I’m organising a community carnival.

I say I, when what I mean is, I am a member of the organising committee.

I say “member” for which you can read “I go to the majority of the meetings and voice the odd opinion”.

Apart from me, there are another two girls on “the team”. Both of whom work part time and have children of their own.

The project manager man (yes, unfortunately a man – we had to have someone to steer us back onto the topic and off discussing boys and shopping), said this week that what we were doing was equivalent to running a small company.

So between us girls we are running the equivalent of a small company in our spare time.

To be honest, its a nightmare, and we’ll all be glad when its over! Although we often say “next year, we’ll do this”, “next year, we’ll do that”. We are not even doing it with the aim of raising money. The idea is to improve community spirit (sometimes it feels like we’re dragging a dead horse backwards up Mount Kilmanajaro but hey ho, what can I say?, we’re a picture postcard for Maslow’s self-actualisation).

Now Im not one to complain (much) but what I find frustrating is that if you start to use these experiences in attempting to get a job. Well, I may as well say Ive been sitting around doing bugger all for five years.

I feels as if anyone who reads the words “PTA” or “community volunteer” and immeditately discredits the experiences. As if I just turn up and make the tea. (a valuable additional resource if anyone wants to volunteer for that role!)

In HR and people management, we talk fondly of “transferrable skills” but in reality its all talk and no muster.

Think about it. I can list the following transferrable skills:

  • communication with all levels of society
  • public, private and third sector experience
  • written and verbal communication skills
  • accounting
  • attention to detail
  • people management
  • motivation
  • culture change
  • team work
  • time management
  • project management
  • independent working
  • delegation

and they are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

The newspapers are always full of equal pay stories. The latest one was to do with pensions. Apparently women will have less pension in their retirement than men. Big shocker!

Every time I read one of these stories or hear them I want to scream.It makes me so cross when the blame gets laid at the organisations – as if the evil genius’ have got together to determine how they can get away with paying women less (if it werent for those pesky kids). Im sorry but the fault is society’s in general – people just dont rate unpaid work (which happens to mainly be done by women) at all.

Now Im not talking about “true” equal pay problems – you shouldnt pay two people differently to do the same job based entirely on their gender,  end of story.

Im talking about when you take everything else into account – particularly length of service. Someone who has been working in any particular industry, working their way up, moving around for 30 years is going to earn more money than someone who has taken a couple of maternity leaves, maybe worked part time for a while, add a career break or a “go-slow” period of time (where you can just about get to work but cant “go the extra mile” to get promoted or move jobs) and you will at the end of your working life, earn less. Fact.

Sorry but there aint no getting away from it. Lay the blame at whomever you want. Legislate away. It wont make any difference to a societal fault. If you’re not getting paid: you might as well not bother.

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