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Gender equity? Yeah right

By John Hargreaves - 19 December 2016 19

Gender equality

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.

Whaddya fink?

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
Gender equity? Yeah right
1
TuggLife 10:27 am
19 Dec 16
#

My current bugbear is that my daughter’s school requires her to wear a dress, while the boys wear trousers. Dresses are no good for kicking a footy, and it emphasises the ‘otherness’ of girls – that they can’t participate in ‘boy’ sports even if they want to. I’ll take it up with the school, but it’s so maddening, and conflicts with the classroom message.

The ways girls and women are excluded from participating in this patriarchal society are many and varied, with daily reminders that we’re not quite ok.

It often gets dismissed with a line that men and women are paid the same, for the same job, which is true. But when you look more closely, female dominated trades, like childcare and hairdressing, are paid far less than their similarly qualified male dominated counterparts, like plumbing and carpentry.

2
devils_advocate 11:43 am
19 Dec 16
#

TuggLife said :

But when you look more closely, female dominated trades, like childcare and hairdressing, are paid far less than their similarly qualified male dominated counterparts, like plumbing and carpentry.

Plumbing and childcare I’ll call a tie, because they both involve touching poop. But carpentry is physically demanding. More generally, the higher the risk of death or permanent disability in a job, the more likely it is to be filled by men. That’s the real inequality in society.

3
chewy14 12:55 pm
19 Dec 16
#

Yes, we should give everyone equal choice to choose what they want out of life and the opportunity to get it.

Which, except for pockets of discrimination, is exactly what we have. Where those pockets of actual discrimination exist, they should be pointed out and stopped as the illegal acts they already are.

What we shouldn’t do, is what the author suggests and treat women like inferior beings that need his (our) special support so that they receive equal outcomes regardless of their individual values and life choices. We shouldn’t take a starting position that the existence of any difference in outcome equals discrimination.

“We need to teach them that they are individuals whose contributions to society are based on their talents and not their gender.”

Yes, exactly, the exact opposite of enacting quotas and “positive” discrimination which you support.

4
Rebecca Vassarotti 1:46 pm
20 Dec 16
#

There are important things to think about in this debate.

First, there is a direct link between gender inequity and violence against women. Narrow gender norms are destructive for everyone and it locks people into narrow expectations (especially boys). Disturbingly, we know that it also creates the environment where one in every three women in this country will be the subject of violence in their lifetimes. Without pushing back on gender sterotypes and creating gender equity, we are not going to change this sad reality.

While the issue around toys seems unimportant and frivolous, it actually makes a difference. Toystores is one the first places where girls are conditioned to limit their possibilities. Have a look at the aisles of ‘boys’ toys where they are encouraged to be physical, dexterous, and to live a million lives on a million planets. Then go to that ‘pink section’ where girls are encouraged to get excited about dolls and playing house. Even lego is now divided down gender lines, and with it, we reduce the expectations for girls about how they wish to engage with the world. Its not about dolls for boys or trucks for girls – its about setting up the environment where all our children are nurtured to dream, to strive, to experiment and to have fun. I just want to have options with interesting toys that do all this. It shouldn’t be hard but it is

5
Masquara 4:45 pm
20 Dec 16
#

John, what is your track record from when you were in government, on ensuring equal representation for women ? Any record in Hansard? Media releases? Speeches?

6
HenryBG 8:34 pm
20 Dec 16
#

Rebecca Vassarotti said :

While the issue around toys seems unimportant and frivolous, it actually makes a difference. Toystores is one the first places where girls are conditioned to limit their possibilities. Have a look at the aisles of ‘boys’ toys where they are encouraged to be physical, dexterous, and to live a million lives on a million planets. Then go to that ‘pink section’ where girls are encouraged to get excited about dolls and playing house. Even lego is now divided down gender lines, and with it, we reduce the expectations for girls about how they wish to engage with the world.

I used to not question this kind of assertion either. It has a certain intuitively truthiness about it.
But then I had children.
I now know 100% that Children are not conditioned by aisles in the toy store.
I have a daughter who was mad keen on Lego Creator and Technics.
I have another daughter who could never get enough pink Lego.
Nobody conditioned them this way.

The bottom line is that “gender” while being in a very minor sense a “social construct”, and in a major way it’s a ginormous fantasy from the ivory towers of academia.

Sex on the other hand is real. Sex differentiates our species into two very different camps, within each of which exists a huge range of diversity. None of this fits into the facile and inaccurate politicisation of sex by the identity-politics promoting marxist-inspired Left.

7
wildturkeycanoe 10:29 pm
20 Dec 16
#

Boys play with toy soldiers, Commandos and monsters. Girls play with Barbie dolls, My Little Ponies and tea sets. But once they become teens, boys want to “read” magazines with pictures of women and girls hang up posters of boy band members on their walls. How interests change with the passing of time.

8
gooterz 11:03 pm
20 Dec 16
#

Julia Gillard is a great example to use. She had the gender card on speed dial.
You might have missed that Cleopatra VII Philopator Ruled Egypt as Pharaoh until 30BC. She was a woman!

There has never been a law for equal pay for equal work. The actual law is equal time for equal pay, so it still makes sense to employ those more physically abled for those in a physical job be they man or woman.

“The opportunities afforded girls of today to realise the dream of tomorrow are so limited and restrained that she hasn’t got a chance.”
What particular opportunities are lacking?
Many of the things you say its no ok for them to be are usually jobs that are either physically demanding or have long hours. Many women take these roles up, however women prefer flexibility.

You say “Start calling the discrimination for what it is”
So lets call out your ‘positive discrimination’ – it’s still discrimination!

Why is it that we can’t have male teachers? why is it still illegal to try and provide bonuses for men to become teachers? Are we scared of male role models for our kids or still have hang ups that every man is a possible paedophile? One could easily link lack of male teachers with higher rates of DV.

The only things that gender quotas achieves is that there is now systematic discrimination (How do you deal with anything other than binary) and it also gives credence to anyone that says that they only got the role because of their gender.

“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.” – So everyone is an individual yet we need gender quotas?

It was only more recently that childbirth became less of a risk to health for women. up until about 1940’s childbirth was 50-60 times more deadly than it is today and many women had many more children than they do today. It’s only been a recent thing that a woman might have had 1 or 2 children then return to the workforce, and of those that do many do it part time. So its hard to draw a line that women have been discriminated for centuries as a different time is largely a different beast. We also now have a massively declining birth-rate. ‘Since 1976, the TFR for Australia has been below replacement level. ‘ ABS.
So basically whatever equality we might have in our future culture, its going extinct.

9
Mysteryman 9:25 am
21 Dec 16
#

chewy14 said :

Yes, we should give everyone equal choice to choose what they want out of life and the opportunity to get it.

Which, except for pockets of discrimination, is exactly what we have. Where those pockets of actual discrimination exist, they should be pointed out and stopped as the illegal acts they already are.

What we shouldn’t do, is what the author suggests and treat women like inferior beings that need his (our) special support so that they receive equal outcomes regardless of their individual values and life choices. We shouldn’t take a starting position that the existence of any difference in outcome equals discrimination.

“We need to teach them that they are individuals whose contributions to society are based on their talents and not their gender.”

Yes, exactly, the exact opposite of enacting quotas and “positive” discrimination which you support.

I came here to make a similar comment, but yours expressed my view perfectly.

10
Maya123 11:15 am
21 Dec 16
#

gooterz said :

Julia Gillard is a great example to use. She had the gender card on speed dial.
You might have missed that Cleopatra VII Philopator Ruled Egypt as Pharaoh until 30BC. She was a woman!

There has never been a law for equal pay for equal work. The actual law is equal time for equal pay, so it still makes sense to employ those more physically abled for those in a physical job be they man or woman.

“The opportunities afforded girls of today to realise the dream of tomorrow are so limited and restrained that she hasn’t got a chance.”
What particular opportunities are lacking?
Many of the things you say its no ok for them to be are usually jobs that are either physically demanding or have long hours. Many women take these roles up, however women prefer flexibility.

You say “Start calling the discrimination for what it is”
So lets call out your ‘positive discrimination’ – it’s still discrimination!

Why is it that we can’t have male teachers? why is it still illegal to try and provide bonuses for men to become teachers? Are we scared of male role models for our kids or still have hang ups that every man is a possible paedophile? One could easily link lack of male teachers with higher rates of DV.

The only things that gender quotas achieves is that there is now systematic discrimination (How do you deal with anything other than binary) and it also gives credence to anyone that says that they only got the role because of their gender.

“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.” – So everyone is an individual yet we need gender quotas?

It was only more recently that childbirth became less of a risk to health for women. up until about 1940’s childbirth was 50-60 times more deadly than it is today and many women had many more children than they do today. It’s only been a recent thing that a woman might have had 1 or 2 children then return to the workforce, and of those that do many do it part time. So its hard to draw a line that women have been discriminated for centuries as a different time is largely a different beast. We also now have a massively declining birth-rate. ‘Since 1976, the TFR for Australia has been below replacement level. ‘ ABS.
So basically whatever equality we might have in our future culture, its going extinct.

gooterz wrote, “The actual law is equal time for equal pay, so it still makes sense to employ those more physically abled for those in a physical job be they man or woman.”

That is true, except sometimes presumptions are made that are untrue, only because the person is female. I volunteered for a volunteering job and was placed by the organisers in a job that was physically demanding. The person organising this small group was reluctant to have me in the otherwise group of males, simply because I was a female, as he obviously didn’t think I could keep up. As it was a voluntary position I was allowed to try and soon proved I didn’t find it difficult keeping up. Later I was surprised that he admitted that the best worker he ever had was a female and he admitted he had been reluctant to take her too. But still, he continued to discriminate.

11
John Hargreaves 11:52 am
21 Dec 16
#

Masquara said :

John, what is your track record from when you were in government, on ensuring equal representation for women ? Any record in Hansard? Media releases? Speeches?

I’m not going to troll through 15 years of speeches in Hansard but will say that I had a reputation in the public service for encouraging and mentoring women into positions higher than they would have achieved in normal circumstances. And my pleasure was in seeing some of them outrank me in the process. In politics, I have been a major supporter of positive discrimination for women, provided that it is done with respect. You can always check with people like Katy Gallagher, Bec Cody, Joy Burch, Mary Porter if you like…

12
dungfungus 1:43 pm
21 Dec 16
#

John Hargreaves said :

Masquara said :

John, what is your track record from when you were in government, on ensuring equal representation for women ? Any record in Hansard? Media releases? Speeches?

I’m not going to troll through 15 years of speeches in Hansard but will say that I had a reputation in the public service for encouraging and mentoring women into positions higher than they would have achieved in normal circumstances. And my pleasure was in seeing some of them outrank me in the process. In politics, I have been a major supporter of positive discrimination for women, provided that it is done with respect. You can always check with people like Katy Gallagher, Bec Cody, Joy Burch, Mary Porter if you like…

Possibly one of the best Freudian slips ever seen on this blog where you say “troll through” when you mean “trawl through”.

13
Roksteddy 6:53 pm
21 Dec 16
#

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

Masquara said :

John, what is your track record from when you were in government, on ensuring equal representation for women ? Any record in Hansard? Media releases? Speeches?

I’m not going to troll through 15 years of speeches in Hansard but will say that I had a reputation in the public service for encouraging and mentoring women into positions higher than they would have achieved in normal circumstances. And my pleasure was in seeing some of them outrank me in the process. In politics, I have been a major supporter of positive discrimination for women, provided that it is done with respect. You can always check with people like Katy Gallagher, Bec Cody, Joy Burch, Mary Porter if you like…

Possibly one of the best Freudian slips ever seen on this blog where you say “troll through” when you mean “trawl through”.

Troll also means to systematically search for something

14
Blen_Carmichael 7:37 am
22 Dec 16
#

John Hargreaves said :

Masquara said :

John, what is your track record from when you were in government, on ensuring equal representation for women ? Any record in Hansard? Media releases? Speeches?

I’m not going to troll through 15 years of speeches in Hansard but will say that I had a reputation in the public service for encouraging and mentoring women into positions higher than they would have achieved in normal circumstances. And my pleasure was in seeing some of them outrank me in the process. In politics, I have been a major supporter of positive discrimination for women, provided that it is done with respect. You can always check with people like Katy Gallagher, Bec Cody, Joy Burch, Mary Porter if you like…

That explains why John never took up a ministerial appointment, nor, for that matter, stood for pre-selection. “Not a foot will I set in the Assembly until there is gender equity”, said he. “For I am a major supporter of positive discrimination for women, and what better way to demonstrate this then to forego my privilege on this basis.”

15
dungfungus 8:59 am
22 Dec 16
#

Roksteddy said :

dungfungus said :

John Hargreaves said :

Masquara said :

John, what is your track record from when you were in government, on ensuring equal representation for women ? Any record in Hansard? Media releases? Speeches?

I’m not going to troll through 15 years of speeches in Hansard but will say that I had a reputation in the public service for encouraging and mentoring women into positions higher than they would have achieved in normal circumstances. And my pleasure was in seeing some of them outrank me in the process. In politics, I have been a major supporter of positive discrimination for women, provided that it is done with respect. You can always check with people like Katy Gallagher, Bec Cody, Joy Burch, Mary Porter if you like…

Possibly one of the best Freudian slips ever seen on this blog where you say “troll through” when you mean “trawl through”.

Troll also means to systematically search for something

Not in my Heinemann Australian Dictionary (it’s in book form, btw).

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