So for those not keeping a close eye on my life (if not why not, you cunts) I went away recently to Europe and along my physical Journey towards Romania I also started a Metaphorical Journey along the long and arduous path of feminism. After the degrading experience of reading a book titled “How to be a Woman” by Caitlin Moran and other books on the subject with similarly dire names I had intended to write a (well researched) blog on the economic reasoning behind a gender pay gap, why it shouldn’t be 30% and finally my all-encompassing solution for such a problem.
Yet instead while doing the research for this blog I found that the UKs system for maternity pay can charitably be described as nonsensical and uncharitably described as backwards on a similar level to that of Tom Cruise’s Ideology. First of all I’d like to make it clear that most women are probably not affected by the issues this blog raises. Nevertheless I think it’s important to take a good long look at government policy on maternity pay.
74% of companies provide more than the government level of benefit known as Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) which in 2010 was £112.75 a week. For those that don’t know you can take 39 weeks of for a pregnancy legally (although the EU has voted on a bill to change this and the amount.) however progress is slow in this field because, quite frankly, they have more important things to worry about.
Think all that information has sunk in? I doubt it; let me lay some truth on you. £112.75 works out to £5863 a year. My room in a 4 bedroom flat in London is costing me more than that. Only one of the EU 27 has lower government pregnancy support pay (Luxembourg). What this means is if you work for a UK company, there is a 1 in 4 chance that you cannot afford to get pregnant without financial support from another person. That’s fine for women who are happily married and decide to have a child, but what about unplanned pregnancy? What about women whose husbands leave them? What about rape victims? Are we seriously giving up on these women and their unborn children?
Furthermore (look at me using words) this 26% of firms are often at the bottom end of the pay structure for low paid and government designated “unskilled” work, Women in this line of work are often undereducated in comparison with the national average, there is also much research linking unplanned pregnancy to low income.
|See I don't just make this shit up|
This means that the women who have the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy, have the lowest financial capacity to support themselves get an unacceptably low amount of welfare support from our government. The most vulnerable, gain the least support.
And this is shortfall is reflected in the government shortfall, if you crunch the numbers (which I have) you’ll see the government spending on SMP is £2765 per woman, which means (with more crunching) that the average woman at 26% of UK firms takes just 24.5 weeks off work when having a child. That’s 171 days off to grow a human.
Like I said above, help is on the way, the EU is riding in on its debt ridden pony to save the day, hurrah! Maybe I can buy Greece for a tenner and then turn it into a massive olive farm and use the profits to save pregnant women in the UK. Maybe not, I’ll probably just stay at home.
If you were affected by any of the issues raised by this blog there isn’t a government hotline you can call, because apparently they don’t give a shit
on an unrelated note
P.S to finish the answer to the joke in the title is neither have I, because she's dead.