Letter: The poor sex

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The Independent Online
In your piece on growing wage inequality, you list the best ways to get rich ("How fat cats rock the boat", Review, 3 November). You left out the most important one - be a man.

Women earn less than men for the following reasons: formerly male jobs now done by women, such as building society manager and factory supervisor, have been downgraded. The responsibility levels are the same or greater: the pay and conditions worse.

Second, subjective judgements about value mean that women's jobs are considered worth less than men's. This not only applies to feminised careers such as teaching or nursing, but to "women's" jobs in "male" industries. Commercial law pays more than family law, for example.

This gap has been widened by the growth of merit- and bonus-based pay. In its excellent report for the Equal Opportunities Commission the Institute of Manpower Studies details how women's skills are denigrated and how, when discretionary bonuses enter the equation, women are judged much less favourably than men.

There is no objective market in wages, just relentless economic sexism.

Josie Edwards

London N10

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