Tuesday 23 October 2018

Mary Kenny: Because she's worth it?

Equal pay is altogether just - but sometimes other factors kick in

Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny, writer and author. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

When I was a young woman, I was an executive on a London evening newspaper, and when a political storm broke over a trade union dispute, I suggested we should commission Barbara Castle to write a comment piece.

Barbara Castle had been a pioneering female Labour politician who, as Employment Minister, had put through the British Equal Pay Act. She was perfect casting for the subject matter.

But the editor demurred. "She's too expensive," he said. "We have to pay her double what we pay anyone else." Barbara also had a "very aggressive" agent, who was adept at demanding high fees - also a woman, incidentally.

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