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.


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