Emma Bancroft discusses the controversial topic of special privilege in the world of employment, and argues that women and minorities should not have special advantages at work
The press is plagued with articles explaining why us women are on the back foot in this ‘man’s world’: “there just aren’t enough women in high powered positions.”
Oh, alright then, let's not consider Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, or Ginni Rometty, chairwoman and CEO of IBM, or Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen or perhaps Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary fund or even Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of Youtube, or… they must just be flukes, complete coincidences. Maybe they were put there because people felt sorry for them in this ‘man’s world.’
The two widespread words in this debate are ‘gender’ and ‘equality’, but maybe we ought to reconsider what gender equality truly means in order to grasp an understanding of this ‘poor little women’ rhetoric. Apparently, gender equality is where equality - i.e. opportunities and rights - is unaffected by gender.
"I don’t, however, believe in the superiority of women, which includes crowbarring them into places they shouldn’t be. That’s not equality"
Or perhaps, according to current practises, we ought to re-write this description… ‘Gender equality is where we take a look at our statistics, panic that they aren’t completely representative of the country’s ratio of males to females, and then shove some women in at some higher positions in order to create the illusion of some sort of parity within our workplace.’
Equality is not equality if you have to go and search for it; by definition this completely undermines the key principles of equality. Perhaps one day we will be trying to reinsert men into high powered positions because the women that we initially inserted there to replace the men on our quest for ‘equality’ have now completely taken over and now it’s a ‘woman’s’ world’.
"By using tokenism as a way to pretend workforces are ‘equal’ in gender, we are undermining the true skills and competences of women"
I am a feminist. Which means I believe in equality for women. I don’t, however, believe in the superiority of women, which includes crowbarring them into places they shouldn’t be. That’s not equality, that’s just an unnecessary, demeaning practise. As a woman, I’d be completely offended to think that I was given a position over a man who was more qualified than me, simply because the company were trying to introduce more women into the firm.
By using tokenism as a way to pretend workforces are ‘equal’ in gender, we are undermining the true skills and competences of women. How about we spend less time and effort working out all these silly percentages and just get on with employing the highest standard of workers, then, gender equality will happen naturally and women will be employed based purely on their merit, and not to artificially make up numbers. Don’t patronise us; we want to be employed because of our skills and capabilities, and because we will do the job better than anybody else.