Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism – Part 2: Assumptions

Author: Blaise Wilson

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Series:
Part 1 – Factors to be Controlled:
Part 2 - Assumptions - this article
Part 3 - Freeing women's time and money:
Part 4- Cultural Pressures:
Part 5 - Discrimination:
Part 6 - Discussion of Assumption 6:
Part 7 - Discussion of Assumption 1:
Part 8 - The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Conclusion:
Part 9 - Campaigns and Action:

By comparing the assumptions of Outcome Feminism and the factors highlighted previously, there are three areas in which solutions to the Gender Wage Gap must address:
  • Freeing up women's time and money
  • Cultural Pressure
  • Discrimination

In the second part of the 'Outcome of Outcome Feminism' articles I will investigate the assumptions that support the factors of the Wage Gap, on which to frame the solutions. I will not investigate how valid these assumptions are, simply state that these are Outcome Feminist assumptions when considering the Economic Outcome Equality between men and women.

Assumption 1: The Wage Gap is a problem that needs to be fixed [4,5].

It assumes that the correct result Wage Gap should be zero, and that all women should be earning the same as all men, regardless of any other factor. It also highlights that there is a need to “recognize best practice and success stories” [5] from others that have a minimal wage gap.

Assumption 2: According to the UN WOMEN's report [3], there are three dimensions to women's rights around the world, which impact the economic outcome of the wage gap [p42, 3]: 1. women’s socio-economic disadvantage. 2. stereotyping, stigma and violence. 3. women’s agency, voice and participation.

Assumption 3: Women's work is less valued than men's and is paid less as a result [6, 10].

This assumes certain jobs pay less because it is primarily women who do them.

“The wage gap is also perpetuated by occupational segregation by gender. IWPR’s research shows that “irrespective of the level of qualification, jobs predominantly done by women pay less on average than jobs predominantly done by men.” [6]

“In the not-so-distant past, employers explicitly assigned “female” jobs lower wages than “male” jobs simply because women held them. Inertia in wages and gender ratios within occupations contributes to the persistence of lower wages in “female” jobs (England, Allison, & Wu, 2007; Kim, 1999).” [10]

Assumption 4: Women do not receive equal pay for largely equal work [3, 4, 5, 6, 10].

Despite being a legal requirement in some countries, including the UK and the US, there is an assumption that these laws are not being enforced.

“Consider a hypothetical pair of graduates—one man and one woman—from the same university who majored in the same field. One year later, both were working full time, the same number of hours each week, in the same occupation and sector. Our analysis shows that despite these similarities, the woman would earn about 7 percent less than the man would earn.” [p2, 10]

Assumption 5: Women should not be penalised for their choice of being the main caregiver to dependants, or for their choice of occupation. [3, 7, 8]

“Closing the gap will require multifaceted solutions that together help ensure that the work women perform is valued fairly, that women are not penalized unfairly for their caregiving responsibilities, and that there is greater transparency in workplace pay practices.“ [7]

“Because caregiving responsibilities most often fall to women and mothers, women are more likely to have to leave the paid labor force to provide family care. Furthermore, working women can be targeted for discrimination and denied job opportunities altogether because of negative stereotypes about their caregiving roles—stereotypes that men are less likely to face.” [7]

“The primary reasons women work fewer hours are largely due to child-rearing responsibilities.” [8]

Assumption 6: Gender is a social construct. There is no biological sexual dimorphism in humans [3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10].

This assumes there is no difference between the wants and needs of men and women. All women want the same jobs, and hours as men. Women don't choose to be stay at home mothers or jobs that earn less, or to work less hours – they are forced into these roles though old fashioned cultural pressure and discrimination.

“It’s been identified that the wage gap is caused by outdated societal attitudes and beliefs about the place and value of women in the workplace.” [p1, 5]

“Both discrimination and cultural gender norms can play a role in the “explained” portion of the pay gap. With that in mind, we find that college major is an important factor driving pay differences. Men are more likely than women to major in fields like engineering and computer science, which typically lead to higher-paying jobs. Women are more likely than men to major in fields like education and the social sciences, which typically lead to Graduating to a Pay Gap lower-paying jobs” [p1-2, 10]

“One year after graduation, a pay gap exists between women and men who majored in the same field. Among business majors, for example, women earned just over $38,000, while men earned just over $45,000.” [p2, 10]

“Gender discrimination is one potential contributor to the unexplained pay gap” [p2, 10]

“The root causes of these inequalities lie in unequal power structures that are sustained by laws, social norms and practices, market forces and public policies within both the ‘private sphere’ of home and family and the public arena.” [p44, 3]

“Gender stereotyping translates into gender segregation first in the education system and subsequently in the labour market. Girls are still less likely than boys to choose scientific and technological fields of study and, when they do, are less likely to take up high-paying jobs in those fields. These ‘choices’ are informed by stereotypes about suitable occupations for girls rather than based on ability.” [p49, 3]

Factors and Assumptions

Combining the factors previously identified with these assumptions the solutions boil down to three main areas:

Firstly, women must have their time and money freed up in order to pursue a long term career. This combines previously highlighted factors of full or part time work, hours and overtime, and the experience within a chosen career.

Secondly, women must be freed from the cultural pressures of stereotyping that force them into traditional roles, which pay less or not at all. This includes factors of the choice of education and occupation, and choosing to be the main caregiver to dependants.

Thirdly, once a women has chosen a career, discrimination must be eliminated.


These assumptions are not exhaustive, but a result of researching wage gap solutions. No analysis has been done on their validity. Additional factors that might play a role in these assumptions has not been considered.

The factor of location has not been included in this analysis. People of Colour (PoC) have not been considered separately at this point.

Assumption 6 is a KEY assumptions. Without this assumption many of the proposed solutions may be ineffective as women continue to knowingly choose to be stay at home mothers or go into lower paying careers.


Therefore the solutions to the wage gap need to centre on three main points:
  • Freeing up women's time and money
  • Cultural Pressure
  • Discrimination

[1] UK Government request companies publish gendered wage data: accessed 29/08/2015

[2] Wage Gap in Rwanda, Burundi and Nicaragua is almost non existent: accessed 29/08/2015

[3] UN Women Progess Report 2015 – 2016 accessed 29/08/2015

[4] New Republic – How to Equalize the Female Pay Gap accessed 29/08/2015

[5] New Brunswick: The Wage Gap Action Plan 2005-2010 accessed 29/08/2015

[6] Roosevelt Institute: How to Fix the Gender Wage Gap: Going Far Beyond an App accessed 29/08/2015

[7] American Progress: Seven Actions that could shrink the Gender Wage Gap accessed 29/08/2015

[8] Policy.Mic: Norway Has Found a Solution to the Gender Wage Gap That America Needs to Try accessed 29/08/2015

[9] IMF STAFF DISCUSSION NOTE: Women, Work, and the Economy: Macroeconomic Gains from Gender Equity accessed 29/08/2015

[10] Graduating to a Pay Gap The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation: accessed 29/08/2015

[11] Quotas in the EU: accessed 29/08/2015

[12] Pros and Cons of Quotas: accessed 29/08/2015

[13] Gender Wage Gap within the same job: accessed 29/08/2015

[14] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now accessed 29/08/2015

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism – Part 1: Factors to be Controlled

Author: Blaise Wilson

The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Series:
Part 1 – Factors to be Controlled: this article
Part 2 - Assumptions:
Part 3 - Freeing women's time and money:
Part 4- Cultural Pressures:
Part 5 - Discrimination:
Part 6 - Discussion of Assumption 6:
Part 7 - Discussion of Assumption 1:
Part 8 - The Outcome of Outcome Feminism Conclusion:
Part 9 - Campaigns and Action:


In this article I discuss the main causes of the Gender Wage Gap in the UK, which is used to measure the Economic Equality of Outcome for Gender.

Although many factors have arisen the major ones are:
  • how the measurement is made 
  • choosing to be the main caregiver to dependants 
  • full or part time work 
  • hours and overtime worked 
  • choice of education 
  • choice of occupation 
  • experience in a chosen occupation 
  • location 
The next article in this series will cover how these factors could be controlled in order to obtain true Equality of Outcome between the sexes.


Following on from my investigation into Equality and its definition I plan to delve further into the topic. The previous article in this series can be found at:

Due to the magnitude of demonstrating what the Outcome of Outcome Feminism may look like, combined with a preference for shorter articles, I have decide to split this topic into sections.

In this part I will concentrate on the Gender Wage Gap and the factors that influence it. On the assumption that in order to create Outcome Equality for the genders, these are the factors that will need to be controlled or made irrelevant in order for all women to earn the same as all men. In a future article I will dive into how this may be achieved and finally I will look at what this means for Equality of Opportunity and make suggestions on how Outcome Feminism can be helped or hindered.

I have chosen to concentrate on the UK Gender Wage Gap, and centre my evidence on reports provided by the UK Government.

The Gender Wage Gap can be broken down into different elements, I will assume that the disparity between the genders should be controlled regardless of which perspective is taken, for example location, age and so forth. This way all men and all women will earn the same, regardless of how you slice the groups.

Wage Gap Factors

I will look at the impacting factors and reasons that drive the Economic Outcome Inequality between men and women in order to demonstrate which factors must be controlled to produce Economic Outcome Equality between all men and all women.

The genders will include all ethnicities at this stage, and it is important to remember that women of colour have be included within the generic term of 'women.' However when considering Economic Outcome Equality between all men and all women, women of colour should be taken as a special case and investigated further due to the stereotypes and historic discrimination against them to ensure they benefit from Equality of Outcome too.

How the Wage Gap is Measured

How you measure the wage gap makes a huge difference in the results. Statistics are renowned for the ability to be shifted about until you get the result you want, if you have a bias towards a certain outcome. Depending on how you slice and dice, or capture the raw data you can pretty much increase or decrease the results to your liking.

Within the UK Patterns of Pay: Estimates from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 1997 to 2013 [2] the median hourly wage was taken, rather than the mode or mean. It excluded overtime [2, p11-12] and defined Full-Time as people working more than 30 hours a week. [2, p32].

However it also highlighted that the median, although providing a useful comparison, it does not reveal the pay rates for comparable jobs [2, p12] or the standard deviation with those roles.

It included pay before deductions such as National Insurance, student loans and tax [2, p30]. This might have a significant impact on the take home wage as some groups may have additional payments to consider that come straight out of the wages, such as child support or government child care schemes. A comparison of take home wage, including overtime and all deductions would give a clearer idea of living standards and may produce a very different Gender Wage Gap, particularly if government provided welfare was taken into account when looking across all men and all women, both in and out of work.

Limiting the jobs to only those registered on the PAYE scheme makes it quick, easy and reliable to gather data [2, p32], however it this discounts self-employed [2, p28] and cash in hand jobs. This would have an impact by not capturing writers, musicians, artists and similar jobs. It also discounts unpaid work, such as volunteering or being a carer.

This report discounts those affected by absence [2, p30] whereas the Women in the labour market report [5] included women on maternity leave and career breaks in their statistics [5, p19]. This means those who are affected by illness and are forced to take breaks from their career are not included, but this information may have proven useful if comparing men and women with both visible and invisible disabilities or illnesses (e.g. depression).

There are several similar reports. As a result of different boundaries, definitions, methods and raw data each have different results. Here are two examples:

“The AWE and ASHE are not directly comparable on all measures of earnings (for example, despite ASHE providing a more accurate estimate of levels of gross pay, AWE captures bonus payments better). The closest measure that can be derived and compared for these surveys is for mean gross weekly pay (excluding bonuses) for Great Britain. These figures tend to be higher for ASHE than the equivalent AWE figures. In April 2013 the ASHE estimate of mean gross weekly pay (excluding bonuses) for all employees (regardless of whether they were full-time or part-time) was £498, up 2.2% on the previous year. The comparable estimate from the AWE, regular pay (which excludes bonuses and arrears of pay), was £446, up 1.3% from April 2012.” [2, p33] 

“Another source of earnings information is the LFS. This collects information on the earnings and hours of about 15,000 households over each quarter. In addition it collects data on a wide range of personal characteristics, including education level and ethnic origin. This enables the preparation of statistics on levels and distribution of earnings similar to ASHE but with lower precision due to the much smaller sample size.” [2, p34] 

This indicates that sample size is also a key factor in the measurement of the Gender Wage Gap.

How the Gender Wage Gap is measured needs to be identical from year to year, in order to make a direct comparison between the statistics. If this was to be taken as the Measure of Effectiveness for Economic Equality of Outcome for all men versus all women, the method needs to be fully agreed. This will stop changes in the method from distorting the measurement or changing the goal posts in the future.

Percentage of the Gender in the Workforce

How many people are available to work makes a huge difference to the Gender Wage Gap. Since the record began in 1971 there has been an increase in the number of female workers in the UK. This maybe due to shifts in culture and supported by a range of legislation culminating in the Equality Act 2010 [5, p2].

Compared with all women age 16-64 (regardless of personal situation), in 2013 67% of women were in the workforce [5, p1], with a distribution of 55% to 79% depending on location [5, p8]. Of these 13.4 million women in work, 42% were in part-time work, compared to only 12% of men [5, p1].

However, the impact of choosing to have children has a dramatic impact on the careers, and earning potential of women if they decide to put their family before their career. Men who have children are more likely to be in work, whereas women with children are less likely to be employed, especially in full time work [5, p9]. What's more, the age of the child and the relationship status of the mother has a significant impact on the mother's employment status and career choice [5, p9], with 72% of married or cohabiting mothers with dependant children in work verses 60% of single /lone mothers in 2013 [5, p10]. Lone women with children under the age of three were impacted the most [5, p10].

Due to having and raising children the gender wage gap significantly increases when women hit the average age of having their first child, in 2013 this average age was 28 [5, p5]. This causes the gap to widen, reaching a maximum in the age range 40-49. Women's earning peak earlier than men's, reaching a high when they are 30-39 [2, p25]. The gap begins to narrow when the children get older and the women return to the workforce [5, p4].

As previously mentioned, women are far more likely to work part, rather than full time when compared to men. Due to part time work earning 60% less than the full time counterpart [2, p7] and higher paid jobs often having fewer part-time opportunities [1, p12] women are taking home less pay, with fewer opportunities to stay in a high paid career of choice. However as women tend to stay in part-time work for longer in their career [2, p6] women earn more than men when only part-time work is considered with a 2013 median hourly rate of £8.29 compared to men's £7.95 [2, p5]. This also highlights experience within a career as a major factor.

When we look at full-time work, men are working longer hours than women. In 2013 men, on average, worked 40.1 [2, p4] to 44 [5, p19] hours compared to women's 37.4 [2, p4] to 40 [5, p19] hours. This was mostly due to men being more likely to work overtime than women [2, p4].

Overtime (and to a lesser extent incentives/bonuses and premium payments) makes a substantial difference [2, p9], although has not been included within this wage gap analysis, it should be noted that men, on average, boost their earnings with overtime accounting for 6.1% of men's wages compared to only 3.2% for women [2, p9].

To summaries women choosing to work part-time is “likely to be connected with the fact that many women have children and the time taken out of the labour market, combined with career choices they make subsequent to this, may impact on their earnings thereafter.” [2, p26]

Chosen Occupation

In a free-market jobs pay the minimum they can get away with while attracting the best people. This means that some jobs are paid more than others due to their need to attract workers of a certain qualification and/or experience, compensate for dangers, or poor working environment and other inconveniences.

It is worth noting that within occupational groups there is a lot of standard deviation. For example within Sale and Customer Service: “In 2013 the occupation group with the highest median weekly earnings for full-time employees was managers, directors and senior officials, at £765. Sales and customer service occupations were the lowest paid group, at £331 per week.” [2, p20], meaning that time must be taken within these careers to raise in the ranks and be rewarded.

Men tend to work in higher skilled jobs than women, in professions associated with higher levels of pay [5, p17]. Women dominate care, leisure and account jobs (82% women) followed by admin and secretarial roles and sales/customer service occupations while men dominate trade occupations (plumbers, electricians etc), where women only account for only 10% of the workforce, followed by roles within manufacturing [5, p12].

Even for profession occupations women are not earning as much, for a detailed example:

“The lower median earnings of female health professionals were, in part, due to the large number of nurses included in this category. There are about 6 times as many women working in Nursing and Midwifery Occupations as men. The median earnings for female nurses in 2013 were £16.73 per hour in 2013, substantially less than the median earnings of the profession occupations in general.” [1, p13] 

The mining and quarry sector, followed by the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector earn the most money [2, p18], whereas the accommodation and food service activities sector has the lowest gross weekly earning in 2013 [2, p18].

However it should also be noted that mining and quarrying, and gas, electricity and water supply are some of the most dangerous jobs in the UK [3, Table 1, p4] which, along with the higher requirement for qualification and experience, add to the increased pay scale. Agriculture, which was the most dangerous uses a large number of low skilled, readily available seasonal migrate workers [4, p132 para 6.27] which significantly affects the offered wages.

As qualifications have a significant impact on what careers are open to an individual it is worth considering what women pick to study at university. There has been an increasing trend of women going into further education [1, p8], which has increased the number of women working in Professional Occupations (which generally require a degree) [1, p11]. However female graduates are marginally more likely to work in slightly lower skilled occupational groups than their male counterparts [5, p14-15].

This is likely due to the choice of degree. Subjects studied at university in which women dominate are related to medicine (nursing, nutrition etc) at 82%, Veterinary Science at 77%, Education at 76%. Whereas the bottom three degrees dominated by women are Engineering and Technology at 15%, Computer Science at 19% and Architecture, Building and Planning at 29%. (The total proportion of female students is calculated on the total number of students, without reference to their subject of study) [6].

With this in mind: “the most common occupation for women was nursing while the most common for men was programmers and software development professionals... programmers and software development professionals earned £20.02 per hour [excluding overtime] while nurses earned on average £16.61 according to the 2012 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.” [5, P11], which follows the trend in university degree chosen.

Working in the public or private sector also has an impact on wage. These are made up of very different occupations, with many of the lowest paid jobs (waiters, hairdressers etc.) sitting within the private sector, while higher level professional occupations tend to be held within the public sector [2, p15]. This slants the average wage of the public sector above those in the private sector [2, p15]. This is coupled by some jobs being impacted by a recession more than others, as public sectors tend to be jobs that are more stable but the private sector is more affected by the average available fund of the general population.

Combined with more women in part-time work than full-time, more likely to leave their career in favour of raising children, and choosing lower income professions there is clear reasoning why men take home the higher wages. There could be further physiological reasons based on sexual dimorphism that has a play in the professions each gender prefers which are out of scope for this article.


The final factor is location. Where you work has an impact on the gender wage gap, with those working in London receiving higher wages [2, p23] than other areas.

“The regional earnings distribution differs by sex. While weekly earnings were highest in London for both sexes in 2013, earnings for men were lowest in Northern Ireland, at £477, and for women they were lowest in the East Midlands, at £409” [2, p23].

Although this does not taken the local workforce or standard of living into account [2, p23].

The number of women in a given location in work is impacted by the local ethnic population, and associated traditions, and if the area is linked to a university [5, p7], in which more women will be studying rather than in work.


This is by no means an exhaustive list. Nor does it go into reasons why women tend to be the main carer for dependants (although like it likely to be linked to cultural norms and sexual dimorphism).

These factors indicate that the challenge of obtaining Economic Equality of Outcome for the genders maybe hugely challenging, as it appear personal choice plays a huge role, be it who raises the children or what occupation is chosen and thus what education is sought.

Suggested solutions on how the Gender Wage Gap could be influenced will be discussed in a follow on article.

Although the UK was concentrated on here, the US did a similar analysis and stated: 

“There are observable differences in the attributes of men and women that account for most of the wage gap. Statistical analysis that includes those variables has produced results that collectively account for between 65.1 and 76.4 percent of a raw gender wage gap of 20.4 percent, and thereby leave an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.

These variables include:
  • A greater percentage of women than men tend to work part-time. Part-time work tends to pay less than full-time work. 
  • A greater percentage of women than men tend to leave the labor force for child birth, child care and elder care. Some of the wage gap is explained by the percentage of women who were not in the labor force during previous years, the age of women, and the number of children in the home. 
  • Women, especially working mothers, tend to value “family friendly” workplace policies more than men. Some of the wage gap is explained by industry and occupation, particularly, the percentage of women who work in the industry and occupation.” [7, p1-2] 
Their conclusions generally support those highlighted here, and thus demonstrates that both the UK and US have a similar problem to solve, assuming the gender wage gap is the key measure and Equal Outcome between the genders is the primary goal.


Although many factors have arisen the major ones are:
  • how the measurement is made
  • choosing to be the main caregiver to dependants
  • full or part time work
  • hours and overtime worked
  • choice of education
  • choice of occupation
  • experience in a chosen occupation
  • location
In the article in this series I will discuss how Equality of Outcome can be achieved by making suggestion on controlling measures the Government may have to implement and some of the wider impacts of chasing Outcome Equality.


[1] UK Additional Gender Pay Gap 2014: accessed 09/08/2015

[2] UK Earnings by Gender 1997 to 2013: accessed 09/08/2015

[3] UK Deaths in the Workplace 2015: accessed 09/08/2015

[4] Migrant Seasonal Workers: accessed 09/08/2015]

[5] UK Women in the labour market 1971 - 2013: accessed 09/08/2015

[6] The Guardian breakdown of subjects studied by gender: accessed 09/08/2015

[7] US Wage Gap Explained: accessed 09/08/2015

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Equality: The Foundation Stone of Egalitarian Feminism

Author: Blaise Wilson

TLDR/ Abstract

Egalitarian Feminism's definition of equality is:

Equal opportunity for every individual.

As this is diametrically opposite and incompatible with Equality of Outcome it may seem that we are encouraging fighting against Third Wave Feminism.

Egalitarian Feminism is a throwback to First Wave Feminism, with the inclusiveness of Second Wave Feminism and promotes equality for all, both women and men.

This topic has resulting in a new campaign:

As a foundational stone of the Egalitarian Feminist website I felt it important to define our terms. Starting with the most important part of our mission statement: “to create equality for men and women” equality is a key term and how we measure it will drive our campaigns.

It was only after I started my research I realised how many definitions of 'equality' there are [8] and how fundamental this definition will be to our future work and how we fit into the wider Feminist movement.


Equality has many definitions but when it comes to humans it means that people are treated the same. It is the lack of privileges and discrimination based on who or what you are... or at least that's what I thought.

Turns out equality is more dependant on how you measure it, which impacts how you achieve it. You can have huge disparity on how individuals are treated, but it could still be considered 'equality' under certain definitions.

There is 'natural inequality' and 'man-made inequality' [4]. Natural centres on biological differences (think natural talent, size, weight and sexual dimorphism etc), while man-made inequality is about social structure.

The first major issue to consider is equality for each individual or for a collective/group? Do you want equality for a women or all women? This might sound like it would have the same outcome, but once you start to pair this with types of equality it becomes another story.

The two overarching measurements of equality are:
  • Equal opportunities
  • Equal outcomes 
All other types of equality could be measured using either opportunity or by outcome, for either a collective or for the individual. Equal opportunity is much harder to measure than equal outcomes. Opportunity is about process and access, whereas outcomes can be see through statistics. This makes it very tempting to use outcome as a measure, as it is empirical and easy to obtain but does not always reflect equal opportunity or question if the measure is fair on an individual scale.

These philosophies have links with different types of cultures and societies. For example Marxism and Communism is heavily linked to Equal Economic Outcome for the Collective. Whereas a Capitalist state concentrates on Equal Economic Opportunities for the Individual. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and there are a range of ways each could be achieved in practise.

I'll break equality down into different areas and discuss what different measures of equality could look like. I will consider equality of opportunity verses equality of outcome on an individual and collective scale. It might be that some areas are better suited to one measure over another.

It is worth noting that the UK Equality Act 2010 [6] centres on the concept of equality of opportunity for the individual, and protects from discrimination based on: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. It does not specify any sub-category or group and combines an array of equality acts into one, for example the Equal Pay Act of 1970 has been superseded within the Equality Act 2010.

There are very strong links between equality of opportunities with the individual, and with equality of outcome for the collective. Equal opportunities for individuals implies that due to natural inequality (e.g. biological factors such as intelligence) will always produce inequality in the outcome. And vice-versa, outcome for the group can only be gained when individuals with natural inequality are made equal through their treatment in man-made inequality, forcing privileges for those without the natural factor which drives individual inequality. The two concepts are fundamentally diametrically opposed as one requires inequality in the other in order to function. This is why how we measure equality is fundamental to how it is implemented.

Types of Equality

Civil and Legal Equality

Civil and Legal equality are very similar [4 and 5], both centring on equality before the law, and protection of rights and liberties.

Civil and legal opportunity equality would cover ideas such as equal access to lawyers, legal knowledge and advice and equal treatment for the same crimes, including due process.

When broken down into collective groups this would imply there could be a disparity between how men and women are treated based on group needs. For example all women may be provided more support due to their perceived lack of access to wealth when compared to all men in order to ensure they have overall equal treatment. However this is counter productive to equality of individuals, as some wealthy women in this case may gain access to support that a poor man does not not have access too. Taking on an individual scale it would be done on a case by case basis – either through means testing or to provide everyone with the same basic level of support and disallow any extra support for anyone, regardless of which group they belong. This would require government funding and control.

At present in the UK everyone is provided a basic, taxpayer funded, lawyer but you may pay extra and bring in your own lawyer should you wish. This is under the principle of Equality of Condition – or equality of starting point. It gives everyone the same initial footing, however allows freedom of choice and opportunities open to individuals. But this comes at a cost to equal outcome, as the rich get better lawyers than the poor.

Civil and legal outcome equality would cover ideas of the same punishment for the same crime. In this case this seems fair, especially taken on an individual level. However when seen from a collective it may mean that one group gets different treatment to another in order to obtain equal outcomes. For example if people of colour are perceived to be unfairly targeted by law due to the outcome being disproportionate to the number of the people of colour in society you could say this is not equal outcome of a collective. But this doesn't take reasons why this might be the case into account.

Taking equal outcomes on an individual level would mean that everyone, regardless of background, should receive equal punishment for equal crimes. And this should be achieved though a mechanism of equal opportunity before the law.

The equality of law is the driving mechanism for all other equalities. Through censorship, quotas, discrimination laws and audits linked to punishment. Equality in the law and the definition of the measure of effectiveness will fundamentally drive which kind of inequality we see – either individual or collective, outcome or opportunity.

Political Equality

Political equality [4 and 5] is defined as the equal opportunity to participate in all political processes and have equal rights to all offices of authority. It includes the right to universal adult suffrage and is a basic requirement of a democratic society.

Taking the view of opportunity on an individual scale, this means every adult should have the ability to vote. Everyone is afforded freedom of choice on if they want a political career. The collective view seems to be similar.

However when equality of outcome is applied it implies that there should be an equal spread of group votes that should mirror wider society, i.e. the voters should be 50% male and 50% female. It also implies there should be an equal number of men and women in positions of power, such as in government and in high ranking positions within companies. One way to force this is to use quotas.

Who is in political power will define what laws are passed, and thus what kind of equality is measured. Legal quality is the mechanism but politics are the people and motivation. By influencing those in power through votes and candidates the perspective on what kind of equality is used can be controlled.

Economic Equality

Economic equality could be argued as the most important type of equality as it creates the rich and poor into different classes. This is why money could be considered as the root of all evil because it is the driving force of inequality.

Economic equality attempts to remove the differences in wealth [5], material goods and implies the abolishment of poverty. However it also highlights that everyone should be provided with basic human requirements for life.

Economic equality under equal opportunity would increase the rich and poor over time, unless it is coupled with Equality of Condition. Equality of Condition means everyone starts the same. Everyone gets the same upbringing, the same start in life. This means that parents who have wealth could not improve their children's opportunities over those of the poor. This conflicts with the parents freedom to influence their kids upbringing and to provide for their families. It would also be very difficult to implement in current culture – although over time not impossible. Another way could be to ensure all taxpayer funded opportunities rival privately funded ones by taxing the higher earners.

Because Economic Equality drives inequality it has been considered that the more complex a society the more inequality through wealth there will be. As the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

Economic Equality measured as the outcome would imply that everyone should earn the same. This causes a lot of issues with regards to human nature as it may stifle innovation, punish natural talent and force everyone to devolve to the lowest common denominator. It would punish those with ambition while rewarding those who are lazy or lack talent. It implies that all jobs are of equal value to society.

How this would be achieved would be difficult. It could be done through a hierarchy system in which certain jobs are paid more depending on their use to society, but this would still cause inequality of outcome as some people will not be able to attain these high level roles for a variety of reasons. Especially once you consider this as a collective and start to break down society into groups for example women may have different preferences to men which diverts more of them to lower end, less required, roles which would cause women to have a lower overall outcome to men. This is similar to how the current world works, in which jobs are paid based on their ability to make money (or based on need in the case of non-profit organisations).

Economic Equality is the most highly contested type of equality, and once the relevant measure of equality is chosen achieving it can be problematic as it impacts so many other fundamental rights and equalities.

Social Equality

Anything that didn't fit into the other types of equality can be capture in Social Equality. It basically means everything, including political, legal and economic equality already mentioned [from 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9]

I'm just going to put down a list of things this covers, but it isn't exhaustive by any means. Basically if it isn't covered above, it gets put in here:
  • physical security
  • physical shelter
  • freedom of speech
  • freedom of assembly
  • right to own property
  • right to protect your property
  • education
  • healthcare
  • business
  • employment
  • human rights
  • happiness
  • workload
  • welfare
  • quality of goods
  • treatment by culture and society
  • absence of special privileges
  • elimination of discrimination
  • access (i.e. no segregation)
  • enjoy various opportunities in society
It was also noted [5] that many of these equalities can not be controlled through law. Some can be influenced by culture.

After the previous examples hopefully the concept of equality though opportunities and outcome for each case is clearer, as I do not intend to go through each of them. Same with individual verses group equality.

How different types of Feminism defines Equality

Due to the different definitions of equality, there are different elements of Feminism. This is why there is so much in fighting between Feminists and the concept of 'NAFALT' – Not All Feminists Are Like That exists (I've had too many arguments with anti-feminist on the topic).

According to Martha Rampton of Pacific University in Oregon [1], published Oct 2014 Feminism falls into three waves.

First Wave Feminism (late 19th and early 20th Century) was centred on opening up opportunities for women. In other words they defined equality from the 'Equal Opportunities' perspective.

However it was also rather exclusive, this was addressed in Second Wave Feminism (1960s - 1990s) which captured a wider voice and minority groups. This is were the concept of Patriarchy and the objectification of women arise and became increasingly radical. This is also when Feminism became increasingly linked to neo-Marxism (similar ideals to communism). This shows a turning point in which Equality became to be defined as Equal Outcome due to the Marxism influence.

We are currently in Third Wave Feminism (1990s onwards), in which the Equal Outcomes measurement is becoming more and more apparent through campaigns such as quotas and using the Gender Wage Gap (which compares all men with all women in a collective perspective).

However within the Third Wave of Feminism there are many who still define equality as 'Equality of Opportunity,' a throwback to First Wave Feminism. And this is where many debates and issues arise as the two measures are incompatible.

As a result it maybe useful to define individual Feminists in terms of their Equality Measurement, if they are Opportunity Feminists or Outcome Feminists.

How to spot an Opportunity Feminists

They will use measures of opportunity, such as available funding or equality before the law. Factors to be considered include freedom of choice and a free-market. However sometimes evidence will appear to be about outcome, for example looking at the overall outcome of all women verses all men in an area, however this has to be clearly linked to the opportunities and treatment they receive. They will concentrate on individual examples, but will use group examples when applicable.

To an Opportunity Feminists 'good' is the lack of individual privileges and discrimination.

Examples of Opportunity Feminists:
  • Christina Hoff Sommers aka The Factual Feminist 
How to spot an Outcome Feminists

Outcome Feminists will concentrate on overall statistics and figures, ignoring the reasoning behind them. To them equality is about the end result and this may require special privileges for certain individuals or groups in order to obtain it. They value the greater good over individual choice and feel that individuals should sacrifice themselves for a wider goal. Quotas are a key method to ensure outcome equality.

To an Outcome Feminist 'good' is when the measurement of the outcome is the same for each group studied.

Examples of Outcome Feminists:
  • Anita Sarkeesian [10]
The Test
When someone claims to be a feminist, there is a simple test to discover what kind they are. Simply ask them: "Do you agree with using quotas to force companies to take on more women?"

If their answer is 'yes' they are an Outcome Feminist.

They their answer is 'no; they are an Opportunity Feminist.

Egalitarian Feminist Definition of Equality

Egalitarian Feminism's definition of equality is:

Equal opportunity for every individual.

As this is diametrically opposite and incompatible with Equality of Outcome it may seem that we are encouraging fighting against Third Wave Feminism.

Egalitarian Feminism is a throwback to First Wave Feminism, with the inclusiveness of Second Wave Feminism.

This topic has resulting in a new campaign:


[1] Three Waves of Feminism: accessed 31/07/2015

[2]Social Equality: accessed 31/07/2015

[3]Social Equality: accessed 31/07/2015

[4] Five types of equality: accessed 30/07/2015

[5] More types of equality: accessed 30/07/2015

[6]UK Equality Act 2010 accessed 28/07/2015

[7] Equal pay act 1970 accessed 31/07/2015

[8] Equality accessed 30/07/2015

[9] Systems Engineering and Feminism:
[unpublished, but will be available on this website in due course. This is a live document and will be developed over time. It is the Systems Engineering evidence that underpins the Egalitarian Feminist ideals website.]

[10] Anita Sarkeesian's definition of feminism: accessed 01/08/2015