Gender equality, or perhaps the lack of it, has been the subject of much interest for the past few years, and rightly so too.
In fact, just last week, Metro reported that, on average, there is a difference of 17.9% in the average earnings of male and female workers – meaning that, as a direct result of this disparity, women are effectively working for free for two months out of the year.
Even widely respected organisations such as the BBC, which is routinely presumed to be at the very pinnacle of political correctness, were previously caught red-handed having created an environment where women were not seen to have been compensated appropriately for their contributions in comparison to their male counterparts.
As a result of claims like this, it has become impossible to ignore the fact that, for many years, women have been treated unfairly in businesses of all sizes and across a broad range of industries up and down the country.
What’s more, while there’s no doubt that the increased awareness and regulation around this topic is a well-overdue development, I can’t help but feel that, rather than simply creating an even playing field for all, we have instead put the wheels of a rather different bias in motion.
Putting the world to rights
Naturally, as a female myself, I find it outrageous that women have been treated as second rate employees for so long. After all, it really should go without saying that an equally qualified and committed female deserves to be paid the same as a male who, as far as I can see, brings nothing extra to the role.
However, perhaps somewhat controversially, as a strong supporter of equal opportunities, I also support the same for men – a sentiment that seems to have been lost in the new-found wave of feminism which reprimands any man who dares to have an opinion on the matter at all.
Of course, a subject as delicate and emotive as this, deserves a certain level of tact, awareness and consideration – it certainly shouldn’t become a platform for misogynistic views to be aired; however, that certainly doesn’t mean that any conflicting opinion is wrong.
In fact, healthy debate where both men and women are encouraged to share their views, could actually be the key to ensuring that equality is more widely acknowledged and valued by all – rather than a subject which creates a ‘them and us’ divide between the sexes.
Discrimination, but with a positive spin
It seems ironic that, as part of achieving the equality that women have rightly deserved for so long, positive discrimination is one of the suggested ways in which females are to be supported into harder to enter industries, and more senior board level jobs.
There’s no doubt that helping women to break through the barriers and prove themselves as worthy of higher-level roles is, in theory, a good ‘idea’ which will begin to change the culture of organisations that are typically male. Yet, the whole concept, once again, puts women on the back foot as it fosters the notion that women aren’t able to achieve on their own merit.
My personal view is that I want to achieve through hard work, dedication and a knowledge that whatever I accomplish in life comes as a result of my determination, attitude and abilities – not as a by-product of my biological attributes.
Of course, I very much support the empowerment of women (and men for that matter) but I’d rather make my own way there, thank you very much.