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Why there should be an equal number of men and women in Cabinet

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, November 6th, 2015 - 160 comments
Categories: gender, Social issues - Tags:

Justin Trudeau equality

160 comments on “Why there should be an equal number of men and women in Cabinet”

  1. Alan 1

    representation should be based solely on merit, not gender

    • BM 1.1

      It’s about skill and talent, not genitals.

      • Crashcart 1.1.1

        The classic “based on merit” argument.

        By following it through this would indicate that you believe there are more men who are the best choice for leadership rolls and that is why they have them. It could never have anything to do with a society that makes it harder for women to advance than men. It couldn’t be the attitudes of men in leadership rolls groomign and then hiring other men into senior rolls.

        Clearly men having the majority of power positions is because they are better and more suitable for the job right? Women just don’t get the job because they aren’t as good so can’t get it on “merit”.

        • Alan

          classic because it is true.

          • weka

            no, you just asserted an opinion. Obviously you belief in it, that doesn’t make it true. Crashcart pointed out a problem with your assertion, care to respond to that?

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            If position were based on merit, right wingers wouldn’t get high positions. You’re crap at everything from logic to economics.

            • maui

              lol, if its about merit, how come bill, gerry, sam, murray and hekia are still at the table.

            • Nessalt

              yet it’s the right that control business, currently politics, the media according the rabid left. What do the left control, basically anything with tenure where there is no mechanism for removing dead wood. academia, unions, the labour party. So you’re crap for not even checking your assertion. if it counts, the right control it. if it’s irrelevant the left are welcome to it. you control commenting on this blog, you are of the left, therefore you are irrelevant. happy?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                My “assertion” is that position is not based on merit. Even if your lines about who controls what were true, they don’t address my assertion at all – in fact they assert that position is based on political allegiance, not merit.

                Own goal, bud.

        • BM

          No, it’s more to do with more men being interested in those sort of roles than women, therefore more men get chosen

          • RedLogix

            Yes there is an element of truth in that BM. Men are generally more comfortable in competitive, confrontational environments than women.

            Certainly it is men who have constructed the political models we currently have, and it is not so surprising they have created environments which work best for them. This wasn’t so much an evil plot – just the way things have evolved. Certainly some women have proven more than capable of succeeding within the existing system; Helen Clark being the obvious example. But they are as you suggest BM – a minority of women.

            But why should we persist in political and management models, that by their nature, tend to exclude half the population? As I argued below, it’s a waste of talent if nothing else.

            By mandating 50:50 ratios we do more than just widen the talent and skills net – we also start pushing the political system itself in a different direction, one in which I would hope that women would feel more interested in participating in.

            • BM

              First thing would be to get rid of that wankey debating chamber stuff that politicians do, it achieves fuck all except make politicians look like juvenile dick heads or at the very least they should stop televising it.

              That would go along way in encouraging more women and probably guys to get more involved.

              • RedLogix

                Agreed the debating chamber seems to add relatively little value these days. Occasionally it turns up a star performance, but for the most part it’s degenerated into pointless posturing. And reflects badly on the whole business of politics.

                By contrast most of the useful work of politics gets done in the far less structured and more consultative Select Committees.

              • The debating chamber is where policy is released and discussed. It is also the only time the opposition (on behalf of the public – that’s you and me) get to question the govt to ensure it’s doing its job properly.

                If an MP or Minister behaves like a dick / lies / refuses to answer a question it is purely a reflection upon that individual MP / Minister.
                That they are allowed to do it more than a single time is the responsibility of the Speaker.

                A strong impartial speaker is needed at all times to ensure that our representatives attend to the business of the house and not drift off into pettiness.

                Requiring a supermajority in order to elect a speaker, or ensuring that the speaker has consent of the house (i.e. any individual MP can blackball a prospective speaker at the time they are elected) might be a good place to start.

              • weston

                cant agree bm its an important part of the process and despite the ridicule it gets from a largely politically ignorant population its doubtfull if any or many of us could do much better . A better solution would be teaching our children about the subject by education in schools from an early age . Imo adults are often more stupid than children so starting at the top may not be as effective as starting at the bottom with the kids .

          • weka

            “No, it’s more to do with more men being interested in those sort of roles than women, therefore more men get chosen”

            Is it better for society to have men as leaders then? I think not (demonstrably not).

            If more men than women want those roles, then it’s probably because the way the roles are structured in ways that make them men’s jobs. If you don’t have paid maternity leave for instance, you drastically reduce the number of women that are going to go for those leadership roles. Most of the places of power in NZ are still structured around what men consider important not what women consider important. If women were in positions of power that would change or course, but they can’t get there, viscious circle. Which is why we need to change things structurally.

            • Colonial Viper

              Is it better for society to have men as leaders then? I think not (demonstrably not).

              “society” hasn’t gotten noticeably better over the last 30 years as more women have turned up in boardrooms, as CEOs, on rich lists and as Prime Ministers. What makes you think more of the same is a solution?

              • Bill

                Society will only improve when we grow out of our childish fetish of following leaders. (Ideas, not people, should lead)

                • Colonial Viper

                  I don’t think we’re going to change tens of thousands of years of cultural inclination towards leaders and hierarchies any time soon.

                  • Lanthanide


                  • Probably 10 – 15,000 years rather than tens of thousands of years. Hierarchical societies proper emerged with herding/horticultural/agricultural societies, as a best guess.

                    Delayed-return hunter gatherer societies (that employed some capital) probably had more inequality than immediate-return hunter gatherer societies (in which food is hunted and gathered as needed and little capital employed to be able to create a surplus).

                    The latter (immediate return) was far and away the dominant form over the entire evolutionary history of the species. (Here’s an interesting economic study on how egalitarianism was possibly maintained.)

                    Hunter-gatherer societies (especially ones with little semi-horticultural or herding aspects to them) were and are overwhelmingly considered to have been egalitarian and non-hierarchical.

                    That egalitarianism may well have been achieved by ‘reverse dominance’ – ganging up on anyone who tried to assert dominance – and distinguished humans from their chimpanzee relatives. (Solidarity of alliances by the many against the few goes back a long way and was probably responsible for such things as the pair-bond based ‘family’ itself being able to come into being.)

                    This recent study simulating hunter-gatherer residential decision making also supports the idea that there was probably gender equality as the norm during the human evolutionary past.

                    • weka

                      Nice one. That last link is intriguing because it suggests that kinship doesn’t have to be the key to social cohesion.

                      Let’s also remember we are fortunate to live in a country where hunter gatherers lived a mere 200 years ago. There is much we could be learning here.

                    • weka

                      btw, Puddleglum, while you are here, can I ask your opinion about the idea that the Green Party have reached an electoral ceiling? Is there any useful way to assess that, and do the election results over time demonstrate it in any meaningful way?

                    • Hi weka,

                      I don’t really have any useful ideas about ‘electoral ceilings’ for the Green Party. Ten years ago most people would have said that the GP had ‘topped out’ at around 5-8%.

                      I seem to remember seeing a graph (but can’t now find the link) comparing the various parties and their supporters/voters in terms of educational background. Labour and National had proportions of their voters similar to the educational profile of the New Zealand population in general.

                      By contrast, NZ First had a lower educational profile (i.e., disproportionately fewer of those in the more advanced educational categories than found in the general population) while both the Greens and ACT were disproportionately supported by those with undergraduate university level or higher qualifications.

                      That kind of a profile may be indicative of a more ‘niche’ appeal for parties like the Greens, NZFirst and ACT than for Labour and National, which could be interpreted as an expression of a ‘ceiling’, I suppose, at the population level for each of those parties.

                      But over the longer haul tides always turn (or at least fluctuate markedly) for political parties that have more than marginal support (i.e., barely registering in polls and elections) as the Green Party clearly does.

                      The New Zealand Labour Party itself took four elections (and the intervention of WWI and the Russian Revolution) to get over 20% of the popular vote.

                      It then stayed in the 20s in percentage terms until the crash and depression helped launch it to 34.3% in 1931 and 46.1% in 1935. It may well have been received wisdom prior to WWI that Labour had ‘plateaued’ at less than 10% popular appeal and then, again, after WWI it may well have been accepted wisdom that they had reached a new plateau in the mid-20% range.

                      So one lesson, I guess, is that major social and economic changes can result in major political shifts. Given the prospect of more environmental (and socioeconomic) issues impacting more directly over coming years it’s anyone’s guess what appeal the Green Party will have over the next decade or two.

                      But that’s probably a longer timescale than you were thinking of in your question about ‘electoral ceilings’.

                      Another point that’s worth considering is that as parties gain greater popular support they are also likely to shift in policy terms. I have no idea what that would mean for the Green Party if, for example, it doubled its popular vote over the next few elections.

                    • weka

                      thanks for that.

                      Shaw’s plan is to double the membership, so that will change the party too.

                • vaughan little

                  people always want a champion, especially in times of distress.

                  we’re a heavily symbol-oriented species. probably tied in with our being a linguistic species. we seek leaders who will symbolize us to ourselves and to other groups.

                  i don’t think that’s a childish fetish that can be outgrown. it seems to be at the core of what we are. and whence aesthetics without the dynamic?

                  but yes, if we pursue our symbols at the neglect of meaningful content, then we are up a creek. and it’s so easy to be neglectful. i mean, democracy requires a knowledge on the part of the electorate that’s damn well formidable. i don’t think such knowledge is remotely attainable without thick relationships – tight-knit communities. but capitalism pushes us toward thin relationships. the plug’n’play worker/consumer.

                  • Bill

                    I’ll go with most of the last para.

                    But the claim that “people always want a champion” – No.

                    And yes, we’re very hooked on symbols and their supposed meaning, but that could be as much about an inherent psychotic trait as it could be about being linguistic creatures ;-). Anyway, it doesn’t follow from that, that we seek to invest symbolic meaning in any given person or whatever so that we can reflect ourselves back to ourselves and onto others. (That’s what you were saying, yes?) I mean, that diminishes the person you’ve imbued with your meaning while simultaneously diminishing yourself.

                    Don’t know what you mean by aesthetics and dynamics? Does that matter?

              • weka

                ““society” hasn’t gotten noticeably better over the last 30 years as more women have turned up in boardrooms, as CEOs, on rich lists and as Prime Ministers. What makes you think more of the same is a solution?”

                I’m not talking about token positions above the glass ceiling available esp to women who are willing to work in the patriarchal system and play the game with the boys with limited influence to change it (and that applies to men who want to change it too). We have no way of knowing what would happen if women were on 50% of every leadership position across society because it’s been too long since we’ve had that (in Pākehā dominated society at least).

                If you look at somewhere like Parliament, where women have incrementally made inroads over a long period of time, it’s pretty easy to see that the women that manage to stay in that system are the ones that can handle the macho culture and the discrimination. I still believe that if Parliament were mandated to have 50% women within a short space of time eg two terms, then we would see a marked change in the culture of the place. Sure there would still be the Jenny Shipleys and Paula Bennets who are quite happy to play and promote the patriarchal game, but I think there would be much more of a balance across the spectrum of women who bring in different values and different approaches to government.

                • Colonial Viper

                  you’re doing a lot of supposing, and as I said, with women far more prominent in elite positions in society now than 30 or 40 years ago, very little has changed for the better.

                  By the way MPs are the very definition of one percenters. Having more women one percenters might give you a thrill but I don’t think it will change jack for the ordinary NZer.

                  • weka

                    “and as I said, with women far more prominent in elite positions in society now than 30 or 40 years ago, very little has changed for the better.”

                    Yes, I know you’ve said that, that’s why I specifically addressed that point.

                    You’ve ignored what I’ve said and you’ve now started talking about something else entirely.

                    I don’t believe what you’ve just implied I do, so please stop misinterpreting my comments. If you want to debate what I’ve said, feel free.

                • Tracey

                  30 years versus 10000 is enough for women to prove their worth…

              • Tracey

                More doesnt mean many

              • Korero Pono

                ““society” hasn’t gotten noticeably better over the last 30 years as more women have turned up in boardrooms, as CEOs, on rich lists and as Prime Ministers. What makes you think more of the same is a solution?”

                Could that be because men still call the shots?

                I do not care how you paint it, how you wrap it up, your statement implies that if women were effective in leadership roles, there would have been change. You imply that women make no difference to society.

                There have been significant changes driven by women, changes in the the Domestic Violence Act for example – introduction of Protection Orders, replacing the discriminatory and arbitrary non-violence and non-molestation orders. There are many women in important leadership roles, as change agents, these roles are ignored and considered unimportant by some men. Meanwhile these silent and unrecognised leaders walk amongst us, changing the lives of women and children every day. These leaders chip away at the patriarchal and colonial system by having a voice at the table and effecting change at a deeper societal level. These women mostly go unnoticed because men do not see their role as important, in fact some men see them as the enemy, an enemy who are teaching women every day about how men, society and even other women use tactics of power and control to maintain their positional power. If for no other reason, this is why, not only should there be 50/50 representation at the political table, that representation should be representative of both men and women, not just the dominant societal ideology that sees women as inferior.

          • Ana

            There are no reputable studies which suggest that women aren’t interested in politics at the same level as men, or that the number of qualified women is significantly smaller than the number of qualified men.

            The research does tell us that men are more likely to put their names forward as candidates, even if they have minimal political experience or qualifications – women on the other hand are most likely to put themselves forward as a candidate if they are directly asked by someone from a political party and will only do so if they feel they have “considerable” political experience and qualifications.

        • Daniel Cale

          What very strange logic. There are potentially numerous reasons why there are more men in certain positions, just as there are numerous reasons there are more women in certain positions than men (e.g. Early Childhood Teaching). There are a significant number of capable and high achieving women in Parliament. Quota’s are simply a way of saying women can;t make it on merit. They can, they have, and they will.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Yes, there are reasons. Gender bias and male privilege, for example.

            The obvious logic behind it is that better decisions will be made.

            • Daniel Cale

              “Male privilege”?? What a nonsense expression. Better decisions will be made when the best people are in the jobs.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                How amusing that you think a shorthand phrase for wage inequality, the glass ceiling, social expectations etc. is “a nonsense”. None of these things exist on Planet Daniel, eh?

                I appreciate you have your own deeply held beliefs about this Danny, and you believe them very very hard, and they’re utterly irrelevant to decision-making theory. Fact: diverse groups make better decisions, no matter what your personal sky-fairy says.

              • Ana

                How do you define “best” for a political job ?

          • mpledger

            But you seem to assume that “merit” is some objective standard. It’s not, it’s a subjective standard, in this case set by those within the system i.e. men.

            And men don’t get chosen on “merit”, they get chosen for a wide variety of reasons that often have little to do with merit – wealth, connections, they know where the bodies are, to gain experience etc.

            • Daniel Cale

              Oh women get chosen for some very strange reasons too, mp, including some of the ones you’ve mentioned above. That’s why I don’t support tokenism, whether it’s based on gender, race or any other perceived disadvantage.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                If it were mere tokenism I suppose we’d have to establish the value of tokens.

                However, diverse groups make better decisions than homogenous ones, so this is a matter of seeking a competitive advantage.

          • Tracey

            If life were only as simple as you think it is. But then it might be for some men.

        • Crashcart has it precisely correct. If you believe that women are equally as capable as men, they should be filling roughly 50% of leadership positions if you’re hiring based on merit. Making an effort to identify enough talented women in your own party to achieve rough gender parity in cabinet is literally the least a good leader should do to show women getting a fair go.

      • Zorr 1.1.2

        If it were actually about merit, the majority of the current cabinet would not be employed as they have continued to display a complete lack of ability and integrity.

        So far, it just seems about maintaining the farce that there is some intrinsic “merit” to being some majority combination of old, cis, hetero, white or male.

        • Colonial Viper

          If it were actually about merit, the majority of the current cabinet would not be employed as they have continued to display a complete lack of ability and integrity.

          Yet somehow the Opposition parties can’t come close to scratching them. Seems like the current Government isn’t as short of ability as you might suppose. Or is it that the Opposition parties are in even more dire straits?

          • Zorr

            How about instead of lumping everybody not in Government under the broad term “Opposition”, we actually approach this both accurately and objectively. That the current government is as it stands is no proof of either competence or talent in their ministerial portfolios but a competence at getting elected.

            The Greens now are operating under a mandate to have 50/50 representation and it hasn’t hurt their numbers at all. They have never been a majority party in NZ politics and are unlikely to ever be as the implications of our cultural values confines them to a support role. It doesn’t stop them showing the way on a national stage in much the same way we used to, as a country, light the way on the international stage.

            Labour, on the other hand, couldn’t punch their way out of a wet paper bag and their incompetence has nothing to do with other parties in opposition.

            • Colonial Viper

              The Greens now are operating under a mandate to have 50/50 representation and it hasn’t hurt their numbers at all.

              You’re only going to know that at the next election.

              Do you think the Greens will get to 15% in 2017? I don’t.

              • Zorr

                Cool. Opinion noted.

                Glad to know your opinion gets decided for you by poll numbers rather than any kind of personal morals. However, considering you are often the sexist dinosaur around here, I personally think that this is some kind of fig leaf you are wearing to cover the fact you’d just prefer people would focus on “the real issues” rather than the underrepresentation of women in parliament.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hey Zorr, weaksauce name calling now?

                  I’m simply making a point that the Greens have hit an electoral ceiling and whatever they do with gender politics and identity politics and following Labour down that track ain’t gonna make a difference to that fact.

                  My analysis is that the Greens are now following Labour into cultural irrelevance.

                  Enjoy the journey.

                  you’d just prefer people would focus on “the real issues” rather than the underrepresentation of women in parliament.

                  Parliament is an elite game for elitists talking to the elite. You can get more women into these $160K per annum jobs in Wellington, but it ain’t gonna make a difference to life for ordinary NZers.

                  • Tracey

                    Have you left the labour party CV?

                  • Zorr

                    *shrug* I’m not going to be back. This was kind of a last attempt at trying to engage from me just to confirm, to myself, that my assessment was accurate.

                    The problem that is happening here is that the most vocal minority (like yourself) cannot seem to see is that the power of the left has *always* been a progressive, inclusive message. The labourer of today that does not need employment relations legislation that protects them is the same as the women claiming they no longer need feminism. The current benefits that these people experience are the result of much hard work and agitation towards changing the structures that govern us.

                    Whatever the hell the Labour ever stood for is now neatly encapsulated by the Greens but their stupid leadership (Labour’s) is still too busy arguing over who gets to captain the sinking ship rather than looking at why they are no longer relevant. The vocal minority in and around the “Left” – the leadership and MPs, the various blogs and the committed members of their commentariat – effectively block any engagement with the larger voting blocs. It is difficult to want to engage with whatever barrow is being pushed when it always appears like the only thing that is ever happening is a discussion around who should push and what kind of manure we should fill it with.

                    When the times that people try to engage, they are commonly lambasted for how wrong they are and that they should go away and think more about their mistakes in life does not encourage them to engage and provides an example to others of what will happen if they do. The “left”/values you seeem to want to promote is not inclusive at all despite your continuing rhetoric around how if we just followed your lead, we would find ourselves in some cultural relevance Nirvana.

                    Fuck that. I will go where I can make a difference because the blogosphere is not a place where a difference can be made. All the best authors that ever wrote for this site have become burned out dealing with the shit flung at them by aggressive entitled members of the commentariat. Enjoy your echo chamber. You worked hard to make it this way.

              • Korero Pono

                CV are you suggesting that a mandate for 50/50 gender representation is likely to hurt the Greens? If so, why?

            • Daniel Cale

              “The Greens now are operating under a mandate to have 50/50 representation and it hasn’t hurt their numbers at all.”

              Really? The Greens have had gender based co-leadership since 1995. From 195 through to 2008 their % of the vote stayed static around 7%. In 2011, as Labour’s vote collapsed, it rose to 11.1%, but dropped again in 2014 to 10.7% despite expectations of around 15%. By any measure the Greens have been an electoral failure, 7 elections (excluding when they were part of the Alliance), never formally part of a government.

              • Zorr

                An electoral “failure” despite consistently getting over 10% of the vote? That is definitely a new definition of “failure” to me. Maybe if we were still in FPP land it would be remotely relevant but they have consistently managed to have progressive policies implemented through their advocacy.

              • maui

                Ok, the greens who have more than doubled their vote in the last 9 years are a failure in your eyes. What’s your version of a success, an 8x times increase?

                • Korero Pono

                  Perhaps success is when the leading party (in this case National) can manipulate the system and the voters by ensuring that irrelevant players such as Dunne and Seymour (and their dying parties) get into parliament without a mandate.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Meanwhile, as the Greens have been increasing their share of the vote, Labour and National have been adopting and implementing their policy proposals.

                So it’s an odd variety of “failure”. A touch of bias peeking out?

          • Naturesong

            Unfortunately the ability that they have an abundance of, which has ensured they stay in power, is not that governance, policy or policy / project implementation.

      • Molly 1.1.3

        “It’s about skill and talent, not genitals.”
        This. Which is why the current system needs addressing.

        • BM

          What women mps are being discriminated against because of their gender?

          • weka

            If cabinet is has significantly more men than women, you either believe that men are more capable, or you have to look at why the gender balance wouldn’t reflect the 50/50 split of men/women in society.

            To answer your question more specifically, all women MPs are being discriminated against, and women in general.

            • BM

              Are male teachers being discriminated against? because there seems to be a serious gender imbalance going on within teaching.

              • vaughan little

                from direct experience – yes. it can be extremely, unimaginably painful.

                • BM

                  In what way?

                  • vaughan little

                    “he’s a pervert” “she said it so it must be true”. happens. teens making super-serious stuff up is rare, but so is getting hit by lightning. and due process is a different kettle of monkeys to being thrown under a bus.

                    if you think about it, how often have strangers insinuated that there’s something sexually fishy about you as a dude? stuff like a visit to my childhood playground, seeing a sign, “please don’t take photographs around this playground”, or in a park, i take a snap of some birds and a few minutes later some teens come up to me and say “were you taking photos of us?” – those were dudes too…. in a pub, “i’ve got a chinese girlfriend” response: “you only want an asian girlfriend so you can dominate her”. words to that effect. all in NZ.

                    maybe i gotta start wearing crispy white business shirts and tasteful ties.

                    • Alethios

                      Sorry to hear that brother.

                      Having spent a lot of time in Asia recently, it’s about the most normal thing in the world for men to be playing with children – and you’ll often see beaming smiles from the parents for doing so. Here in NZ, it’s difficult to even be around kids without my female partner for fear of being given the stinkeye or worse.

                      In my understanding, it’s significantly harder again for male teachers – you’re effectively forced to follow the rule of never being alone with a student. This might seem reasonable enough, but is far more difficult in practice – a student lingers after class to discuss homework, wants to see you to talk about test results, bumps into you in a hallway on the far side of school and so on. Poor bastards.

                    • McFlock

                      Friend of mine is an ECE professional. She reckons that male ECE educators also get flak because they get paid more because they are as rare as hen’s teeth so are in demand. If it’s not one thing it’s another.

                      That having been said, that’s one of the few areas where the discrimination shoe is on the other foot. It is just an interesting point that the same system that (at best) makes positions of power less accessible or hostile to women also makes a few other areas less accessible or hostile to men.

                      The sooner we stop pretending we don’t have a problem and actively confront it, the better IMO. And the quickest way of confronting it is by demonstrating that the sky won’t fall in when parity is reached.

              • weka

                Not sure tbh (how much is discrimination, how much is that men want better paying jobs and are granted them more than women?). But let’s say the answer is yes, you’d then have to ask is that a problem for society.

                • weka

                  Quick google, it looks like at the Principal level in 2002, 70% are men 30% are women, compared to 40% male teachers and 60% female.

                  That’s discrimination.

                  Vaughn above can talk more about individual men’s experiences of being a teacher (and I’ve got stories from a relative). That’s a different thing than looking at gender as a class and how discrimination is working. Still important.

                • BM

                  Are there more women applying to be teachers than men, which is why there’s less male teachers.

                  Are there more men applying to be mps than women, which is why there’s less female mps.

                  If in both professions, the applicants were 50/50 male/female then I’d say there could be a bit of discrimination going on, other wise the gender percentages are just a reflection of the people who have applied.

                  • weka

                    The reasons why more men than women apply are also part of the discrimination. Discrimination is structural as much as anything.

                    For instance women who want to have children and be an MP need different supports than most men in that situation. If we managed society to enable gender equity there would be all sorts of things in place to ensure that mothers could be MPs.

                    Another example is how macho the party culture is. The more macho the less women are going to apply. The more egalitarian the party is, the more attractive it is going to be to women. What this comes down to is whether it’s seen as desirable to have more women MPs. Some people will argue yes because women deserve that. I would also argue yes, because it will make parliament and government better and more effective institutions to have more women.

                    • BM

                      Why are the greens still around 10%, why aren’t more women voting green?

                    • weka

                      what does that have to do with anything I’ve said in this thread? Are you suggesting that parties should have more men in them so that more people will vote for them? Are you suggesting that political parties should sacrifice core values to gain votes?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      what does that have to do with anything I’ve said in this thread?

                      ? Huh? You spoke directly about it:

                      Another example is how macho the party culture is. The more macho the less women are going to apply. The more egalitarian the party is, the more attractive it is going to be to women. What this comes down to is whether it’s seen as desirable to have more women MPs.

                    • weka

                      I was talking about women becoming MPs. BM is talking about who women vote for. They’re not the same thing.

              • just saying

                Teachers are poorly paid, particularly compared to other jobs requiring similar skills, education and responsibility. The work is long and hard and conditions are often poor. Most do it for the love of the students and education. Teachers are able to spend much of the school holidays at home (though they have a lot of shcool work to complete).

                I think these are more likely to be the reasons for more women outnumbering men. Decent pay and conditions would see far more men taking on the job, as in countries where this is the case.

              • Tracey

                Are you concerned at how male teachers rise to principal in numbers disproportionate to their overall numbers in the teaching ranks? Just another coincidence BM?

          • Korero Pono

            Jacinda Ardern having to deal with sexist comments on a regular basis. Helen Clarke was subject to criticism for her looks and for not bearing children, her husband’s manliness was questioned. There are probably a huge amount of examples if one wants to go hunting.

        • weka

          ha! nice one Molly.

      • Anno1701 1.1.4

        “It’s about skill and talent, not genitals.”

        half assed…..

      • RedLogix 1.1.5


        Only if you are going to measure ‘skill and talent’ in pure masculine terms. I’ve strongly argued elsewhere that the genders are largely complementary and bring different perspectives to the table.

        (And to anticipate the howl of protest – yes gender is not binary, it exists on a spectrum. Many people do not conform to either strictly masculine or feminine models of behavior).

        To use a crude rugby analogy – if you stack your team with 15 players all built like props – no matter how ‘talented’ they are as forwards, they are going to be beaten a team which has a balance of talented forwards AND backs.

        From my perspective mandating a balance of men and women in senior roles is a good idea, not just from a basic human dignity and rights point of view, but it makes really good sense from a performance one as well.

      • Tracey 1.1.6

        It is. he made sure he chose 50% of his cabinet from women equal to the rest. You really do struggle with this. You seem to have in this inbuilt acceptance and inability to challenge the enormous coincidence that is that men just are better than women, more skilled and more talented in disproportionate terms

    • Michael 1.2

      a) There are more than enough qualified women to achieve a gender-balanced cabinet. It is silly to suggest that it would be impossible to find qualified women.

      b) If there aren’t – guess what, you can recruit more women for Parliament and pursue affirmative action measures to get strong women candidates into Parliament.

      c) We live in a representative democracy. Surely the Government should represent society – not just white males. You need diversity of voices at the Cabinet: for example, when discussing equal pay for equal work, surely it would be good to have some *women* to give their input on it – they have experience in it!

      Anyone who disagrees is just attempting to justify gender inequality, and it’s not okay.

      • arkie 1.2.1

        Hear hear

      • Richard@Down South 1.2.2

        You make some good points, however I ask you… how many women (qualified or not) would want to deal with the bullshit that is parliament… seems to me that it would be like dealing with the detention room with all the kids hyped up on sugar and a sense of self entitlement

    • infused 1.3

      Yep. Based on what’s between your legs is stupid. More and more women are getting in to parliament on merit.

      This bullshit has gone on long enough.

    • DoublePlusGood 1.4

      Look at the standard of MPs in our parliament and tell me that merit has anything to do with most of the people in there.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.5

      What a noble utopian ideal. Meanwhile, on Earth, privilege tilts the playing field along gender lines, while right wingers make excuses.

    • Fustercluck 1.6

      If the dudes pick the criteria then what you get is the sociopathic sausage-fest that dominates NZ and world politics. “Merit” usually means rigged for the existing power structures that are overwhelmingly patriarchal. In my limited experience, the fastest way to get a project moving is to increase the ratio of women to men to something approaching 50/50, regardless of simple “merit” metrics. Increase the emotional intelligence and maturity of the group and you get far better results than with pseudo-expert technocrats.

  2. vaughan little 2

    i’ve noticed a bit of that lately: if you’re right you don’t have to bother with careful communication cos, hey, you’re right. this is a blight on social media.

    it’s a shitty attitude to 1965. why is 2015 cooler and more deserving of a 50/50 gender thing than 1965?

    if the borg took over cabinet, what gender would it be?

    equal is a shitty, arid metaphor. probably as healthy socially as the idea of “balance” is in public finance. as in, “balancing the books”. liberals are rationalists who swim around in logical constructions like movie stars in swimming pools. aesthetics doesn’t fit into such a strictly rationalist paradigm. you know, justice=fairness=mathematical proportions – cutting pies just so. and since the human world is 5050ish mf, well that’s what cabinet should be too. but wouldn’t it be more fruitful to ditch that and say “justice is whatever is conducive to beauty”? liberalism is unsatisfying. except to middle class geeks with mortgages who were trained in universities to be the pencil pushers of capitalism.

    what kind of resources do feminists need to achieve equal representation in cabinet? labour’s been femmo for a while and women just aint stepping up to the plate in sufficient numbers.

    what’s wrong with “let’s get up to 33 or 40%, pat ourselves on the back and then try to agree on what the hell we just did and what therefore to do next?” a bit of social engineering is fine as long as it’s not done on absolutist terms. nobody wants any more stalinist totalitarian bullshit. for one, how could we possibly know if the world would be better under such conditions since we’ve never had them before? for two, i get a bit anxious when politicos start banging on about ends but go light on means. there’s a whole lot of history to show that politicos should major on means and fit in ends somewhere around that.

    the implication that 2015 is somehow cooler than, say 556, is progressive. things getting better and better. ashis nandy (cool indian intellectual) states that in the 20th century, 220 million people were killed in genocide, 10% by religious motivation, two thirds by communism/nationalism. how the hell can progressives still justify their beliefs? did tolkien – he of the 20th century’s most loved English language fictional work, he of the ‘history as long defeat’ persuasion – simply never happen? enlightenment imperialism? the first world war? did they not happen? things only seem to be getting better and better for that disappearing class of people whose material conditions are getting better and better – people paying off mortgages and such.

    • weka 2.1

      not really following most of that (better formatting would help), but would like to point out that the main difference between the GP, that has equal representation in its list, and National, that doesn’t, is that the GP made sure that it happened. They did this by first structuring it into the list selection process, and then they worked to support and encourage women to become MPs. It’s not rocket science. If it’s not happening it’s because the party doesn’t want it to.

      As someone pointed out the other day in the thread about Marama Davidson entering parliament, the GP have yet again brought in someone very talented as someone else very talented was leaving, they have a pool of upcoming talent. That that’s because the GP make it a priority. You can apply that to gender.

      Myself, I think NZ should be run by kuia, so I see ‘equality’ as a pretty basic, low level starting point for making society more egalitarian (and apparently we can’t even do that much).

      • vaughan little 2.1.1

        partially insomnia-inspired vent. paragraphs aren’t meant to connect.

        sometimes i like to go a bit emo. hope that’s not too unconducive to the generally impeccable tone people have come to expect from the standard.

    • Alethios 2.2

      Just with respect to that “history is a long defeat” idea, you might be interested in Stephen Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature” which effectively argues that violence has been on the decline over the millenia, centuries and recent decades, and outlines why that might be. It’s a fascinating book, and suggests that while we might have some serious environmental and social problems on our hands, and that the traditional story of human progress (in the sense of our inevitable utopian destiny in the stars, complete with hovercraft) might well be nothing more than myth, there is still something to be said for human progress – the breaking down of traditional barriers, and the slowly growing realisation that we’re all one big family etc.

      • vaughan little 2.2.1

        Wikipedia does a nice summary of the criticisms of Pinker’s book.

        I consider him a fruitcake.

        But then neither am i convinced of the boot stamping on a face forever thing.

        I consider the enlightenment a fuckup. I could ramble but I’ll keep it tight:

        1. Enlightenment is a religious term. It denotes the transition from darkness to light. That should be sufficiently embarrassing in itself to warn most people off it.

        2. It’s got the wrong anthropology. Humans just aren’t like that – so terribly reasonable. Reason is just one feature in a grab bag of many that makes us who we are. To privilege one, to elevate one, I interpret as a historical move, based on economic conditions as much as anything else. I’m capital C Christian but I draw from Marx quite heavily to understand movements in intellectual history.

        Back to the cabinet issue. Abstractions like “discrimination” are pretty useless, but they’re what modern day identity politics movements are based around. You go back to the Christian civil rights movement, or the predominantly Christian first wave feminism (wollstonecraft was a marginal and marginalized figure) and you see they based their movement around concrete issues that they could campaign on. very unfluffy, very achievy. if you want women in cabinet, you need political parties to do training programs.

        the empiricist in me says that if it’s worth getting right, it’s worth taking time over.

        • Puddleglum

          My take is that the Enlightenment was far more a political project (to undermine the hold on power of aristocratic structures) than it was a philosophical or scientific project.

          That’s why the ‘individual’ gets star billing during the Enlightenment (and hence why ‘reason’ – which is characterised as a property of individual cognition – became lauded; it was a highly subversive intellectual cocktail riding on the Reformation’s coattails).

          Most of the Enlightenment philosophers and thinkers were, of course, quite self-aware political activists and essayists. From Descartes on they knew what they were engaged in was a highly political act, first and foremost.

          • vaughan little

            they wanted to take power from those who had power plain and simple. but they were never honest with themselves about that. instead they appealed to nature and natural laws, like progress, to validate them.

            had they been honest they would have just called it what it was. a power grab. incredibly destructive, as it turns out.

            • RedLogix

              Not to mention the sheer economic impact of the Black Death, meaning that skilled trades-people and workers suddenly had a bit of real bargaining power for the first time in several millenia.

        • Molly

          ” It’s got the wrong anthropology. Humans just aren’t like that – so terribly reasonable. “
          I’m not sure that you are correct here. There are many traditional indigenous cultural practices that seek peaceful resolutions. Particularly in communities where collective ownership and sharing is still existing.

          I think you are speaking from mainly a modern western perspective, even though I’ll admit there are some pretty hairy indigenous responses to conflict as well. However, the Norway system of rehabilitative justice does show progress that is coming to this aspect of modern life as well.

          if you want women in cabinet, you need political parties to do training programs.
          Why? To train prospective MP’s to fit the mould? That could well eliminate the benefits. Embracing diversity requires shifts in practice, thinking and decision making. That change often does create a space for better long term decisions.

  3. alwyn 3

    Rather than do it by sex I think we should do it by age.
    For a Cabinet of 30 say we should have
    5 in their 20s.
    5 in their 30s
    5 in their 40s
    5 in their 50s
    5 in their 60s
    and 5 older than that.
    I am not really willing to suggest it would be necessary to have 5 in the age group up to 9, but others might.
    That would certainly clean out the no-hopers in the current political parties wouldn’t it?

    • weka 3.1

      Unlike with gender, I think we can argue that the things we might value in a Minister do vary with age.

      • alwyn 3.1.1

        I suspect that you, like nearly everyone, would think that their own age is probably the correct one for the majority of politicians.
        I like Ronald Reagan’s reply to a questioner in the second TV debate of the 1984 campaign when his age, 73 at the time I think, was questioned. His opponent, Mondale would have been about 50.

        Reagan’s response was perfect.
        “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
        Even Mondale had to laugh.

        Personally I think there may be good sense in the argument that no-one under 70 should be allowed to be in Cabinet, or Parliament for that matter.
        They wouldn’t hang around for ever like some of the present lot would they?

        Out of curiosity what traits did you have in mind and what age group best personifies them? If you nominate different desirable traits as appearing in different age groups I think my point would be proved.

        • weka

          “I suspect that you, like nearly everyone, would think that their own age is probably the correct one for the majority of politicians.”

          Nope, not what I was thinking at all. I just don’t think you can swap age for gender in this discussion and have them be the same arguments.

          “Out of curiosity what traits did you have in mind and what age group best personifies them? If you nominate different desirable traits as appearing in different age groups I think my point would be proved.”

          Kind of odd that you think that someone over 70 shouldn’t be there then.

          The most obvious one is that a 20 year old is unlikely to have the work experience that enables good management of a government department. It’s not about desirable traits, it’s simple physics as related to time.

          • Crashcaart

            I actually agree with Alwyn on this.

            Just as differing Genders bring different strenghts and weaknesses so do different age groups. They would also bring a more varried point of view in both cases. Issues that may seem minor to a person close to or at retirement age with their own home sorted could be very important to someone just starting to make their way through life.

            Age by no means denotes wisdom. I work with people of hugely varying age groups. We have people in their 50’s who act like they are 21 and people in thiier 20’s with families who show a level of maturity I only aspire too.

            Just as Political parties would benefit from having a braod range of genders so they would benefit from having a braod range of ages and societal back grounds.

            • weka

              It’s not an age = wisdom argument, it’s an age = immaturity argument (and I don’t mean that pejoratively). Would you be ok with a 20 year old doing brain surgery? Or a 15 year old midwife? Or a 15 year old flying a plane? It’s nothing to do with the perspectives of those people (I’m sure they have useful ones), it’s simply a matter of how much time it takes to train and gain the experience to take on responsibilities.

              Of course age diversity is important, and it makes sense to have someone pretty young in charge of Youth Affairs. I’m talking about the actual capacity to oversee a government department, but then maybe Im over-estimating what Ministers do 😉

              My main objection was to the idea that age was synonymous to gender in terms of the issues (it’s not), and the 5, 5, 5, 5 split thing just seemd artififical and daft to me. The reason that we look at 50/50 for gender is because that reflects what is in society. The 5/5/5/5 thing doesn’t reflect age distribution, it’s just arbitraty allocation of numbers our brains happen to like. If we want better age diversity in parliament, that’s not the way to do it.

              • alwyn

                ” The 5/5/5/5 thing doesn’t reflect age distribution, it’s just arbitraty allocation of numbers” according to your view.
                I suggest that you look at the Age pyramid for New Zealand.
                I would say that the allocation I proposed wouldn’t be to different from the actual population and isn’t just “arbitrary”.
                It would lead to a little bit higher allocation to those over 60 perhaps but wouldn’t otherwise be greatly different to the real distribution.

                As for your comments about the 15 year olds doing things. You will note that, in fact, the minimum age for being in Cabinet at least would be 20.

                I find a proposal that we should allocate Cabinet positions rigidly by Gender, as you seem to support to be at least as “artififical and daft ” as any other rule of its ilk. It just happens to be one that you don’t approve of.
                Anything other than pure ability is artificial and arbitrary isn’t it?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  If you believe that why are you excusing privilege as a measure?

                  • alwyn

                    “you excusing privilege”
                    Where am I doing that? I don’t understand what you mean by this comment.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      At the moment men are riding on gender bias and privilege, not ‘pure ability’. It limits the talent pool.

          • alwyn

            “someone over 70 shouldn’t be there”
            No, no. I said that people UNDER 70 shouldn’t be there.
            It isn’t meant as a serious view though. There is an argument that age brings experience I suppose but I’m not sure it really applies.

            As far as sex goes as a qualification I suspect that there are more men than women MPs mostly because a smaller proportion of women want the job. I remember a proposal in the US that anyone who wanted to be President should be automatically disqualified as being emotionally unstable.

            Oh that a few more would take Sherman’s approach.
            “”I hereby state, and mean all that I say, that I never have been and never will be a candidate for President; that if nominated by either party, I should peremptorily decline; and even if unanimously elected I should decline to serve.”

            • Crashcaart

              I do think a quota is not the right way to go about it, I don’t see any harm in parties trying to identify people based on a much wider variety of skill sets adn then try and grow and mentor them into politics.

              • alwyn

                Now that I do approve of. A mix of people are to be applauded.
                You might not approve of the individuals but that is what National did with people like Key, Groser and Joyce.

                I do have a problem with the modern trend to getting people in Parliament who have never done anything else in their life though. These are the ones who do degrees in Pol Sci, go into student politics, get a job in the party support offices in Parliament, then get jobs in the PM or a Cabinet Ministers office, get into Parliament and stay there forever.
                It is, so far, more common in the ‘Left” parties in New Zealand but it is spreading. People like Robertson and Hipkins are examples. Little at least did something else in the meantime and got a more useful degree.

                It is getting particularly bad in the Conservative Party in Britain. People like Cameron have done nothing else in their entire life. Those of his ilk are dominating the Cabinet and highly skilled people who did other things before their election are ignored.

          • Bill

            …is unlikely to have the work experience that enables good management of a government department

            And since we manage things by ways that are informed by (that ‘P’ word again), then it’s implied that anyone seeking some elevated status or position would have to be cognisant with that particular culture. In effect, they’d have had to have internalised and accepted its ways. At which point the gender balance becomes banal except that it strengthens and nomalises to an ever greater degree (that “P” word again).

            But then, that’s one of the age old arguments between liberal feminism and anarcho feminism.

            • weka

              and some argue that since we’re all products of the patriarchy none of us can operate outside the patriarchy 😉

              As you probably know, I’m all for reforming parliament in whatever ways we can so that we have more chance of doing the real work and change beyond that. I don’t for instance believe that the GP gender equity policy, or if parliament adopted such a policy, would enable the patriarchy except to the extent that the people there were unaware of it. Thank god for feminism then. Which is why I disagree with my first sentence above.

    • Hi alwyn,

      The one relevant difference between age and gender (in terms of the analogy you present) is that a lack of full age diversity in cabinet does not discriminate against individual citizens because we (almost) all traverse the decades you’ve listed.

      No-one misses out by virtue of being 20 years old all their life.

      For that reason, I’m less surprised that young people are under-represented in, for example, the Fortune 500 rich list or in nation state level cabinet positions than I am by women being under-represented in those same positions.

      Most things that we accumulate (wealth, knowledge, skills, etc.) take time to accumulate to any great degree (unless we win the lottery when it comes to wealth).

      That’s not to say that I don’t support people of all ages being able to gain positions of public responsibility and I certainly support people of (almost) all ages having a direct say in collective decisions, especially those that directly affect them.

      The lack of women in leading political roles does surprise me, as I said. It’s especially surprising if, as some suggest, the route to those positions is laid with meritocratic paving stones. I struggle to think of a theory that explains why women are either less desirous of having some say over our (and their) collective destiny than are men or that women are systematically less capable of developing and gaining the skills required to take on those leadership positions.

      A simpler theory, and one backed up by research is that women actually have just the traits required to be successful leaders but that our perceptions of what makes for a successful leader are quite ‘masculinist’ (‘strong’, ‘swaggering’, ‘self-confident’, etc.).

      That is, women may well make as good – or even more successful – leaders as men but they don’t possess the characteristics required for the rest of us to make them leaders.

      Our bad.

  4. vaughan little 4

    if you want to be terrified, put beauty at the heart of your politics.

  5. Ad 5

    I don’t think the sky would fall in.
    Why not?

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      The sky might not “fall in”, but we might end up with a situation where people who have better skills or are more suited to the job, are passed by for the position due to a need to fill a quota.

      How significant a problem this is, is very debatable and incredibly hard to quantify.

      • weka 5.1.1

        It’s possible, but only if parties don’t make an effort to address why there is a gender issue. If all they do is appoint a 50/50 mix and they don’t also have policies in place that redress the inherent bias towards men become MPs more than women, then there might be a problem. I gave an explanation above about the GP list and how they also make sure that they have good people coming through i.e. they have a pool of talented women because they make sure that talented women are sought, encouraged etc.

        • Lanthanide

          Does the extra resources the GP use attract and retain women MPs pay off?

          Would the GP be more successful if they used those resources elsewhere?

          • arkie

            It clearly does pay off, the GP is packed full of talented and passionate representatives.

            By what metric do you measure ‘success’? And is that success worth dismantling a core aspect of their party policy? I would argue that their success is to stand firm to principles in the face of these sort of arguments.

            • Lanthanide

              Are you suggesting that if they didn’t have women in the party, it wouldn’t be packed full of talented and passionate representatives?

              • McFlock

                Probably not to the same extent.

                I think that working in an environment with diverse colleagues helps find a broader range of solutions, better ways of doing things, and makes it easier to state your opinion if it’s different to the group’s.

                That’s just my personal experience of different workplaces: the less diverse ones were still dedicated, but there were more conceptual blank areas when it came to problem solving and convention trumped originality.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Thanks McFlock – I’ve been trying to figure out how to articulate that and now I don’t have to.

                  Well put.

            • Mike S

              In terms of a political party surely you measure success in the percentage of votes the party receives.

          • weka

            Does the extra resources the GP use attract and retain women MPs pay off?

            Maybe they don’t need to use ‘extra’ resources because gender equity is built into their processes and structures so it happens naturally. They probably had to use extra resources to set that up. As Arkie points out, the GP doesn’t seem to have a problem with talent, not IMO good women MPs, so I’d say yes, it pays off.

            Would the GP be more successful if they used those resources elsewhere?

            More successful at what?

            • Lanthanide

              “More successful at what?’

              Any of their own metrics they use to judge their success on. I would guess that one of those is “seats in parliament”.

              • weka

                Do you think the GP should give up core values in order to get more seats?

                • Lanthanide

                  Depends if they want a chance to effectively implement their vision, or just sit on the sidelines.

                  • weka

                    It’s an old argument, but my view is that the GP know what’s best for them. I also think that if they backtracked on their gender equity policy (I bet it’s cheaper to have one leader for instance) that they would lose members, activists and voters.

                    • Lanthanide

                      But that same rigorous adherence to that policy may also prevent them from truly breaking into the mainstream and becoming a 30%+ party.

                      Of course, society should change and adapt to the Greens way of doing things. And of course if people don’t actually advocate and enact change themselves, it won’t happen.

                      I guess it boils down to being impossible to quantify this sort of stuff in any real objective fashion, so might as well just go with ‘whats right’ and suffer any consequences – and benefits – in the process.

                    • weka

                      One of the reasons I vote Green is because they have core values that determine action. If that were to change substantially, I’d resign my membership. So I think it’s a moot point. If they changed their gender internal policy they’d face massive resistance from the rest of the party. In fact I can’t even think who ‘they’ might be because such a thing would need very wide support and I just can’t see how that could happen.

                      It’s also part of the GP kaupapa to see change not power. They may very well be better off having less MPs but demonstrating good principles like the gender one.

      • Tracey 5.1.2

        We already have peolple with greater experience and exprtise being passed over due to an unspoken and largely unacknowledge quota system. Its the “i am more comfortable hiring people like me ” quota system that many dont know they are using.

      • RedBaronCV 5.1.3

        Currently plenty of people “who have better skills or are more suited to the job, are passed by for the position” are being passed over for positions so why attack quota’s in that way.

    • Bill 5.2

      Basically the beginning and end of the whole debate right there Ad.

  6. Chrys Berryman 6

    …..if the system was based on merit,we’d have women holding down 80% of the top jobs in the country…….at the moment its an old boys network deciding top job placements based on what elitist school you attended…….

    • alwyn 6.1

      Do you have any evidence at all for the statement that
      ” top job placements based on what elitist school you attended…….”?

      That is certainly due in Britain, where a Public School seems to be the norm for about a third of MPs from all parties, but I don’t see anything that justifies the claim being true for New Zealand politicians.

  7. “Because it’s 2015”

    I’m confused – is 2015 the International Year Of The Equal-Number-Of-Men-And-Women-in-Cabinet or something?

  8. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    Good for Trudeau.

  9. sabine 9

    not sure how to post a picture, but this one says more then a thousand words.

    half of our minister are women
    half of our minister are men
    and the minister of transport is a fucking astronaut
    and one is openly ginger

  10. Henry Filth 10

    Men are just more corrupt, and thus more likely to employ others from the same school/club/whatever.

    Exacerbated by the fact that New Zealand has a really small talent pool

  11. greywarshark 11

    How Yes Minister thought about the male/female gap in higher positions.

  12. Drowsy M. Kram 12

    “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
    ― Harry S. Truman

    Men, Women, and Ghosts in Science

    • Lara 12.1

      Yes, we’re different.

      Historically, and for too many people currently, that difference has been interpreted as women aren’t as good as men, men are better. So leave women to the things they do well (having babies and making sammiches) and leave men to the important things like work and running the country.

      But we’re just different. Not better, not worse, just different.

  13. Foreign waka 13

    The discussion seem to imply that gender balance is an issue that needs to be addressed from the top down. But it isn’t. The difference is being made in the upbringing and education of the kids in the same way as smoking once was seen as cool (50’s ?) and now it is viewed as yuck (for the lack of a better word). Not that I propose that there only can be a black and white experience, grey shades are preferable.
    Many influences shape a person and it is getting more and more difficult to change the mind on a subject as one gets older. Therefore, would it not stand to reason that the experience in school life, the music industry, fashion and sport are the mind sharpers and hence the “bottom up” game changer?
    In all of that balance is the key.
    Just one example: why would it be that a mother that likes to be just that has in many cases a feeling that she is not contributing to society (and yet she absolutely is)? Is this because the measure of success is pegged against values that are based almost entirely on acquisitions. A trait from a tribal time where it was so important for the survival of the group. Women were not part of that (hunting, trading, politics, etc) and to some extent still aren’t. This expresses itself on issues of “power” sharing, pay equity and the value structure of the “civil maintenance” work women do. Too tedious for the so important men of this world.
    There is nothing left to hunt other then money and property to the detriment of the whole society, why would a women want to participate in that? Most women who enter the fray like to think that they can change this. Whether they succeed is a different story.

  14. Lara 14

    I watched this conversation for a while, not wanting to get into something like this. But I must say that apart from a very few pretty horrid comments overall this discussion has improved my perception of fellow human beings. Mostly polite and focussing on facts, not so much name calling.

    There’s a big problem with even discussing topics of sexism online. The virulent misogyny on display over time has the effect of pushing out those who are affected by it the most. Its hard to join a discussion on the topic when you know you’ll have to argue the basics every single time and be subjected to hatred directed at you personally.

    And so the discussion loses many important voices over time. Only those with enormous energy and thick skins stay.

    The trolls win.

    But I’m heartened to see a relatively civilised discussion of an issue of sexism here at TS. Thank you.

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