Equal rights for equal work

Equal prize-money at Wimbledon for the ladies … well, surely, they
need to work as hard as the men?

When talking to people about the value of work, I often use the phrase “You
get what you pay for”. I believe this is relevant to a wide range of situations,
and clients need to realise that if you pay for a service, then paying a higher
fee – while not necassarily guaranteeing a level of quality – certainly
encourages it.

You can turn that phrase on it’s head, though. We could change it to “You’re
paid for what you work”. In Wimbledon fortnight, of which I am a big fan, this
is particularly relevant this year. Wimbledon, that bastion of English
snobbishness and reluctance to change, has brought in three big changes this
year. The first, Hawk-eye, allows players to access the same technology that the
broadcasters use to identify whether a ball was “in” or “out”. This is a
fundamental change to how the games are judged. The second change is the
disappearance of a roof on the famous centre court, the roof being rebuilt ready
for next years championships and for a retracting roof in 2009.

The third change is the prize money given to the players. This year, in
keeping with other grand slams, Wimbledon have finally acquiesced to the growing
demans of female players that their prize money be the same as the mens. The
2007 prize money stands at £700,00 for both men and women. But do the women
truly deserve the same prize?

I’m all for equal rights, but these equal rights need to be tempered against
realism. Basic Wimbledon mens matches are first to 3 sets, typically lasting a
full five sets. Fans of Tim Henman often feel they should get some of the money,
as it can often be an emotionally demanding commitment to follow a five-setter!
A five setter match often lasts 3 or 4 hours of physically demanding
play. Tennis requires players to be at the peak of fitness. The women’s game,
however, is best of 3, so why should they get the same money?

If we look at the modern style of player, particularly this years Ladies
singles, we see that a typical match with one of the top-flight players lasts
not much longer than an hour. Maria Sharapova and Justin Henin are reknowned for their aggressive style that tries to get hold of a match by the neck early on,
in order to gain a quick hold and subsequent finish. When up against a
lower-ranked player, this results in matches that last between an hour and an
hour 20 minutes. While I really enjoy watching both these players, is this value
for money?

Maria Sharapova’s match against Bremond yesterday lasted barely 1 hour 10
minutes, ending 6-0 6-3. Justin Henin’s win against Dushevina on Day 3 lasted
just an hour. While the womens game is a great watch at the moment, when you can get a £700,000 pay-cheque for quick matches like these, it makes one wonder
whether Wimbledon has lost it’s senses.

I honestly do not believe the ladies should be required to play for best of 3
sets, so I don’t think the solution is anything other than paying the girls a
representative prize according to their work. Now the decision has been made,
however, I think it might be too late.

More information on the prize money can be found at Wimbledon’s Web Site.

Week 2 in the Big Brother house

What a bunch of wasters. Please tell me that these people are not
representative of the next generation.

I’ll admit it. I come clean. I watch and like Big Brother. Of course, it is
an intellectual exercise, a chance to stretch my amateur psychology skills and
feel ever so good about myself that I am not that freaking dumb. In my normal TV
viewing life, I almost exclusively watch Channel 4 news, BBC News, The
Apprentice and Dragons Den. Oh and Doctor Who. Big Brother is very much a
wildcard I allow myself.

Each year we get a new set of contestants, and with each year comes the more
bizarre and socially inept examples of human nature. In previous years, we have
had a Turk who dresses as a female belly dancer, a post-op trans-sexual, gay
people galore, a sufferer of Tourettes Syndrome and a girl who makes it with a
wine bottle. Let’s make this clear, I am not prejudicial against any of these
people, it is merely an example of the interesting cases for the public to study
every night at C4 at 9pm. It makes great telly, even if it is car-crash

Now, Big Brother has become a career move for the uncharismatic, talentless
people who couldn’t make it using legitimate means … you know, like developing
a stage act or talent and busting your ass working in clubs or private
functions. When you are in the eighth series, people start to figure out that
they can just use the show as a way to get noticed. You’re pretty much
guaranteed your 15 seconds of fame when you come out. Even now, minor members of previous years of BB have changed their lives after leaving the house.

Let me introduce you to some of the members of this years house:

  • Charley : A girl who is the cousin of a famour footballer. She parties and
    purchases and does little work, if any.
  • Chanel: A girl whose role model is Victoria Beckham, and who wants to be a ‘WAG’. (Wife and Girlfirend of  a Footballer)
  • Shabnab: A girl who cannot eixst without make-up, even in bed. Admires
    herself constantly in mirrors, striking more vogues than Madonna.
  • Emily: A girl who in her audition says “Isn’t it about time you put an
    intelligent girl in the Big Brother house”? And then gets thrown out for using a racist word knowing full well that Channel 4 are still stinging from their OFCOM ruling regarding their last racism incident.
  • Sam-anda (Sam and Amanda): Two 18-year old identical twins who speak a strange incomprehensible language of warblings, cooings and the work “PINK!”.

These girls all seem to be work-shy. They either embark on a life where they
commit to a programme of not working, instead concentrating on finding a
footballer with a big credit card; or, they are just lazy around the house and
lazy around the house probably means they’ll be lazy around the work-place

What happened to a work ethic? If we look at these girls role models, we can
quickly see what has happened. Chanel’s role model is an ideal example: Victoria
Beckham. What exactly does she do? She tries repeatedly to force her singing on
us but when even the ‘chavs’ hate it, she hasn’t got much hope. Currently, she
is designing her own fashion range. Mmmm. I can’t really see her with a desk
full of blue prints and cuts of cloth, to be quite honest. If one is to use her
as a token of success and adopt her as a role model, then I think maybe standing
at the staff entrance of Manchester United FC might be your only chance in life
of “success”. Let us look at what has become of the other Spice Girls. Nothing.
Where is Gerry now? Where is Mel G and Mel B? What about Emma? It’s all quiet.
Unfortunately, it seems they lucked out on marrying a famous footballer.

It really galls me that people think that work is optional, not for them, and
for boring people. Work is what allows you to live. These girls must see Jordan,
Tara Palmer Tompkinson, and whatever other it-girls there are these days and
think, “Well if they have done it, so can I”. Wrong. Even these girls, for what
little they contribute to society, must have worked to some extent to get where
they are. While you see parties, photo-shoots and interviews, even a cynic like
myself can see there will be long hours and travel and bad food involved in this
lifestyle somewhere. It’s probably also quite stressful to, to be fair.

The aversion of these characters to work is so entrenched that a lot of these
girls have now said they have done their first week, have got in to the public
eye and now want to leave. What happened to 13-weeks away from society? What
happened to the £100,000 prize at the end? When the press and associated deals
probably amount to far more than £100,000, the answer is obvious. Why try
harder? Why complete the job at hand when you can quit early and get money and
fame anyway?

BB is a great opportunity to see social malfunction, and I firmly believe one
can learn a lot from it. I will be sure to blog more on it, including
discussing meetings, communication, etc.