15 April 2010

On Gender Equality at Workplace


Let me make myself clear first in case someone suspects I’m a man: I hate that when women are paid less than men for the same kind of work. I hate that when people don’t take young women seriously because they bother to dress and groom nicely for work (to look “professional” somehow means you have to desexualize yourself by wearing dark trouser suits and trimming your hair short, or at least putting it up). I also hate that when senior male executives make use of their position to pressurize their junior female colleagues into contributing to their sexual rejuvenation, be it faking laughs for their lame jokes (Ha-ha-ha), an “innocent” dinner for two or something more. And thanks to my career confidence, I’m always able to put up an indifferent blank face to such kind of invitations. Life is too short to worry about whether someone has crossed the line.

However, to assess gender equality by way of counting the number of men and women in certain industry, or in certain level of management, often becomes a misplacement of fact and value judgment. Take the construction industry for example, it’s a global phenomenon that male construction workers and engineers are far more than their female counterparts. Does it mean the industry has been barring equally qualified women from the industry because of their sex? What about it’s just a fact? Just a fact that qualified women for construction work happen to be less than men. Same applies to scientists and footballers. Feminists’ approach to place value judgment on the head count and conclude that males have been dominating the industry and scaring off women is like saying the drawing machine of Mark Six favours the particular 6 numbers and discriminates against the other 43.

In addition, what about women are just not that into certain industries, instead of being dominated or suppressed or enslaved by patriarchy as claimed by feminists? Take judges as an example. The UK has been making effort to increase the number of female judges in higher courts but the result was less than promising. While people are still blaming the old boys’ network within the system, research found that women just do not fancy the job. They prefer the independence of being a self-employed barrister and dread handling bureaucracy. I suppose the same applies to the politics industry. The attractiveness of hanging out with Long Hair, staying awake to Stephen Lam’s speech and holding a smiling mask to Chinese officials is as depressing as having a sugar-free brownie.

Feminists may argue that even women are nowadays given equal opportunities in employment, there are barriers for them to rise to the top, mostly because they are held back by the traditional role of childbearing. If women have a choice and decide to choose family over career, is there anything wrong? That the idea is not as trendy as Sex and the City doesn’t mean it yields less value or happiness to the lives of women who embrace that idea. The argument is also based on the misconception that not making it to the Fortune 500 means you don’t have the same social respect. In fact, women not occupying half the list has no relation to their powers in reality, from making strangers to buy them drinks, driving men to work their ass off to keeping the retail industry alive and ruining a golfer’s career.

And let me assure you that the Libertines Pub never intend to be misogynistic just because I'm the only woman among the seven contributers. It just happens to be a product of some bromance among the founders and I just bumped into them and happen to be a woman. In fact, my fellow contributors are all lady-loving gentlemen.

6 comments:

  1. A lot of this insistence on complete gender equality for all professions stems from the belief in the "blank slate"--the idea that there is no such thing as innate human nature and that humans are simply products of their environment. If this is true, then we should expect that all differences between men and women are the products of socialization. But the blank slate idea has been pretty thoroughly debunked by psychology, biology and linguistics at this point. This has been the case since the 1960s really. So yes, men and women are biologically different. For example, men have more testosterone than women, and testosterone has some pretty predictable behavorial consequences (more aggression, seeking high-status, high spatial ability and low verbal ability). This helps explain why there are more men than women in certain fields that require aggression, spatial intelligence and political power.

    I personally think the world needs more women in politics though, so I'm not opposed to attempts to artificially increase the number of women in politics (we could use a lower level of aggression in politics).

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  2. Wes, like your last paragraph of comment!

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  3. Back when I was in college I used to hear about scholarships and prizes that were 'women only', to encourage women to study and excel in some field or profession. As I have a penis, that automatically disqualified me. In the end I got something anyway (not by cutting my penis off, obviously).

    Are there any professions where women greatly outnumber men? I'd like to see 'men only' scholarships and prizes for those.

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  4. (nod nod) agree. if more women take part in politics, wars will be cut down by half immediately. Sadly, people only focus on how politicians' wives dress and when there's one female politician who looks a bit more feminine than hillary clinton, they'll try to dig out whether she was once a porn-star or how her lipstick looks bad on her.

    'Men Only' Scholarship & Prizes:
    International Studies on Anti-Porn Movement
    Lifetime Achievement Award for Treating Women Like Princesses
    Best Actor in The Vagina Monologues
    Gold Medal for Men's Pole Dancing in 2028 Olympics

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  5. Wesley and Bambi,

    Though women may be less aggressive in politics, I am not really sure whether increasing the number of women in politics is a good thing. They are just not quite suitable for such a grim and nasty business as politics! And it's equally hard to say whether wars will be cut down by half "immediately". Women are just too emotionally unpredictable!

    W

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  6. to show you how unpredictable i am: I HATE YOU!!! >_<

    it's because we're "emotional" or in better words, "more compassionate", we just dont want to see any children, women and men dead no matter they're civilians or solders, which countries they belong to or which political stance they're having. men are just so capable to find justfications for killing.

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