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.


Did you see the one about . . .

October 6, 2009

Ten Tiny Green MPs  at Opinionated Mummy. While you’re there you might also be interested in bolstering union membership oops I mean education.

Marching Girls at Quote Unquote.

92 and No 1 at Inquiring Mind where Adam Smith brings back Vera Lynn.

Moments of enculturation (10) at In A Strange Land (Arachnophobics should not go there).

We saw a real live island at Laughy Kate where kids say the darndest things.

Heart Hit  at Macdoctor who warns of the dangers of energy drinks.

Metaphors and unravelling  at Offsetting Behaviour which looks at the lack of cultural referents.

Top 10 cures for the blog squirms at Not PC – onw hat to do when you get bloggers’ block.

Capitalism needs to lift its game at Karl du Fresne.

Sexual Assaults where Kiwiblog finds some useful research fromt he Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Worst excesses of welfare UK & NZ parallels at Lindsay Mitchell.

Labour rorting taxpayers too at Gotcha where Whaleoil looks at who’s renting what to whom.

And :

Welcome back from maternity leave to Farmgirl – mother and daughter both well.

And:

Welcome to Sciblogs  NZ”s largest science network  ( Hat tip Open Parachute)


What’s holding them back?

May 22, 2009

The statistics supporting the business case for having women on company boards  are compelling:

For companies in the top 25% (of highest women’s representation on the board) the return on equity was 53% higher; return on sales 42% higher; and return on invested capital is 66% higher than companies in the bottom quartile.

Of course statistics tell only part of the story – it’s possible that these companies performed better in spite of the women on the board rather than because of them.

It’s also possible that having women on a board is a sign of the intelligence and foresightedness which results in a well run and high performing company.

But regardless of the story behind those stats it does seem strange that women make up 46% of the New Zealand workforce but hold only 8.65% of directorships on the NZX top 100. Just 45 women hold 54  of the 624 board positions available and 60 of the top 100 boards have n0 female directors.

That’s been recognised by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, The Institute of Directors and Business NZ who launched a joint initiative last night to promote the economic benefits of having more women on boards.

A lot of women are actively involved in private rural businesses. Many farms are husband and wife partnerships, so are a lot of the small businesses which support farming and Rural Women’s Enterprising Rural Woman Award highlighted some of the successful rural businesses run by women.

There are plenty of urban business women too so it’s not lack of skills and experience which is holding them back.

The April edition of Next magazine opened a story on the issue with this:

The chairman of a large Kiwi agricultural company is asked why there aren’t any women on his corporate board.

“There’s no place for sheilas in this conservative, provincial boardroom, apart from making the tea,” is his gobsmacking response.

I’d hope that attitudes have changed for the better since this comment was made seven years ago but that still hasn’t translated into an increase in female directors.

What’s holding them back?

Are women choosing not to put themselves forward or  are they not being accepted when they do because, regardless of qualifications and experience, having a y chromosome makes some candidates for directorships and management more equal than others?

P.S.

The Hand Mirror posted on the MWF/ID/BNZ joint initiative when it was first announced.


RIP Rural Affairs Ministry

November 18, 2008

Rural Women president Margaret Chapman is upset that the Ministry of Rural Affairs is to be axed.

Rural issues extend well beyond agriculture, and in the past the Minister of Rural Affairs has had an important role to play in monitoring and overseeing a wide range of policies affecting rural communities.

 

“The Minister of Rural Affairs has had an over-arching role, ensuring the rural perspective was factored into health, education, transport, power and land access policies, to name a few,” says RWNZ National President, Margaret Chapman.  “Rural Women New Zealand has also worked with the Ministry to develop a rural impact assessment tool to ‘rural-proof’ government policy.”

 

Absorbing the Rural Affairs role into the Ministry of Agriculture threatens to dilute its effectiveness and lead to policies that fail to take into account broader rural needs at a time when vibrant agricultural businesses and service industries rely on strong communities to support them.

 

“It is vital to provide for the needs of the rural workforce to continue to grow this important sector in the New Zealand economy,” says Ms Chapman.

I agree that rural issues extend well beyond agriculture but we don’t need a separate Ministry with all the associated costs to recognise that.

The Ministry may have ensured the rural perspective was factored into many policies. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have been anyway or that the Ministry of Agriculture won’t be at least as effective an advocate on rural issues.

And the rationalisation needn’t stop with Rural Affairs.

Kiwi Polemicist has a list of 60 Ministries. That seems excessive so given the dire economic outlook a cull would be in order.

Women’s Affairs, Senior Citizens and Youth Affairs would be good places to start, not because there aren’t issues which affect people in these groups, but I don’t believe they need separate ministries to address them.

I’d also be tempted to axe the Ministry of Disability Issues or merge it with Health.

The then Minister of Social Welfare, Roger Sowrey, was asked about a separate ministry of disabilities at an IHC conference in the late 1980s. He replied that while a dedicated Ministry ensured that an area received attention it also provided other Ministries with an excuse to ignore the issues because they were another Ministry’s business.

That’s a valid point. All Ministries should have regard for the affect their policies on everyone and if they did we’d get better policy at a lower cost.


Time for a cull

May 23, 2008

When feed is getting short, sensible farmers do a bit of culling. In light of comments by Fran O, Sullivan, Colin James, John Armstrong, and Rod Emmerson’s cartoon that Cullen is leaving the paddock bare, where should an incoming Government, in whatever form that might take, start its cull?

 

National has said it will not increase the number of core bureaucrats. I’d go further and get rid of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Families Commission altogether.

 

Welfare may be the only way to assist low income families but it’s ridiculous to turn those on the upper tax rate into beneficiaries so Working for Families would be adjusted.

 

 Oh, and any position which has a job description in anything but the plainest of English  would go too.

But of course I’m not trying to get elected nor am I courting coalition partners.


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