'Women's softer work skills are undervalued': Shelagh Fogarty reacts to Asda equal pay ruling

26 March 2021, 17:24 | Updated: 26 March 2021, 17:36

By Sam Sholli

Shelagh Fogarty and a caller made a pertinent point that work largely carried out by women is undervalued due to negative societal perceptions about "softer skills".

The exchange between Eve and Shelagh has come on the day Asda bosses have lost a Supreme Court equal pay fight with store workers.

More than 40,000 Asda store workers, about two-thirds of which are women, brought equal pay claims arguing staff working in distribution depots, most of whom are men, unfairly receive more money.

Asda bosses said store jobs are not comparable to distribution centre jobs, but Supreme Court justices on Friday ruled against them

Eve told Shelagh: "I think as a society we have been brought up to value strengths and a number of other male-like skills over those softer skills like caring."

She added: "And I just think that, because of that and because...of the influence of gender over the types of roles women should take versus men, that the women find themselves in roles where they are paid less."

Shelagh then made the point that it "still exists in people's minds" that women's work is "somehow a hobby or [for] a little bit [of] extra money...rather than her actual living".

Eve replied: "I think that's unfortunate because there are a lot of women doing jobs like that to pay the family bills."

She added: "I just think the softer skills are not recognised by parts of society as having value."

"And I think coronavirus has proved to us that there's people who work on the checkouts and across supermarkets and in care and in the NHS [that] actually hold very valuable roles for society and it should be equally recognised.

Shelagh responded: "I agree with you and I think part of the process of better recognising it...is professionalising that skill.

"Give these people qualifications. Give them the status that their daily efforts actually amount to."

READ MORE: Why the Asda equal pay verdict feels 'significant'