Part-timers have the key to utopia

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
You would expect Sally Hunt, general secretary of AUT,t he university lecturers' union , to campaign for better pay for female lecturers, as she does so eloquently on page 4 of FE Focus this week.

Of course, the AUT will soon be merged with Natfhe, most of whose members are in FE.

She points out that while men make up just 37 per cent of the workforce, they occupy 44 per cent of college management jobs - not to mention 73 per cent of principals' jobs.

We are invited to search our souls as to why this should be and, by implication, to infer that the college environment discriminates against women.

But she then goes on to point out that 69 per cent of women work part-time compared with 54 per cent of men.

This, surely, provides at least part of the answer, if we assume full-timers are more likely to be promoted to full-time jobs, like principal. Another part of the answer might be found byinvestigatinghow many women, as opposed to men, give up work after having children - a decision which, presumably, would also make them less likely to become principals.

FErret is no doubt getting himself into deep water here but before colleges are criticised, and FErret has to change his name and leave the country, it would interesting to hold to account those men who continue with their careers and reach lofty heights while their partners dutifully put their careers on hold to bring up the children.

Perhaps there would be greaterpay equality if more men opted to put their careers second - so colleges can keep their best staff when they happen to be female.

On the other hand, why do we assume college principals should work full-time?

According to FErret's law, bureaucracy is equal to the number of managers, multiplied by the square of the number of computers - or B=MC2.

This theory, reported first in these pages, has yet to be taken up by the scientific community for lack of favourable peer review, but iFErret offerd it to Sally, and indeed her Natfhe colleagues, in their campaign for more recognition for part-timers.

So roll on Sally Hunt's part-time utopia - when all the bosses will be female and they won't be working enough hours to interfere with the smooth running of their colleges.

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