Bleats

FFS, How Have We Not Stopped Blaming Women For Their Own Murders Yet?

“You can’t consent to your own murder.”

Grace Millane was an English backpacker in New Zealand, when she was strangled to death in a hotel room, and her body was buried in a suitcase west of Auckland. She’d been out on a Tinder date with the 27 year old man accused of her murder.

Grace died on December 1st 2018, and the man accused of killing her is currently on trial. Instead of focussing on justice for Grace, one line seems to have stuck out in the reporting surrounding the trial – the defense says that Grace’s death was an accident during “violent sex.”

If you Google Grace Millane’s name, a lot of the headlines focus on her interest in BDSM. 

There’s “Friends of Grace Millane give evidence about her BDSM interests”, and “Grace Millane ‘naive’ when messaging in online BDSM communities”, and “Grace Millane was member of BDSM dating sites and asked ex-partner to choke her during sex, court hears”, and “Grace Millane murder trial: Alcohol ‘a likely factor in backpacker’s death‘”.

Do you know how often people having consentual sex accidentally choke one of the partners to death? Almost never. Prosecutor Brian Dickey made the point that it’s “incredibly rare”, and has actually never happened before in New Zealand. He also pointed out, “you can’t consent to your own murder.”

Who cares what Grace was or wasn’t into? Her sex life shouldn’t be the big talking point in her case, the point is that she’s died violently at the hands of someone and was then buried in a suitcase. 

Using this tidbit of information to effectively blame Grace Millane for her own death is exhausting to watch, and incredibly disappointing, but really – not that surprising. 

The court has also heard that the man accused of killing her didn’t act like it was an accident after she’d died. He allegedly wasn’t panicking, but instead was “was cool, calm, in control” while he went and bought a suitcase, and even organised another Tinder date while her dead body was still in the hotel room with him.

But I haven’t seen any headlines about that.

Grab A Wine Ladies, You’ll Need It For These Godawful Gender Pay Gap Results

Actually, grab the bottle.

It’s been almost 50 years since the 1972 Equal Pay Decision that said Australian women had to legally get equal pay for equal work. I imagine that if we asked them what they thought the gender pay gap situation would have been like in 2019, they would have predicted it would be totally gone by now. Sadly, they would have been wrong.

The newest data about the gender pay gap in 2019 has shown that men working full time made an average of 20.8% more – or $25 679 more – than women over the last year. So yep, that’s just great.

Uuuuuuggggghhhhhh

The breakdown of the data has some pretty fun statistics, and I use the word ‘fun’ very loosely here. 

The amount of women in boardroom positions has stayed the same for the last six years – fluctuating between 24% and 26%, but never higher. 

Of the companies that were a part of the report, 75% said had gender equality strategies, which sounds great on paper! But only 32.2% were actually doing anything about it, by introducing gender KPIs. So that’s not as great. 

And guess what? In Australia’s most female dominated industry, healthcare and social assistance, the pay gap has actually gotten worse. In 2014/15, men were being paid 14.7% more, and that has risen to 15.9%. Even in an industry that is 79% women, men are still being paid more.

Libby Lyons is the director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the agency that put the report out. 

She’s said that “We would like to see the gender pay gap drop more quickly but we need to understand that the gender pay gap, along with all the other things that we measure, is cultural change – and cultural change always takes time”.

Basically the gender pay gap isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and I haven’t even touched on the racial pay gap, disability pay gap, or LGBTIQ+ wage gap.

So much for the land of the fair go.

Even Steve Wozniak Is Calling Out Apple's Sexist Credit Card Algorithm

You know it's bad when Steve gets involved.

Here we are again, writing about a piece of technology that has wound up with a sexist algorithm. This time it’s a credit card designed by Apple giving men and women very different credit limits.

The Apple Card is a credit card that was designed by Apple, but it’s run by Goldman Sachs, a massive American bank based in New York. They’ve been contacted by New York’s Department of Financial Services to see if they can find out wtf has happened, but so far haven’t made much progress. 

Goldman Sachs has denied the allegation. This isn’t the first time the financial giant has made headlines – including what’s been called one of the biggest scandals in financial history. 

It all kicked off when software developer David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted that his wife had been offered a credit limit on the card 20 times less than his, despite them filing taxes together, her paying off pays off her limits in full, and eventually paying for a service to tell them that her credit score is higher than his. Basically, it was pure sexism.

The problem was quickly fixed for David’s wife, but others started coming forward with their own similar stories – including Steve Wozniak, the guy who co-founded Apple in the first place. Apparently the card had given Steve a credit limit that was 10 times higher than the one his wife was given.

On top of that, Wozniak has clearly tried to fix the problem before this, saying that it’s “hard to get to a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019.”

The Apple Card isn’t available in Australia.

But when will we learn that algorithms need some serious monitoring? We’ve had the AI that tags you with racist classifications, the sexist recruitment AI, and the chatbot that went off the deep end after less than a day on Twitter. The Apple card’s sexist antics are just the latest in a long line of bad algorithms, and almost certainly won’t be the last.

This is what happens when teams that monitor tech like this aren’t diverse enough to spot any problems. See you all in a couple of months when another algorithm threatens to throw someone off a roof or something equally as horrific. 

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