Friday, 3 July 2009

What do we want? Equity! When do we want it…

“What do you want?” Is an oppressive question that is often asked in a huffy tone by those who have benefited from the privilege and opportunity that enables powerful position. It often is implied that all effort is equally rewarded and opportunities are open to all. However, this is not the case, for some hard work is rewarded, while others need to work harder to reach the same position.

This week Stuart Rose was quoted on Simply Business:

Women in the workplace “have more equality than they can ever deal with” according to controversial Marks and Spencer chairman Stuart Rose. He asks: “What is it you haven’t got?” (

Answer: EQUITY

Mr Rose seems to have misunderstood equality entirely – it cannot be given. It is owned and threatened in a culture that systematically discriminates against certain groups. Women are equal! But they do not get treated equally, and often face limited opportunity – therefore their progress comes at a higher price. It is this lack of equity that is rarely understood. Stuart Rose - please acknowledge your privilege!

Women do and will achieve success in the workplace; unfortunately it is often at greater cost than their male peers. The effort needed to reach more senior positions involves working much harder. The time/effort required therefore often means having to make difficult decisions: giving up family time, leisure interests or personal growth opportunities.

Despite this heavy price women on average earn 17% less than men, and the gap is growing. While some argue that it is because of the career choice women make. Many would counter that choice is rare and ‘restricted option’ is a fairer description of the situation.

When addressing sexism specifically social stereotypes of women as carers and homemakers add to the problem. It is assumed that the full time work of running a home is the responsibility of women, who can somehow fit it around employment hours. This work is on occasion appreciated more when the roles are reversed - men then marvel at the hard work done by house-husbands! (I do wonder if such praise given to their own wives?)

The point is women deserve equity. We do not want what someone else has, we want the opportunity of fulfilling our own potential, to be successful on our terms.

Equal reward for equal effort!

When? ….. Now!

mole ;-p

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