By Dorothy Thompson.
In a recent quote from Kathy Lette at the launch of her latest book (you will remember she was the author of ‘Puberty Blues’) ‘After the Blues’ she said: “Mistresses must have been better of last century. Feminism has created equality all right. Woman still get treated like shit, only now they have to pay for it.”
This got me thinking, we have heard in the media for many years about the so-called glass ceiling that seemingly many women face in the business community. Egged on by a populist media cheer squad of commentator after commentator who has sought to either shame business, social and political communities into recognizing what they perceive to be their appalling prejudices, they thunder on. In recent times efforts to force what they see as a balance, they have sort to agitate for measures as dramatic as legislation to regulate the situation where in their view is that males and females are finally equal.
In an effort to level the playing field, our efficient and well-run Australian Government with its usually aplomb and foresight has established an Agency to “sort things out”. It goes under the catchy monogram, “Workplace Gender Equality Agency”. With an annual budget of nigh on $6,000,000, (yes that’s right, six million dollars) funded by you- the all suffering tax payers) who, seek to right the social imbalances as they see them. I can’t help wonder how many homeless, poverty stricken families, could be feed for this sort of money.
On their web site they state:
Workplace gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender.
Australia, along with many countries worldwide, has made significant progress towards gender equality in recent decades, particularly in education, health and female workforce participation.
However, the gender gap in the Australian workforce is still prevalent; women continue to earn less than men, are less likely to advance their careers as far as men, and accumulate less retirement or superannuation savings. At the same time, men have less access to family-friendly policies such as parental leave or flexible working arrangements than women.
The aim of gender equality in the workplace is to achieve broadly equal outcomes for women and men, not necessarily outcomes that are exactly the same for all. To achieve this requires:
- Workplaces to provide equal pay for work of equal or comparable value
- Removal of barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce
- Access to all occupations and industries, including leadership roles, regardless of gender; and
- Elimination of discrimination on the basis of gender, particularly in relation to family and caring responsibilities.
Achieving gender equality is important for workplaces not only because it is ‘fair’ and ‘the right thing to do,’ but because it is also linked to a country’s overall economic performance. Workplace gender equality is associated with:
- Improved national productivity and economic growth
- Increased organisational performance
- Enhanced ability of companies to attract talent and retain employees
- Enhanced organisational reputation.
But does this horrific chasm really exist? Or indeed does a politically correct media with the support of factional special interest groups, keen to promote their own agenda propagate this sorry tail of discrimination and bigotry.
And what ever happened to meritocracy? Just incase you have forgotten what meritocracy means; The Cambridge Dictionary states: “It is a social system, in a society or organization in which people have power because of their abilities not because of their money, sex or social position”.
With no sacred cow too sacred to investigate, we have endeavored to impassionedly seek out the real truth of this most taboo of subjects.
But before we do, I suppose it would behoove us to actually detail what the glass ceiling really claims to be.
“Traditionally, the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. It was very hard, if not impossible, for them to reach upper management positions. No matter how qualified or experienced, they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers”.
(Courtesy of Mind Tools.com)
Is this true; or is it a bit like most things in this world, if you want it, you seek it out, you set your goals, you work hard, and take it.
Is this impossible?
What happened to the woman’s intellectual movement of the 60’s and 70’s? They didn’t need or have access to the now faceless lobbyists, Government busy bodies, keyboard warriors, nor the zeolites that care little about the truth or indeed facts, those who are only interested in their own myopic vision? The pioneers of the sexual revolution, resolute in burning their bras, and marching in demonstration against what they perceived were injustices, demanding meritocracy in society, (championed by Germaine Greer) screaming at any one who stood long enough to listen; “burn all bras”, “Bras are a ludicrous invention” screamed Greer. Woman whose demands for equality manifested their cause in famous Helen Reddy pop song, “I am woman hear me roar”, those who influenced the United Nations to declared the “International Year of Woman” in 1975; where are they now? I just wonder what they would think of the “Workplace Gender Equality Agency”
There are even some woman who take a much harder line than you would expect. In her book “No Glass Ceiling Was Ever Shattered By A Whiner”. Melanie Hope writes.
“Self-empowerment isn’t for wimps. If your life sucks, it’s your fault – but the good news is only you can fix it. Quit whining and start working. You are not a victim!
It doesn’t matter what size, shape, or color you are; how many limbs you have; what city you live in; or what happened to you as a child – if you want to accomplish anything, you must reach a decision that you are going to get over the past and get started on your present.
This book isn’t a hand-holding, fluffy, “you’re OK the way you are” book. This book is self-help with a spine written by someone who’s been there and back again.”
Or indeed outside the media circus we all suffer now, do the truly gifted, and motivated women in business just go about their business, having not noticed the glass ceiling, supposedly holding them back as they climbing to ever greater heights, without the need for media or political hysterical hyperbole or regulations.
Strong words indeed, but to get a true gauge on where this resonates with the future business leaders, I caught up with three very successful young woman in their 30’s, two of whom run their own successful production companies, and the other a media marketing executive.
In Part Two we will hear what they have to say.
If you have a view please write to us so we can publish your unedited thoughts.