herald

Friday 20 October 2017

Fulfilling gender quotas will make all our lives BETter

Hello? Is that the Government? It's 2014 calling.

Just wondering if you missed the Post-it on equality? What's that? You're just working off the same handbook as previous governments?

Is that the same handbook that saw governments of all parties allow the barbaric practise of symphysiotomy continue here until the 1980s?

The same handbook used to run the Magdalene Laundries and mother and baby homes? The same one that saw the work marriage ban in place until 1973?

balance

In a week where the Government was hauled before the human right commission to explain why, for example, women were operated upon wide awake and often screaming, it was deeply disappointing to see the lack of gender balance in the junior ministerial ranks.

The simple fact is, is that if more women were in power, things might be a lot different.

Women often experience life differently. And that experience affects the way we see problems and think about solutions.

Women communicate differently; they listen, encourage dialogue and build consensus. Studies also show that women lead differently than men.

They're more likely to be collaborative, inclusive and team-oriented.

Talk is clearly cheap because every party in this country has 
spouted off aspirational quotes about wanting more women in power and while Sinn Fein and Labour have the best track record of getting women to decision making level, a family snapshot of the Dail still looks like something from the 50s.

It seems the only way we're going to get more women in power is by forcing the gender quotas issue.

You may be against the idea because it initially appears to go against the basic principle of 'equal opportunity' for all.

But if you truly believe that there are as many competent female candidates here as there are competent male candidates, the main reason behind the low representation of women must be structural discrimination.

Quotas are therefore not 
discriminatory in themselves, but merely compensate for 
an already existing discrimination.

You don't just get elected solely because you have the 
xx chromosones. You have to get on to the ballot paper 
first.

That way, voters have the chance to elect both men and women. Therefore freedom of choice is not limited but actually enhanced.

The merit and ability argument is often cited as an argument against quotas. But look closely at that family snapshot of our politicians.

It's hardly a level playing field, is it? Family connections, money or a profile through sport or television. How many got there soley off their own bat?

Another of the reasons cited as to why so few women put themselves forward for election is said to be a lack of female role models in politics. So if 
quotas can get more women elected, more women will follow.

CONCERNED

Ireland is well behind the rest of the world where the 
acceptance and implementation of gender quotas is concerned.

The fact that most of the population is female and just 4 women sitting at cabinet is considered a major milestone, means we are grossly disproportionately represented.

Gender isn't all women 
have to offer. Empowering them isn't about being PC.

It's not about some sort of reverse vengeance on men; righting the wrongs that have been done to women historically.

It's about changing all of our lives for the better.

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