verbally attack or threaten her. If anything, the abuse acts as a spur of sorts. "Every time someone calls me a 'feminazi', I power up by five points," she tweeted in 2016. More recently, she commented: "I knew having a baby would confuse the angry scared little men." Her writing for Adelaide's Sunday Mail has been at one clear-eyed, caustic and fearless. A book was a foregone conclusion. Yet Fight Like a Girl arrives at a particularly curious time, not least because it's published on the back of an entire tsunami of similar tomes. It's certainly no bad thing, but bookshelves are awash with unapologetic feminist manifestos. Jessica Valenti, Laura Bates, Caroline Criado-Perez, Laurie Penny, Lindy West… when it comes to guidance and teachings, young feminists have rarely had it so … [Read more...] about Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford