Loo queues discriminate

January 25, 2020

Women have won many battles for equality but we’re still waiting to win the loo-queue one:

You’re taking the piss, right? Was my friend’s response to my suggestion that women’s access to toilets at concerts was an issue.

When was the last time he had to rush out at half time and jiggle about in the never-ending queue trying not to think of running water?

Never, I bet.

But fifty nine per cent of women report having to regularly wait to use the toilet in public, compared with just 11 per cent of men.

The only time I’ve found loo queues for men longer than those for women is the members’ stand at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin and the stadiums for World Cup games in Japan.

At the latter, the men’s queue at half-time zig-zagged from the entrance to the loo, up the stairs and along from there to people holding signs saying end of toilet queue.

 

At any other public venue I’ve been to there’s always a much longer queue for women’s loos than men’s.

A quick and entirely unscientific survey, of loos at public venues provides the reason – men’s loos have both urinals and pans and women’s loos have only pans and usually the same number as the men’s.

Given women take longer that’s always going to result in longer queues for them.

The answer?

Unisex loos might help though I’m not a fan of them, I’d prefer the simpler one of more loos for women.

 


Why wouldn’t the Herald print this?

October 17, 2019

Speak Up for Women has the column by Rachel Stewart the NZ Herald wouldn’t print:

It seems far-fetched that the mere hiring of a Massey University venue by a feminist organisation could cause so much indignation and rage, but these are not typical times.

A bunch of females getting together within a public space to discuss the issues currently affecting them is far from new, and very far from radical.

Yet, the idea that ‘Feminism 2020’ would dare to congregate at a venue on Massey’s Wellington campus saw a number of students stage a sit-in, which culminated in the handing over of a petition calling on the university to cancel the event.

What is so threatening about women coming together and talking? According to the protestors and petitioners, the organisers of the event – Speak Up for Women – are essentially devil incarnates.

Petition organiser Charlie Myer said the university shouldn’t be “facilitating this kind of discussion”. Feminism 2020 “could have [the event] anywhere” but it wasn’t appropriate for them to hold it at a university, which was supposed to support transgender students.”

Last time I looked universities were required to respect and uphold the quaint, old-fashioned tenet of free speech too. And Massey has, thus far, held out against the pressure of every thrown guilt trip known to mankind. You know, we don’t feel “safe”.

Myer also disputed the group was feminist and simply meeting to discuss women’s issues. “If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism.”

Don’t you just love it when men tell women what feminism actually is? I find it adorable. Like a possum in my pear tree. So endearing.

Another endearing move was to then see the spokesperson for diversity and inclusion accreditation business Rainbow Tick Martin King say that if Massey did not cancel the event it was likely it would trigger a review of its accreditation.

The spectre of losing their Rainbow Tick must be downright scary for them. I mean, since students are now their financial customers, Massey naturally wants to keep the client happy at all costs.

But back to ‘Speak Up For Women’ and their apparently devilish ways. Why do some students so feverishly want them cancelled lest they be “harmed” by their words? Of course, you’d think simply not attending would put paid to that, but I’m being far too logical.

No. These students believe that no one should be allowed to discuss, debate, or hear the reasons why many women are concerned about an amendment (currently on hold) to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Bill that would allow a person to change their legal gender by simply signing a declaration.

The group formed because they were legitimately concerned the amendment would prevent women from excluding men from changing rooms, bathrooms, women’s prisons, women’s shelters and any other women and girls-only space. In a nutshell, they don’t agree that trans women are women just because they say they are.

The group supports the current law, which allows a person to change the sex on their birth certificate if they go through certain steps – specifically applying in writing to the Court and obtaining a medical sign-off from a doctor.

They also make it clear they support the rights of transgender people to live without violence and discrimination.

However they don’t agree that trans women should be allowed to compete against natal females in sport. In their view, it’s not a level playing field.

Now, what’s so heinous about that? Why does holding such views mean they should be de-platformed, cancelled, and marginalised?

Eerily, many of the organisers and some of the speakers are lesbian so why would the ‘L’ part of the LGBTQ be considered such a threat to organisations such as Rainbow Tick? Is the imperative of ‘diversity’ no longer extended to lesbians? Or feminists – regardless of their sexual preferences? Good ol’ intersectionalism strikes again! It’s a conundrum.

And therein lies the problem with intersectionalism. The manic race to win the title of ‘most oppressed and marginalised group’ sets up a spiralling vortex of ever-tightening circles of meaninglessness.

Will there be protests if the event goes ahead? Will the protestors consist mainly of male activists telling those women to shut up? Because that’s the rub for me. Seeing men shouting women down via megaphone, rattling windows, banging doors and generally screaming at them, reminds me why I’m a feminist all over again.

Tactics like these are being employed in Britain and the U.S. and where they go, we tend to go. If similar methods are on show at the ‘Feminism 2020’ event, it’ll be quite the statement.

Ask yourself this.

Why is it that some men are angry, abusive, and disruptive around such incredibly important issues to some women? What’s driving their need to shut women up? Why is free speech good for the gander, but not so welcome from the goose?

When did an open discussion by women about women’s rights become so threatening?

Actually, more to the point, when didn’t it?

What is in here that would stop it being published?

No-one is being defamed.

No-one is being incited to harm anyone or do anything illegal.

It’s a point of view with which some may agree or disagree, in part or in whole.

Why wouldn’t the Herald publish it?

 


Celebrating women in farming

March 8, 2019

Fonterra is marking International Women’s Day  by celebrating some of the cooperative’s farmers:

International Women’s Day is all about celebrating the achievements of women and also reflecting on how individuals, organisations and society as a whole can advance gender equality

We’re taking the opportunity to highlight just a few of the women who are making a difference in dairy. The theme in 2019 is ‘Balance for Better.’

One of the ways Fonterra has shown its commitment to promoting gender balance is by getting the Gender Tick, and being among the first New Zealand businesses to do so. . . 

You can read more about them by clicking the link above, but here’s a snap shot:


Do as they say not as they do

July 9, 2018

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter wants more women on boards.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting but this sounds more like a warning:

. . .CORIN Yeah. But are you saying that some of those men have got into that position because they were white men?

JULIE ANNE Well, I think the reason there’s not diversity on boards is because we haven’t actively sought to overturn the status quo, which is the result of historic discrimination and bias and unconscious bias. So we just have to make an active effort to find those talented people. And through attrition, it can happen. You can replace people. I think there’s a role for men to play in terms of identifying people they can mentor and bring on to boards and champion that diversity. And so the key question is, you know, who is going to be responsible for this? And ultimately, the private sector is responsible for making those changes.

CORIN But what you’re saying is that they are going to have to get there themselves. You’re not going to force them to do it. Because that’s the point that I’m trying to make, which is, you know, you are going to get some resistance there. And are you willing to do that?

JULIE ANNE Well, the evidence is mixed on how successful that is. So quotas in some places have been successful, but they also can have perverse consequences. So what I would say is let’s start by putting up the challenge. NZX did have a diversity policy that they released. So they’ve said to their members you have to have a diversity policy or explain why not. That has increased diversity to some extent. We’re awaiting the next report, and I’m keen to see where they get to. But yeah, if they’re not going to make progress, if it’s going to sit there at 19%, then we might have to start thinking about ways government can incentivise them.

CORIN Quotas? 

JULIE ANNE Well, I think there’ll be a range of tools available. But we want to do what’s most effective, right? So whatever’s going to be most effective at motivating that change and ensuring that it doesn’t have any perverse consequences. . . 

Motivating sounds more carrot than stick but whether it would be or not isn’t clear.

But it’s what she seems to forget, or not know that is of most concern.

It’s shareholders who elect directors to the boards of companies in the private sector and what she’s saying suggests that the government might come up with something that would interfere with their right to elect who they want.

There is evidence that diversity can make a positive difference to governance but that still doesn’t give government the right to second guess shareholders or usurp their right to elect the directors of their own choosing without government motivation or what could well be regarded as meddling.

Before stirring up the private sector, the Minister should start much closer to home by addressing the gender imbalance in cabinet:

Ardern has released a list of 16 Cabinet ministers and five ministers outside Cabinet, including all 12 MPs on its current front bench.

Just seven of the 21 are women, six of whom are in Cabinet.

That is fewer than National which had nine in total, including seven inside Cabinet – and was often pilloried by Labour for its lack of representation.

In a Newshub debate during the election campaign, Ardern had said she believed Cabinet should be 50/50 female and male and would make it a target.

However, even the five ministers outside Cabinet chosen by Ardern herself rather than by caucus included just one woman – Meka Whaitiri. . . 

Genter’s aim for equal representation would look much less hypocritical if Cabinet didn’t show it’s a case of do as government says, not as it does.


Who’s the PCBU?

August 5, 2016

Just wondering: who is the PCBU (person in charge of a business or undertaking) when a stripper is performing for professional rugby players?

Is it the Chiefs rugby franchise, the person who hired the stripper, all the players who watched her, the stripper’s agent or the stripper herself?

Whoever it is, under the most recent health and safety legislation the PCBU is ultimately responsible for ensuring a workplace is safe but every worker also shares responsibility.

At risk of courting accusations of victim blaming, turning up alone to strip in front of a bunch of drunk young men isn’t taking your safety at work seriously.

It’s a bit like leaving the lights on and doors and windows open when you go out at night. It wouldn’t make it right for someone to burgle your house, but you would be at least naive if not foolhardy to make it so easy for them to do so.

This doesn’t make the reported behaviour of the audience acceptable. An invitation to look is not an invitation to touch and no always means no.

Also wondering: where does misogyny, (the dislike, hatred or mistrust of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women) begin?

Watching strippers doesn’t necessarily demonstrate hatred of women. But people don’t watch them in appreciation of their intellect or personality and I’m not sure if it’s possible to watch a striptease act without being guilty of contempt for and objectification of the stripper.

But where does that misogyny start – watching the stripper, ordering one, being an employer of or agent for one, or being one?

If you’re a stripper are you merely acting on your right to do what you want and earn some money in the process, or are you enabling misogynism?

Also wondering: is there more than a little irony that the story of the rugby players and the stripper coincide with another about actor Orlando Bloom paddle boarding naked and is that objectifying him?


High heels in the High Country 1

August 4, 2014

High Heels in the High Country is CTV’s tribute to women who’ve hung up their high heels and put on their gumboots to earn a living from the land.

The first episode features retiring MP Kate Wilkinson, agribusiness bank manager Pip O’Neill and Penny Zino the creator and owner of Flaxmere Garden.


200m hours

December 24, 2013
Glass ceilings aside, millions of women are prohibited from accomplishing little more than survival. Not because of a lack of ambition, or ability, but because of a lack of safe water and adequate sanitation. Millions of women and children in the developing world spend untold hours daily, collecting water from distant, often polluted sources, then return to their villages carrying their filled 40 pound jerry cans on their backs.
An estimated 200 million hours are spent each day globally collecting water.
Surveys from 45 developing countries show that women and children bear the primary responsibility for water collection in the vast majority of households (76%). This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family members, or attending school.
In A Town Like Alice, the main character Jean uses some of her inheritance to dig a well for the women of the village where the British women prisoners lived because she realised the difference it would make.
That book is fiction and was written more than 60 years ago but there are still all those millions of hours wasted now in real life because people don’t have easy access to water.

21st centruy women should know better

August 4, 2013

What is it with women and the pursuit of “beauty” at the risk of their health?

You could be forgiven for thinking corsets belong in the Victorian era, the 1950s, or burlesque clubs. But a growing number of women are wearing them all day, every day, in a bid to reduce their waist size.

It’s a trend that has got health professionals worried.

Ivy D’Auton is a corset-maker in Auckland. Recently she’s noticed a small number of her Kiwi clients have started wearing them constantly – a practise called ‘waist training’.

“It’s the idea that you can modify your body through wearing corsets – so your waist gradually becomes smaller and smaller,” she says. . .

But doctors say the practise is very dangerous.

“What worries me most is pushing this to a place which isn’t right,” says Dr John Cameron. “It’s like toothpaste. If you squeeze a tube of toothpaste it’s going to come out both ends. Basically you’re trying to push her stomach up into your thorax and the rest goes down south – so you’re trying to change the anatomy.”

That can lead to digestive, breathing, muscular and skeletal problems over time. . .

Women of my mother’s generation squeezed themselves into panty girdles and other misogynist garments which squashed their innards and ruined their abdominal muscles.

Fortunately their daughters knew better but what’s happening to the next generation?

We’re now 13 years into the 21st century.

Girls have been told for decades that they can do anything and they don’t have to conform to stereotypical dictates over how they should look.

Yet still some women are putting their health at risk in the pursuit of an idealised, unnatural and unrealistic idea of beauty.


Next Woman of Year nominations open

July 21, 2012

Next Magazine is advertising for nominations for its third annual Woman of the Year awards.

Prizes will be awarded in six categories:

Arts and Culture: This award celebrates a woman who challenges boundaries and is a creative inspiration to others. She will have distinctive flair and originality. Working in arts or culture, her unique vision will have driven her to achieve a project that has touched the hearts and minds of New Zealanders.

Business and Innovation: This award acknowledges a great commercial and creative thinker. This woman has an entrepreneurial spirit and the confidence to challenge boundaries and conventional ideas balanced by a sense of professional responsibility. Via strategic thinking and leadership, she will have grown a business or developed a product or idea to achieve economic success. She will have created opportunity by both thinking outside the square and playing to her own strengths.

Community: Our society is founded on community-minded individuals who give of themselves to make a difference. This award celebrates one such woman who has contributed to a caring project in an outstanding way by championing a cause and addressing a social need. She will be a woman who has selflessly used her energy to empower others to reach their full potential.

Education: This award celebrates a woman who has made significant contributions to the learning and betterment of others. She will be a creative innovator who is ground breaking in her approach and committed to following her vision of helping people achieve and exceed their full potential.

Health and Science: This is an award for a great innovator in the area of health or science. She will be making ground breaking steps in an arena she is passionate about. She will have used her intellect and vision to discover or implement a new development that benefits the human race.

And Sport: This award pays tribute to a successful coach, sportswoman or administrator who has reached a notable physical goal or milestone. She will have been an inspiration for others along the way, showing mental conviction, physical strength and determination to excel in her chosen field. She will have displayed consistent sportsmanship and have a competitive spirit.

Women who excel in any of these areas are indeed worthy of recognition and they will be inspirational role models.

Last year’s winners were:

Arts and Culture: Jill Marshall, author and publisher
Business: Mai Chen, lawyer
Health and Science: Sue Johnson, Christchurch coroner
Sport: Jayne Parsons, Paralympian
Community: Lesley Elliott, founder of the Sophie Elliott Foundation who was also winner of overall Woman of the Year title.


One’s choice not necessarily another’s

June 23, 2012

My understanding of feminism is that it promotes enabling  women to make choices about their lives.

One  of those choices is to take on the role of primary caregiver for children.

It does the cause, and women, no good when those who manage to combine a career with raising children criticise others who prefer not to:

Mrs Blair, a QC and mother of four, criticised women who “put all their effort into their children” instead of working. Mothers who go out to work are setting a better example for their children, she said

Addressing a gathering of “powerful” women at one of London’s most expensive hotels, Mrs Blair said she was worried that today’s young women are turning their backs on the feminism of their mothers’ generation.

Some women now regard motherhood as an acceptable alternative to a career, Mrs Blair said. Instead, women should strive for both.

One woman’s choice about her and family life  isn’t necessarily another’s.

The criticism is especially galling when it comes from one whose family income gives her and her husband choices about child care and house keeping which many others might not be able to afford.

Her point about the importance of women being self-sufficient is valid, especially in context of her explanation:

Mrs Blair said her view was informed by her own experience of her father abandoning her mother when she was a child. But she insisted that all women should make sure they can provide for themselves: “Even good men could have an accident or die and you’re left holding the baby.

But the promotion of self-sufficiency should be possible without criticising women who choose not to pursue a career while their children are young.

One criticism of feminism is that in making it possible, and acceptable, for women to take on roles  and work which were traditionally the preserve of men  it has devalued traditional female work and roles.

Mrs Blair’s comments add fuel to that fire.


Which century is it?

July 6, 2011

We know she’ll be good because she’d have to be at least 10% better than a man to have got that job.”

That comment ought to have stayed in the 19th or at best early to mid 20th century.

Unfortunately it was made in the 21st – just a couple of weeks ago.


A royal woman’s place is where?

March 22, 2011

When Diana Spencer was engaged to Prince Charles one theory on the differences on their ages was he had to marry someone really young so she’d still be a virgin.

When I read this, I wondered if there’d been any progress for women in the intervening 30 years:

Powerful husband? No problem. Money? Got that too. Clothes, good looks? Ditto. What does the woman who has it all do after her honeymoon? That’s a tough one. . .

. . .  So Middleton’s top tasks are simple come April 30: Rejuvenate the monarchy, end poverty in Britain, have kids, and make sure her marriage is a success.

 Is this an indictment on royalty, perceptions of a woman’s role in it or both?



What were they trying to sell?

October 22, 2010

ANZ took down  billboards  in Auckland and Wellington after a single complaint.

The offending slogan was: “In a perfect world, your son would grow up. And your daughter wouldn’t.”

What does that mean?

What were they trying to sell?

Who was stupid enough to think that was a good phrase to sell it?


Whose culture rules at our place?

October 13, 2010

Respecting other people’s beliefs when you’re on their territory is good manners, but how far should you go to accommodate other people’s beliefs when they’re on your territory?

This is just one of many questions being asked after a request for women who are pregnant or menstruating to stay away from a behind-the-scenes tour of Maori artefacts at Te Papa.

The request is being made to women from regional museums who will be going on a back-of-the-house tour of some of Te Papa’s collections, including the Taonga Maori collection, Te Papa spokeswoman Jane Keig said.

The Taonga Maori collection is not open to the general public and the request does not apply to them.

Ms Keig said the issue was a “cultural consideration” to respect Maori beliefs.

“There are items within that collection that have been used in sacred rituals. That rule is in place with consideration for both the safety of the taonga and the women,” Keig said.

She said there was a belief that each taonga had its own wairua, or spirit, inside it.

“Pregnant women are sacred and the policy is in place to protect women from these objects.”

“If they understand that they can attend at another time [when they are not pregnant or menstruating].”

The idea that the safety of the taonga or women could be compromised if they disregarded the request to stay away defies logic, as many cultural and religious beliefs do. Culture and religion are belief systems not science.

Margaret Mutu, head of Maori Studies at Auckland University, said women should not be offended by the request.

“The reproduction area is extremely powerful and can do damage to things that are not tapu. It’s about the power of women, not about stopping them.”

Mutu said the objects were obviously dangerous and the hapu they came from would have told the museum about how to treat them.

“They are tapu and pregnant or menstruating women are tapu. It would be very unwise to put the two up against each other.”

Mutu said in her hapu, women were also prevented from going onto gardens or fishing areas while tapu.

Many religious and cultural beliefs had a basis in health and safety and in ancient times keeping women who were menstruating out of kitchens and gardens may have been justified on the grounds of hygiene. It’s not so easy to find a reasonable basis for the concerns over pregnant women but even if there was a good reason then it doesn’t stand up in the 21st century.

The idea of taking a week or so off cooking and gardening every month has some appeal and may have worked well when people lived communally. But it’s impractical in modern life because it would rule women out of any work in kitchens and gardens.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson  quite rightly said he didn’t get involved in Te papa’s day to day affairs and he pointed out it was a request not an instruction.

Fair enough, and if the display was on the owner’s property that request should be respected.  But Te Papa is our place, it says so on the logo . In our place, our rules apply and among them are the ones which made women equal citizens.

This issue has led to many posts including:

On the inconvenience of periods and pregnancy at In A Strange Land Cross posted at The Hand Mirror where Julie posted on Tricky balancing act ahead (the comments on all three express a wide variety of views).

Superstition encouraged at Te Papa at NZ Conservative.

Don’t you just love modern cultures? at Credo Quia Absurdum Est.

Cultural twaddle makes us see red at Roar Prawn.

Superstitious bull at Kiwiblog.

Feminism vs multiculturalsim at Lindsay Mitchell.

Here’s a matter worthy of protest action and Margaret Mutu tell us more at Alf Grumble.

Two PC tribes have a spot of culture clash at Oswald Bastable.

Something to do if you’re menstruating  at Dim Post.

Why does Te Papa hate women so much (and other outraged thoughts) – Andrew Geddis at Pundit.

No place for women at our place – at No Right Turn.

PC priorities at Kiwipolitico.

Update:

Cook your own F***ing eggs I’m menstruating at Cactus Kate.

UPDATE 2:

Grandfather’s sword at Bowalley Road.

Te Papa revisted at Dim Post.

We should be encouraging women to come to Te Papa at Alf Grumble.


Increase in women MPs slowed under MMP

September 25, 2010

MMP was supposed to help women enter parliament but has it?

Scrubone has a graph which shows the increase in the number of women MPs has slowed since MMP was introduced:

Pre the 1980s, clearly there was an upward trend for many years followed by some stagnation. But after 1978, numbers of women MPs shot up from 5% to 22%.

After the first MMP election however, something strange happened. The improvement has been much slower. Slower than the pre-MMP, and vastly slower than the 80′s and early 90′s trend. So things are getting better, but slowly – that’s point 1.

Now, think about this. Those big gains were made when all MPs were electorate MPs.

Scrubone also found that not only had the increase in the number of women MPs slowed, it was even slower for electorates.

There’s another, very obvious conclusion that can be taken from exactly the same data. MMP has meant that parties don’t need to take seriously the idea of equality anymore. Why bother to get a wide range of candidates in seats when you can just promote them in the list? That to me is a should be listed as a negative.

So is MMP really better for women’s representation in parliament? I see a reduction in the rate of increase that could hardly be more clear, plus a change in behaviour in that women are pushed from electorates into the list.

Is that really progress?

He’s got graphs to show that too . He worked on percentages so this trend has nothing to do with there being fewer electorate seats since MMP was introduced.

MMP has made electorates bigger geographically which makes them more difficult to serve and much harder to balance work and family responsibilities. That could put women off standing, but women MPs hold  some of the biggest electorates.

Rahui Katene is MP for Te Tai Tonga (161,443 square kilometres), Tariana Turia is MP for Te Tai Hauauru (35,825 sq kms), Jacqui Dean holds Waitaki (34,888 sq km),  Anne Tolley holds East Coast (13,649),  Nanaia Mahuta holds Hauraki-Waikato ( 12,580 sq kms),  Louise Upston holds Taupo (9,101 sq kms), Amy Adams is MP for Selwyn (7,854 sq kms) and Jo Goodhew is MP for Rangitata (6,826 sq kms).

Something which may partly explain why more women are on lists than in electorates is  that only three parties, National, Labour and the Maori Party, hold electorate seats so all Act and Green MPs are list MPs.

But that doesn’t explain why the increase in the number of women in parliament has slowed under MMP.

The may be other factors other than the electoral system which have impacted on the number of women MPs since 1996. But MMP was supposed to make parliament more representative and it hasn’t lived up to that promise when it comes to gender balance.


Mothers shape men

August 29, 2010

Women of our generation have a responsibility to ensure our sons are brought up differently from their fathers because when they grow up the women of their generation will expect more from them.

This was one of the messages from Jenny Shipley, then a new back bench opposition MP, to a Women In Agriculture day in North Otago.

She was talking to a group of educated country women about ensuring their sons mastered domestic skills, respected women and accepted their right to equality.

Her underlying message, that mothers shape men, has been repeated in a very different context by Celia Lashlie:

. . .  It was as I watched her weep and felt her genuine sorrow and grief that I realised, not for the first time, that in some way I had yet to fully understand the mothers of our at-risk children are part of the answer.”  

Lashlie is sometimes angry and often cynical in The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children. . .

It is the third book by the former prison manager who is now a social commentator and agitator.

It is also her last, she says, because now she just wants to get on with the practicalities of finding ways to effectively help disempowered women – and if you do that, you’ll cut down prison rates for men, she says.

. . . One of Lashlie’s key messages, however, is for the women’s prison service.

As of March this year, 496 women were in prison, compared to 8000 or so men. We should lead the world in how we manage these women, she says, “because it is, by and large, the women in prison who are raising the criminals of the next generation”.

I was brought up knowing my father loved and respected my mother; my brothers and I were taught the same values. We all knew that violence and abuse were neither acceptable nor normal and that shaped our expectations of behaviour in our own lives and relationships.

The experiences of most of the women Lashlie works with is very different from that. Violence and abuse are normal for them.

Until and unless they learn it is not, they can not teach their sons to be the loving, caring, responsible people.

Until and unless they learn that they and the people around them have the right to be safe in their homes and communities they can not teach their sons the values which will keep them from violence and crime.

Mothers shape men but shaping good men doesn’t come naturally to those who haven’t experienced loving, caring homes and relationships  themselves. 

They need the knowledge, skills and values to shape themselves and their children into loving, caring, law abiding citizens. Prisons where women are a captive audience and away from the malign influences which are normal to them is a good place to start.

Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog.


Gender job difficulties work both ways

April 30, 2010

Trans Tasman reports the Ministry of Women’s Affairs is seeking tenders for:

a project to explore and develop options enabling it to produce a toolkit to encourage women into traditionally male-dominated trades and trades training. The Ministry aims to improve women’s employment opportunities and choices, including their educational choices, job choices and ongoing training. In 2006, only 1% of all plumbers, electricians, carpenters, builders, fitter and welders, fitter and turners, and motor mechanics were women. Previous work established that the main barrier to women entering trades was women were not exposed to this option and so they didn’t consider it.

 The Ministry may not consider it its business that men’s representation in traditionally female jobs is probably no better.

One unexpected consequence of more dairying in our area  has been a greater number of women involved in farming and farm support.

Many share milkers are partnerships between couples and it’s no longer unusual to have women vets, farm advisors and fertiliser reps.

But it is still not common to find men in what have traditionally been seens as women’s jobs.

Gender discrimination won’t end until society stops regarding particular jobs as men’s or women’s and that will require greater numbers of men in what might have been regarded as women’s jobs as well as more women in what used to be regarded as men’s jobs.

That in turn requires a change of view so that occupations aren’t seen as men’s or women’s but as people’s.


Those were the good old days?

January 19, 2010

This episode of I Love Lucy  was considered pretty forward when it screened 57 years ago today.

It shows attitudes to pregnancy, birth and women which suggest that those weren’t necessarily the good old days.


10 reasons why women should have the vote

September 19, 2009

Over at In A Strange Land Deborah has a list of 10 reasons why the women of New Zealand should have the vote.

They came from a leaflet published by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and include:

4. Because women are less accessible than men to most of the debasing influences now brought to bear upon elections, and by doubling the number of electors to be dealt with, women would make bribery and corruption less effective, as well as more difficult.

5. Because in the quietude of home women are less liable than men to be swayed by mere party feeling, and are inclined to attach great value to uprightness and rectitude of life in a candidate.

6. Because the presence of women at the polling-booth would have a refining and purifying effect.

7. Because the votes of women would add weight and power to the more settled and responsible communities.

8. Because women are endowed with a more constant solicitude for the welfare of the rising generations, thus giving them a more far-reaching concern for something beyond the present moment.

9. Because the admitted physical weakness of women disposes them to exercise more habitual caution, and to feel a deeper interest in the constant preservation of peace, law, and order, and especially in the supremacy of right over might.

How could you argue with that?


Is it because they’re female, successful or both?

September 10, 2009

Trans Tasman makes an interesting observation on Labour MPs’ attitude to National Ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley.

We have noted before Labour’s viscerally venomous attitude towards National Ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley. This goes way beyond the normal tensions of political conflict. Labour MPs – especially their women MPs – appear to find the very existence of Bennett and Education Minister Tolley infuriating. You can almost see the wall of red mist descending over Labour’s front bench every time those two Ministers get up to speak.

 . . . The attitude is actually an odd kind of snobbery. There is an unspoken “how DARE you?!” from Labour’s front bench towards Bennett and Tolley. It is a rage these women, who in Labour’s eyes should be, firstly, on a benefit themselves somewhere and, secondly, loyally supporting Labour as a consequence. They don’t like the fact the two have made rather more of their lives.

This antipathy to National women MPs isn’t new. In her autobiography, Making A Difference, Ruth Richardson wrote:

. . .. . .  Jonathan Hunt, the Chief Opposition Whip, himself a bachelor, had shown both kindness and understanding to me when I was pregnant by promising me a pair . . . But Jonathan had not counted on the cattiness of his female colleagues. Apparently I had failed the political correctness test in their eyes; failed to conform to some sisterhood code of which I knew not.  . . . My pair was withdrawn, much to Jonathan’s abiding embarrassment . . .

Whether it’s because they’re women, successful or both it’s appalling behaviour.

You’d think people who wail about the glass ceiling which keeps women down might practice what they preach.

If we judge them by their actions rather than their words, we could be excused for believing that they are only interested in women having careers if they sing from the same political song sheet as they do.

Trans Tasman is a weekly political and ecnomic newsletter. You can subscribe here.


%d bloggers like this: