It’s a story that just keeps getting more and more bizarre. Employers and Manufacturers Association head Alasdair Thompson’s sexist outbursts have drawn near universal condemnation, and are likely to cost him his job. Surely getting pelted with tampons represents some new kind of absolute career low in New Zealand.
But while we’re about the business of punishing sexist dinosaurs, we should set our sights a little higher than Thompson.
The National government is no friend of women. They’ve scrapped the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit (PaEE), and killed off investigations aimed at improving the pay of women. Under National the gender gap in pay is widening, and women are slipping back in other employment indicators.
The status of women within the National Party has also been questioned on many occasions, especially in relation to the Nats male dominated lists. The latest to shine a light into this musky darkness is Deborah Coddington, in this piece on Sunday:
If stories filtering back to media are anything to go by, National should hang its head in shame. In the past few months, female candidates have been dismissed in a cavalier and sexist manner by National’s selection process.
Why is it acceptable, in the 21st century, to ask women with children what childcare arrangements they have should they be chosen to represent their electorates?
And ask childless women if they will be “doing a Ruth Richardson or a Katherine Rich” and having babies while in the House? I wonder if Aaron Bhatnagar and Paul Goldsmith will be asked these questions when National chooses the candidate for Epsom.
Alasdair Thompson’s remarks were stupid and he richly deserves the bollocking that he’s getting. But in terms of improving the lot of women, the same anger and energy would get better returns if it was directed at a much bigger target…