I was down at the Office (read my local club) recently for a bite to eat prior to doing something rather splendiforuous, and I decided to check out that right wing apologetic rag, the Daily Telegraph.
In it, that doyenne of dastardry Miranda Devine was having a go at those who espouse radical anti-gender determining behaviour. The poor women’s Andrew Bolt was knocking the annual Greens’ bashing of giving toy guns to boys and dolls to girls, suggesting that this stuff actually is worse. She laughed at the notion of giving boys a doll for Christmas for example.
This got me to thinking about this equality thingy. Why is it so, master? Or mistress?
We have centuries of subjugation of women to menfolk in societies from Asia to Europe, Africa to America and back again. It was at the end of the 19th century that the English speaking world, the entire world as known then, actually woke up to the fact that there was a problem here.
What ensued was the giving to women the power to vote, a recognition that women could actually do hard yakka like replace the men in times of war, that they could actually own property and take out loans.
We also saw in the 20th century the equal pay for equal work ethic start up. In fact, here in good old Australia, it is entrenched.
But still inequality exists. It exists in the opportunities afforded women in the workplace, in the professions, in the trades. We men still have belief in the stereotypes which have their most horrible subjugatory expression in the “housewife of the new fangled TV” of the 1950s. We still regard women, in many pub discussions, as a different species belonging to a certain sphere in our society. They belong in a “box”. Our mothers, sisters and wives are one thing, all the others are fodder for our sexuality.
It is ok for them to be stay at home mums, it is ok for them to be nurses and teachers, it is ok for them to be childcare workers and aged care workers; it is OK for them to be junior public servants and it is OK for them to be shop assistants and cleaners. It is OK for them to be GPs, physios and occupational therapists.
But it is not ok for them to be professors, lawyers, specialist medical professionals, architects, judges or politicians. It is not OK for them to be mechanics, bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers or painters. It is not OK for them to be in a combat role in battle.
Remember the old joke? Why do brides wear white? Because they can blend in with the other whitegoods in the kitchen … not so funny nowadays!
What the hell is going on?
It is entrenched in mankind, and not womankind, that the male of the species is the dominant of the two. There is some truth to this in one sense: when it comes to the use of strength. Men are generally physically bigger and stronger.
I have worked for both sexes in my time and can attest that the best bosses I had were two blokes, Ernest Llewellyn (in the School of Music) and Dr David Nott (in ACT Health) and two women, Heidi Ramsay (in ACT Health) and former ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. All gave me the freedom to be creative and reined me in when I needed it. Most of my other bosses were less successful in the person management business. And many of the others were told to go jump or words more colourful.
What we men forget is that when it comes to the above the shoulder stuff, there is no such thing as difference. Sure the way we process information differs, as does it within the sexes, but if intellectual effort is needed and quick and valid analysis is required, I’ve found the female of the species has the game down pat.
Now I come to the “politics” of gender imbalance. This can be applied to politics of governance or politics of community service.
We have a gender imbalance in all the fora which govern our lives. The ALP has a policy of addressing this and often it is regarded as offensive to women. It is the affirmative action policy whereby 50 percent of positions must go to women and where there are less than an even number, then the 40:40:20 rule applies.
My support for this “anti-guy” rule is based on the assumption that where an imbalance applies, there needs to be a weighting on the lesser side to even up things. This has to be in place until an equilibrium ensues. If this means positive discrimination for a period of time, so be it!
But we still have to get over the societal push back on equality. Too many women are happy with their lot. Until something happens and they are put in a place of inferiority and then they don’t like it!
We all need to rise up! Start calling the discrimination for what it is! Toss the notion of inequality in all spheres of life.
I want my granddaughter to be able to be the Head of State of this fair land. But it ain’t gunna happen. The opportunities afforded girls of today to realise the dream of tomorrow are so limited and restrained that she hasn’t got a chance.
And before people remind me that the Chief Justice of the High Court and the Chief Justice of the ACT Supreme Court and the Chief Magistrate of the ACT are women, and that we had the first woman head of government in the history of Oz, let me remind you that women are still the majority of shop assistants, the majority of nurses and the majority of office cleaners. In essence, the majority of the lesser paying jobs in this country.
Two last points. My mum once told me that this women’s lib stuff, the burning of bras, was absolute rubbish! She said that this inequality stuff and its movement was not on. She agreed that there was an inequality between men and women but she was not going to give up her position of superiority for anyone!
And as for giving toys which are gender specific, go for it guys! If someone had given me a doll for Christmas, I would have had a fit! Boys are boys and girls are girls. We need to teach them that they are individuals whose contributions to society are based on their talents and not their gender.