International Women’s Day 2020 Gendered Assumptions

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Today is International Women’s Day and here at Tamebay we firmly believe in equality and especially for women in business. The Internet itself has been a great leveller giving equal opportunities to all that log on and in particular ecommerce and marketplaces have given every woman the ability to start their own business on the same footing as any other gender. Tamebay itself was founded by Sue and myself (Sue did all of the clever technical stuff).

Over the past decade and a half I’ve had the privilege of meeting many fantastic women in ecommerce. Take eBay for example, it was run by Meg Whitman for a decade and in the UK we have had two female eBay UK country managers – Clare Gilmartin and Tanya Lawler. And of course there are thousands of women in business on eBay running their own businesses, one of the first I ran into was Rachael White of Thingimijigs who built her business, starting in 2004 with just £200 and a computer running from the kitchen table, to become an ‘eBay Millionaire’ turning over in excess of £1,000,000 a year. There have been thousands more like Rachael over the years.

This week, in good news for all British women, a date has been set for the abolition of VAT on sanitary products, Janaury next year. Dubbed the tampon tax, it’s been claimed impossible to abolish whilst the UK was in the EU so it set at the minimum VAT rate of 5%.

Ultimately however, it’s sad to note that in many ways the world is still arranged to be convenient for men, despite paying lip service to equality, and so on this International Women’s Day I want to highlight just one needlessly outdated example. Take for example a service that just about every UK citizen uses – TV Licensing. Their Equality statement starts with “TV Licensing is committed to equality and diversity…” and yet when you go to the form to register the first attribute requested is ‘Title’ and as in so many places on the web it assumes that men are more likely to control the money with the drop down order being ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Miss’, ‘Ms’. It’s not alphabetical order, it’s simply casual sexism that permeates our world.

Whilst I called out TV Licensing (run by the BBC), it’s just one of many sites that include Hotel booking forms and sadly even many ecommerce websites – do they really need to know your sex and marital status to book a hotel room or let you download an ebook? I’m guessing that the drop down menus were originally created by a man in a world where men were most likely to complete forms, but that world has long gone and it’s time forms changed. I look forward to the day when the top option on a form is ‘Miss’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ and whilst you might think this a small thing it’s the insidious little assumptions that it’s a man’s world that need to change. Better yet, if your website has a form ask yourself if you really need to collect ‘Title’ information – does it really matter what sex or marital status your customers are? eBay and Amazon don’t ask for a ‘Title’ when opening an account so why does anyone else?

Moving back to brighter topics, today on International Women’s Day we’d like to thank the many woman who participate on Tamebay either reading, commenting, contributing, supporting us, or who over the years have written for Tamebay. Today we would like to celebrate your achievements and the businesses you run but it’s not just for today, it’s for all 366 days of the year.

11 Responses

  1. The drop down boxes on webforms are sexist.

    How about the term ladies and gentleman…

    Please somebody end this political nightmare shi#….its getting to a point where you cant read an article without the pc brigade…go get a f###### life

  2. Exactly
    What a heap of tosh
    Any bloke who is married with daughters knows whos really in charge ,
    wives daughters and sisters have real influence
    From queen Victoria to Maggie thatcher to mrs may, greta Thunberg, Angela Merkel
    Hillary Clinton and many others control and shape the world

  3. Sophie…Gender pay Gap.

    I have worked for 30 years of my adult life in many industries and have never come across a Woman getting paid less than a man for the same job….Please enlighten me if this exists. And please don’t quote the BBC that dosent count as they are not normal jobs.

  4. Really?
    Sexism is rife because the TV licence form has Mr. first on the list?
    if that’s the best example you can come up with, then just stop now. the war has already been won and you’re now shooting civilians.

    what an utterly petty, snivelling complaint, i’m offended by it and i’m a man, if i were a woman i’d be furious.
    i can’t believe there’d be one iota of sympathy if men were to summon up such a paltry issue as indicitive of their “plight”. Perhaps we could cry that we only get one option, and women have so much choice on this form? would we sound woke and enlightened? No. not at all.
    did you stop to consider any other possible reason for this than the patriarchy trying to surreptitiously opress women?
    perhaps the fact that it will objectively be the most popular option merits it being first on the list? seems entirely logical to me. but then i’m probably trying to oppress someone.

    There is no “Gender Pay Gap” FYI.
    if you actually look at the numbers, instead of stretching them to fit, you’ll find that the gap is between MOTHERS, and everyone else. There’s only a gender pay gap if you stop looking before you reach the correct answer.
    a woman who doesn’t have kids and stays in their career earns exactly as much as men do. this is just a fact. in fact it’s been law for far longer than i’ve been alive.

    are any women suggesting that female CEO’s give up their jobs to single mothers without qualifications to help level this disparity? No, not a single one anywhere. I hear tons suggesting men should give up their jobs though because of a non-existent gender pay gap and non-existent glass ceiling.

    A woman who chooses to leave her career (for whatever reason) cannot realistically expect to be paid the same as a man with 15 years more experience who has been promoted repeatedly to achieve the levels of CEO.
    – this isn’t sexist. I’m all for men dropping out of work and raising kids while the woman goes back to work, if this happens and the woman gets promoted again and again over her career, her husband should not expect to re-enter the workforce 10-15 years later and earn more then her, the thought is incredulous, yet we bemoan the “gender pay gap” as needing active action.
    – we could definitely do with more support for mothers, single or otherwise, to help keep them in the workplace (and in equal measure, more support for men to drop out of work to look after kids), but that’s just not the way it works out. we certainly don’t need to keep kidding ourselves that there’s some dark cabal of men working to keep women down in this day and age, it’s nonsense.

    Listen, happy women’s day women. I hope you have a great day. But you can totally celebrate women without bashing men, it’s not the same thing.

  5. And what about all those “ageist” sites out there with a drop down list, do you know how far i have to scroll down to get to mine!!



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