Why does gender matter?

The announcment that Marion van der Goes has been appointed  Otago’s new Department of Conservation conservator makes much of the fact that she’s the first woman to hold that role in the province and only the second in New Zealand.

She appears to be well qualified for the job and I wish her well in it.

But being female or male isn’t important in this role and it’s illegal to discriminate on the grounds of gender.

Does the fact a woman gets a particular job is newsworthy mean that legal equality hasn’t translated into real equality?

Or is it time to stop the fuss about women’s appointments because all it does is reinforce the idea there’s something out of the ordinary about ordinary appointments just because a woman gets it?

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