We now live in a world where car insurers can’t charge men more for being male. While I’m not jumping up and down with excitement at the thought of paying more for my insurance (and I’m not naive enough to think me paying more will mean my boyfriend paying less) I do think this is a step in the direction of equality. Ok, I’d have much rather other things came first – how about equal pay before equal charges? – but I really can’t gripe about a in the right direction.
Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equality described this change as “very unfair” in the Telegraph on Christmas Eve. But her arguments seem to fall flat. Rural transport is unreliable – just as much an issue for men as for women. Using public transport can be dangerous at night – again, an issue for men as well as for women, and the idea that women shouldn’t use public transport is wrong – women should have the right to travel at night, they shouldn’t have some sort of public curfew. Women also shouldn’t have the primary responsibility for ferrying children around.
Insurance does depend on risk assessment which uses all kinds of information to judge you – your postcode, your income (you pay a lot less insurance if you have a garage, or a drive instead of having to park on the street), your occupation. And I do understand the argument that women are statistically judged as being less of an insurance risk. But I think we have gone past the point where people would think it acceptable to say that white people should pay more for insurance, or that Christians should pay less. So why is it so acceptable to say women should be treated differently?
Finally, if there is any doubt that treating women differently for insurance purposes is sexist, take a look at this Ad from Diamond from late November:
It shows all the things women are interested in – like lipstick and jewellery and smellies, whilst using juvenile text speak. Guess what Diamond – women aren’t children. Women aren’t childlike. If that means I have to spend more on my car insurance… Well of course I’m not pleased that I get to give more money to insurance companies. But am I pleased that this is one area I won’t have to see sexist advertising in? Yes.