Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Duncan Cameron offers his take on the Paris climate change conference. Martin Lukacs notes that while the agreement reached there may not accomplish anywhere near what we need, the building climate movement should provide more hope than we've had to this point. Similarly, Thomas Walkom sees the summit as a useful fraud which should lead to something better. And Jonathan Sas argues that it's long past time for Canada's federal government to start acting - rather than merely spinning - on climate change.

- Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders points out the dangers of environmental journalism in the face of potential violence and corruption.

- Bob Mackin reports on David Loukidelis' criticism the B.C. Libs' delete, delete, delete attitude toward information. And Michael Smyth is skeptical as to whether matters will improve, while Travis Lupick finds particularly little reason to think anything will change given Christy Clark's aversion to putting anything in writing which might allow anybody to assess her actions later.

- CBC reports on Mike Simon's call for a focus on the social determinants of health in Atlantic Canada. And Jennifer Grahan discusses how Saskatchewan doctors are fighting back against putting MRIs up for sale.

- Finally, Polly Toynbee writes about the connection between the gender pay gap and the proper valuation of care work (whether paid or not):
Caring, cooking, cleaning, childminding and all the jobs servicing a society that would fall apart without women’s work are despised because these things are what women do, and women are despised for doing it and for being women.

At its most extreme, the horrendous domestic violence statistics reflect that abiding social control and contempt. Images of a few powerful women do nothing much to up-end that essential truth. One woman prime minister was remarkable, as are all manner of “role models”. But their exceptionalism makes the point: only 34% of managers, directors and senior officials are women. And these top women suffer a bigger pay gap than women at the bottom: the finance sector has the widest gap.

More women reaching the tree-tops doesn’t reflect most working women’s fraught dilemmas: caring is the obstacle, so a disproportionate number of high fliers don’t have children.
It would be astonishing if there wasn’t a huge pay gap with a downward pay spiral where underpaid women care for children and old people, taking in each other’s caring, unable to pay each other enough, causing the crisis in social care, in healthcare and in childcare. All that is despite women’s better educational results, despite 45 years of equality law.

MP Maria Miller, the Tory head of the committee, may not call for an equality revolution. But we could start with total pay transparency, so everyone knows who earns what and why. Make employers let in a trade union rep once a year to recruit, restoring some power to the workforce. As hospitals overflow for lack of home care, nursing homes close and the promised 30-hour free childcare can’t be delivered, we could reset the valuation on caring until as many men as women do it, at home and at work.

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