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From: The Socialist issue 915, 7 September 2016: #KeepCorbyn: Build the movement against austerity

Search site for keywords: Women - Health - Mental health - Pregnancy - Care worker

Women lose out in the workplace

Young women on the national anti-austerity demo, June 2015, photo Socialist Party

Young women on the national anti-austerity demo, June 2015, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

'Karen Smith', care worker

Pregnant women and mums are "losing out" in the workplace, according to Citizens Advice.

Employers use pregnancy to cheat women out of promotions, pay and leave. The rise in cost of employment tribunals is a major factor.

But working in the care sector, you might think women have it better. After all, it is dominated by women.

Further studies show women are still at a disadvantage in female-dominated workplaces. In the US, for example, the Journal of the American Medical Association found in 2015 that women nurses are paid $5,200 a year less than men.

I work in men's mental health. A harmful culture of macho masculinity is evident around every corner. Men can't show their feelings, men can't cry, that's what 'girls' do. So instead some men show their emotions in the more 'accepted' form of aggression.

These are vulnerable men dealing with a history of mental health issues, abuse and neglect.

So when I challenged colleagues who said "man up" and called abuse survivors "pussies" for crying or "fairies" for complaining of ill health, I was not supported. My job is now at risk. Not because I am a woman, but because I am a woman who spoke out.

With more funding and attention given to mental health, the whole sector could be transformed.

Proper training, support and democratic control of the health service can help overcome bad practice damaging workplace cultures.

For now, cuts, insecurity and the profit motive of greedy outsourcers stand in the way of that.

I am grateful to have a job and a union rep to back me up. But the unions need to step up the action - coordinate strikes - to kick out the Tory cutters.







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