Let’s have a productive conversation about gender equality

Wouldn’t it be nice to actually have a productive conversation about gender equality. We could have a really productive conversation about gender equality if we could get just a few things straight first. And when I say get just a few things straight I mean let’s finally put to bed once and for all the tropes and misinformation constantly trotted out by radical feminists every time this conversation starts. I’m going to make four points here, then we can talk.

Point 1. 

The patriarchy is dead! It’s true, in fact the patriarchy died a horrible death quite some time ago and this will become more apparent as we go on. No longer is it a mans world. The patriarchy is dead, long live the queen (originally written before the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II RIP).

In fact the only people left in this world who are still trying to keep the patriarchy alive are ironically, feminists. They are on their knees performing CPR trying desperately to breathe life back into the old boy and why? Because without him they have one less blunt instrument with which to beat us around the head. Indeed the entire feminist movement, or at least the modern radical third wave variant of it, is founded on the existence of a patriarchy and the need to dismantle it and thus if the patriarchy ceased to exist then so would the movement. 

But I can assure you, the patriarchy is dead. Let’s move on.

Point 2. 

Several other things often ranted about by feminists ceased to exist along with the patriarchy. For example, glass ceilings. It is indeed true that once upon a time the board room was one big boys club but no more. I mean (at the time of writing) just here in Victoria the current Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner is a woman. The Lord Mayor of Melbourne is a woman. The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner is a woman. Victoria has had a female Chief Commissioner of Police and the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria is a woman and this is just to name a few. 

Nationally there have been not less than seven female state premiers. There are in the vicinity of 80 women in federal parliament. The current President of the Australian Human Rights Commission is a woman. In fact the last three Presidents have all been women. There are numerous female CEO’s and board members in big Australian companies. We have had a female Governor General. The current Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia is a woman. In fact a majority of the High Court justices are now women and a woman has held the top job in the country. So where are these glass ceilings of which you speak?

The fact that these amazing women have been able to work their way into these positions of itself negates any argument that there is such a thing as glass ceilings and requires an explanation for why there are not more women in positions of power that does not simply place the blame on gender discrimination or the existence of a patriarchal conspiracy.

Point 3. 

Another favourite trope regularly trotted out by feminists is the gender pay gap. It is entirely misleading and disingenuous to say that “women are paid less than men for doing the same work” but this is exactly how feminists (and others such as those trying to win votes) put this one forward. It would be far more honest to say, “many women working in the same or similar roles to men will earn less over time because of different choices made by people of different genders”. Following this somewhat more accurate statement we could then explore why this is so but no! Our feminist friends will launch into a rant about socially constructed gender roles which is all part of the patriarchy and completely ignore the possibility that the reasons for these different choices may in fact be biological and have nothing to do with society, construction or the patriarchy. More on this later.

The point is, feminists have this amazing ability to take any issue and find a way to blame it on or argue its cause to be gender inequality. Perhaps one of the best recent examples comes from the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence. According to the Royal Commissions report the main causes of Family Violence are gender inequality and ingrained societal attitudes toward women.

I was more than angry after I read the Commissions report because here was an opportunity, a real opportunity to actually achieve something for victims of Family Violence and to make recommendations that would see a broken, dysfunctional system better protect and serve these victims. Instead this opportunity (and $13 million of tax payers money) was squandered on just another opportunity to further feminist agendas.

Family violence is not caused by gender inequality or socially ingrained attitudes toward women and anyone with any actual knowledge in the field will agree with me. It is far more about the individual perpetrator and not about society. If you are confused as to why I would say such things and why I think Family Violence has nothing to do with gender inequality and societal attitudes, allow me to offer just a few points.

  • The argument that gender inequality and as well the notion of ingrained societal norms and attitudes toward women causes family violence cannot explain why only a small minority of men commit acts of family violence and the vast majority do not. Are not all men members of the same society with the same norms and ingrained attitudes? Are not all men members of the evil patriarchy? If you accept that family violence is only committed by a minority of men then you cannot maintain that the cause is societal.
  • The argument that gender inequality and attitudes toward women causes family violence cannot explain why a significant proportion of family violence is in fact perpetrated against children, both male and female, by both fathers and mothers.
  • The argument that gender inequality and attitudes toward women causes family violence cannot explain why family violence occurs in same sex relationships at very similar rates to those at which it occurs in heterosexual relationships.
  • The argument that gender inequality and attitudes towards women causes family violence cannot explain why a not insignificant proportion of family violence, (probably more than we know), is perpetrated by women against men. Actual figures in this regard are difficult to verify for various reasons but one set of stats we can rely on come from a study on intimate partner homicide that was released in 2016 that found 25%, that’s one in four victims of intimate partner homicide in Australia, are men. Of course this also tells us that women are more often the victims of intimate partner homicide but one in four is not an insignificant number and should not be simply disregarded as the Royal Commission has done. That’s right, the Royal Commission into Family Violence declared that unless you were a male child victim of family violence perpetrated by your father or a male victim in a same sex relationship then family violence being perpetrated against men was such an insignificant issue that it didn’t warrant addressing in the report. Any reasonable thinking person should find this an affront.

Now I could write on this subject for hours but if you take these four points alone, the argument that family violence is the result of gender inequality and ingrained societal attitudes toward women collapses under the weight of logic and simply cannot be sustained.

And as a footnote, of course feminists would argue that most women who kill their intimate partners are acting in self defence. I ask you, do you think Katherine Knight was acting in self defence?

Point 4. 

And this is probably the most important point. Men and women ARE different! They are. They think differently, they are built differently, they have different desires and needs.  Men and women are different to each other (the scientific evidence for this is indisputable by the way) and as a consequence of this they are, generally speaking, each suited to different rolls and there is nothing wrong with that. This is why certain roles or occupations seem to be dominated by one gender. Not because of discrimination, not because of the patriarchy or any other global conspiracy against women but because men and women are different and has anyone else noticed that everything from the family unit to workplaces to society in general just seems to work better when people stick to what they are good at?

You will notice that I used the phrase “generally speaking”. You will see me use this phrase a lot. I use it because it allows for the exceptions to the rule. Because there are exceptions to the rule and there should be. That however does not change the fact that something is generally true. For example, just because there are male child care workers who enjoy the job and are just as competent as their female counterparts doesn’t change the fact that “generally speaking” child care is a female dominated role. That young man should be allowed to work as a child carer if that is what he wants to do and he is capable of carrying out the inherent requirements of the job. All power to him I say. But there is no arguing that child care is a predominantly female occupation, generally speaking. 

Likewise bus drivers. There are quite a few female bus drivers out there who enjoy the job and are as good as the guys at it. I know this because I used to work for a bus company. But generally speaking bus driver is a male dominated occupation. 

Ok so here come the feminist arguments. Firstly the reason that certain jobs are male dominated is because the patriarchal boys club wants to keep all the good jobs for themselves. 

That may have been true to a point once upon a time but no longer is this the case. For example, while presently the legal profession is male dominated and there are more male judges and principals of law firms than female, that situation is rapidly changing. For the past decade law schools have consistently been pumping out more female graduates than male and by a significant margin. Give it another 20 years and the gender balance in the legal profession will have reversed. See the change the feminists want has already happened in the legal profession.

But what about bus drivers? Well I can tell you from having worked in the industry that anyone who thinks bus driver is a job that any gender would want to keep to themselves has never done the job. I can also tell you that the reason there are more male bus drivers is because bus driver is a job that not many women actually want to do. Come on girls, if you want more women in the board room then you have to campaign for more female plumbers and bus drivers too! But feminists will argue that socially constructed gender roles is to blame here. Is that true? Or as I said before is it just a case of men and women are different and thus suited to different roles? I submit that it is the latter.

Let us explore one of the most obvious examples, front line combat troops. This is clearly a male dominated role but why is it so? Why should there be more male combat troops than female? Well, probably because, generally speaking, men are bigger, stronger and naturally more aggressive and thus better suited to the role, duh!

But still the feminists will argue. I have even heard feminists argue that the fitness and entry requirements for combat roles are deliberately designed to exclude women. No the fitness and entry requirements are designed around the inherent requirements of the job.

You see, the Army knows from over 100 years experience fighting on battlefields all over the world, what it takes to be a good combat soldier and designs its testing around that. Let’s get really basic. Let’s say that the Army knows that to perform the inherent requirements of the job of combat soldier the candidate must not only be able to carry 60 Kg of equipment on their back (because that’s how much gear they need to carry) but must be able to run 5 Km in under 15 minutes while carrying that 60 Kg and if you can’t, then you’re not up to the required standard. Is that test deliberately designed to exclude women? No it is designed around the inherent requirements of the job. Will more men pass this test than women? Well yes but only because generally speaking men are bigger and stronger than women. Can’t the standards be lowered to make it easier for women to get in? No, lowering the entry standards is only going to have the overall effect of lowering the standard of our combat troops and result in more of our young people coming home in body bags. Let’s not do that OK! If a woman can pass these tests without any lowering of the standards should she be able to serve as a combat soldier? Absolutely!

Now before the feminists go off on some other hare brained argument let me take you back to the beginning of point 4.  Men and women ARE different. Because we are and I don’t understand why modern feminists insist that there is no difference between men and women. It is plainly obvious even without delving into the science that men and women are different and to suggest otherwise is patently wrong and is doing a disservice to both genders. 

There are just things that men are better at than women and things that women are better at than men and this is why there are differences in the roles and occupations performed by each gender and some people need to get over their victim mentality and the idea that everything is part of some great patriarchal conspiracy designed to oppress women.

Does this mean that men shouldn’t be child care workers and women shouldn’t be bus drivers? Absolutely not! I have already discussed the exceptions to the rule and these exceptions should be expected and encouraged. Just otherwise accept that generally speaking they will not be the norm.

Look, no one is going to deny that in the past women have been treated as second class citizens. Many of us in our younger years would have heard the words, “that’s women’s work” or “but you’re just a girl”. It is true that once upon a time the only reason a woman would have entered the board room would have been to serve coffee or deliver a message. But as a society we have moved past this and women are now accepted as mens equals in the work place. Yes there are still more men in the board room and in parliament. There are also more male plumbers, construction workers and delivery people (And there are more female health care workers, child carers and teachers). As I said before, the fact that so many amazing women have attained positions up to and including Prime Minister of Australia requires an explanation for why there are not more women in positions of power that does not simply blame the patriarchy, socially constructed gender roles and gender inequality. If Julia can do it, why can’t you?

So now that we have cleared all that up, let’s talk.


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