Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Equal Opportunity

In recent years many feminists have noted that there are few women holding senior positions in government and industry. In order to address this imbalance in society affirmative action programs were created to allow women to enter into these male dominated domains. For it would appear that in every sphere men are disproportionately represented at the top.

However, one of the key aspects of the male gender is that we are disproportionately represented at the highest levels of society (CEO's, leaders etc) and at the bottom end of society in prison. For example 94% of all prisoners are men, the majority of our homeless, unemployed, mentally ill, and drug addicted and also male. It is easy to focus on the successful men and in the process forget about the masses of men who dominate the underclasses.

Women have also been able to create female only areas such as the Fernwood Fitness centre or the Women's room on most university campuses creating segregation on the one hand (Zonta International - female only business organisation) yet demanding that women be admitted to male only clubs and organisation (ie Tattersals Club - Brisbane). So while women carve out female only spaces they demand that men do away with their private spaces.

While in Victoria they have recently created the first women only jobs site, www.justbe.com.au which only offers jobs for women. A similar website for men only is unlikely to appear as it would be described as sexist and discriminatory. While this seems like a nice idea it is important to note that men make up 66% of people receiving the newstart allowance (unemployment benefit). A paper by R Lattimore Men not at Work , clearly illustrates the extent of male unemployment.

However, when people noted that boys were struggling in school and that most primary teachers and teachers in general are female it was suggested that perhaps an affirmative action program to get men into teaching might be needed. However, it was stated by the education department that the most important thing as the skill of the teacher not their gender.

While most universities have an aim to institute affirmative action programs to encourage women to enter traditional male areas there are very few programs aimed at encouraging men to enter non traditional careers (i.e. nursing, child care, primary teaching). For example in teaching courses at university up to 80% of students may be female.

"To have a student body that closely reflects the make-up of the broader society, to build an environment which fosters successful participation by people from diverse backgrounds, and to develop graduates who are culturally sensitive in order to contribute to creating a society that values diversity and difference"

Men's rights groups have described women-only events and organizations as "separatist", with the UK Men and Father's Rights Website describing women-only library tables, for example, as "apartheid practices of excluding men".

A domestic airline in Australia recently introduced rules that stated that unaccompanied children can not be seated next to males. The idea is that because most perpetrators (although this is debateable) of sexual abuse are males, therefore all males are suspect. It would be like suggesting that because most people who engage in petrol sniffing are indigenous that all indigenous people should not be allowed to purchase petrol. An absurd and highly offensive proposition.

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