Are feminists getting in the way?

by John Darvall

So it’s ‘a land of hope and Tory’ or ‘Britain, we can do better than this’. Is it me or is there more than a hint of blue versus red coming up on the horizon? Might this get you and I involved in the debate about which way we want to country to go after May 2015?

The debate I had on my radio programme this week about women in politics being so poorly represented was very interesting. The facts are stark. In Parliament there are just 146 female MP’s out of 650 and in two councils in the West women struggle to reach 25% of total councillors. And all of this is against the backdrop of the vote for women being 100 not out, equality legislation being in place for almost 40 years and women making up 51% of the population.

Something is wrong.

Is it that it is a ‘man’s world’, white, middle class and women can’t break through that often discussed and deployed glass ceiling? That is just too easy an excuse and frankly insulting to women, and to men. The argument that men employ in their own image is dated, tired and will never win against the reality of women achieving what they feel they want to achieve. If it really is that simple the courts would be full as the equality laws are there to protect women and men too.

There are fundamental differences between the sexes (apart from the obvious) and rather than trying to constantly seek sexual parity, those very differences should be encouraged, celebrated, nurtured and used for the benefit of all. Rather than the ‘ists’ demanding the same rights and, by default, the same opportunities, maybe we should all use ALL our gender differences and celebrate those differences to encourage women to take part in politics, business or the community. Its culture, not sex and culture is the responsibility of both sexes.

One thing for certain is that ‘having it all’ is not an option as it will never work. The human condition is that the more you have the more you want, so whether you are a man or a woman you will never be happy.

A real difference that comes up again and again is that men ‘do’ while women think and then ‘do’. You see this with instructions for making something. Men will invariably just crack on and make it happen while women will read the instructions and then make it happen. The result is the same, mostly, but women consider the result and the route before embarking more than men.

The constant men versus women feminist charge of ‘it’s not good enough’ and ‘something must be done’ never really deals with the many ‘whys’ and fails to appeal the majority who feel ‘I’m all right thanks, my gender is not an issue to me so leave me alone, please’. Are women who want to be mothers and stay at home doing that most vital role wrong, letting down the sisterhood? Men can do that role too. I would love the chance.

The biggest danger of all is that someone decides to set a target or a quota or we end up with positive discrimination for women. That just makes the situation worse for everyone, creates resentment and perpetuates ‘the fight’ the ‘ists’ love to have. And positive discrimination is still discrimination, and that is wrong for all those who are excluded.

There is one more thing that may upset feminists. Some women, maybe the majority of women just don’t want to be part of the equality world because they rather like the world they have.Does that make them wrong? Feminism, which I fully support, has given women many valuable things that they wouldn’t otherwise have, but to challenge women that they are not doing enough and still blaming men for not allowing them to do it is just not good enough, a bit like not cleaning behind the fridge.