Captain Kirk: I see they’ve created a “Women’s Equality Party”, Spock!
Mr Spock: Illogical, Captain. Surely you must mean either an “Equality Party” or a “Women’s Entitlement Party”
I have never been a member of a political party in my life, nor have I ever been tempted to join one. I would, however, seriously consider joining a party that had, as a serious objective, encouraging genuine equality between men and women.
However, I find the very idea that anyone can form a political party called a “Women’s Equality Party”, quite disturbing. Even more worrying is the fact that it can be given serious and unquestioning publicity in the media. The very name is hypocritical and illogical in the extreme. If you are fighting for the notion of equality between men and women, you might well imagine forming an “Equality Party”, with even-handed policies seeking out and eliminating disadvantages on both sides of the gender fence. On the other hand, you might form a party that is interested only in eliminating disadvantages suffered by women, leaving the men to rot. Surely such a party, whose objective is to make sure that women get the best, and only the best, bits would be better called the “Women’s Entitlement Party”.
Some of their policies, such as shared parental leave, have the potential to be genuinely egalitarian, provided that, in the detail, both parents have a right to take the half the leave and the mother does not have the right to insist on taking all the leave for herself. Other policies are just more of the same old, old ideas based on the principle of women’s entitlement and the well-known fact that misinformation, if repeated often enough, will be accepted as fact by the gullible.
The Gender Pay Gap
I am happy that companies should provide gender pay gap information, but, as I have discussed in another post, such information should be made available on a controlled variable basis, so that experience and ability are taken into account. I haven’t found recent controlled variable analysis for the UK, but in the US, the much-publicised 23 cent gap reduces to just a few cents cents under controlled conditions. This should not be a surprise: many men know from experience that career gaps or career changes affect men’s earning power too. I accept that even a small gap, genuinely attributable directly to gender, should be closed, but it is complete nonsense to suggest that someone who takes a gap of several years should automatically be paid the same as someone who has built up years of relevant experience.
Companies exist to make money, not to socially engineer financial equality between between employees. If a CEO believed that he or she could get the same benefit from a woman more cheaply than from a man, he or she would do it in a flash.
Violence against women
Of course violence against women is wrong, but so is violence against men. Men make up around 70% of the victims of violence in general, and over one-third of the victims of domestic violence, yet they are completely ignored in discussions on the subject. The Women’s Entitlement Party wants yet more refuge places for women, yet there are virtually no refuge places for male victims. Surely an equality-seeking party would want more places for both men and women.
The Women’s Entitlement Party wants women to be free to sell themselves for sex, but wants men to be criminalised for buying. This is like saying that a High Street newsagent can put whatever pornography they want on the shelves, but the customer will be arrested for buying it. Surely a truly equality-seeking party would criminalise both the man and the woman, or, indeed, neither. Forcing women, or men for that matter, to be sex workers should certainly be illegal, but why on earth should a woman be entitled to voluntarily offer sex for money, but a man be criminalised for taking up her offer. Pure, bigoted misandry.
The Women’s Entitlement Party wants 66% of parliamentary candidates to be women. Wow – if ever there was an anti-democratic policy, it is this one. They also want 75% of new peers to be women. Like all quotas, this is unfair to men, and hugely patronising to women. I would be very happy to have equal number of men and women in parliament, but choosing a higher proportion of women from a smaller pool of potential parliamentarians, is not the way to do it. Yes, I know that I have just thought the unthinkable, spoken the unspeakable and written the unwriteable – I do not believe for one minute that as many woman as men are interested in becoming MPs. The same goes for boards, and I can only repeat what I said above. Companies exist to make money. They are not part of a patriarchal plot to tie women to the kitchen sink. If a CEO thought that having more women on the board would increase the profitability of his or her company, men wouldn’t get a look-in.
Thw WEP believes that schools should be forced to use female role models wherever possible and girls should be forced into STEM subjects. When will they realise that sustainable equality is equality of opportunity not equality of outcome.
I apologise to the WEP if I am overestimating the intelligence of schoolgirls here, but I do not believe that there is a single female student in the country today who does not know she has just the same opportunities as a boy. Nevertheless, girls still choose different options, and will continue to do so in the future. I agree that school sex lessons should explain consent, but (sorry, balance raising its ugly head again) I also believe that girls should be taught the importance of sending clear signals, behaving sensibly in potentially dangerous situations, and the enormity of the crime of making a malicious false allegation of rape.
Let’s end the hypocrisy, we either want equality or we don’t. George Orwell would have been proud (or perhaps ashamed) that his famous Animal Farm writing on the wall has been changed to “Both genders are equal, but women are more equal than men”.