MAR­IAN KEYES

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - SHUTTERBUG -

Feminism is that women get an equal share in all the as­sets, op­por­tu­ni­ties and power that men cur­rently en­joy. That women have the right to bod­ily au­ton­omy. That women aren’t ob­jec­ti­fied. That our le­gal sys­tem, es­pe­cially in the ar­eas of rape and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, is re­framed into some­thing less trau­ma­tis­ing for women. Chal­leng­ing the in­sid­i­ous sen­si­bil­ity that things achieved by women are some­how sec­ond-rate or sec­ond-class. I’m def­i­nitely a fem­i­nist. I have no reser­va­tions about iden­ti­fy­ing as a fem­i­nist. Ab­so­lutely not. But it should be noted that a lot of ef­fort has been put into re­cal­i­brat­ing the mean­ing of the word, so that it con­jures an im­age of shrill, stri­dent, hairy fish­wives.

This is a neat lin­guis­tic trick: if the only ti­tle for a move­ment which wants the best for women is a toxic one, it has the ef­fect of shut­ting women up and shut­ting women down.

I agree with gen­der quo­tas for sev­eral rea­sons. First, the op­tics: we’re not used to see­ing many women fur­ther up the ranks in work­places, but the more we see it, the less peo­ple (men?) will re­sist it. Se­condly, our cur­rent work­places are hi­er­ar­chi­cal and ad­ver­sar­ial sys­tems which are thought to be ‘male’.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, women tend to op­er­ate in a more con­sen­sus-based way, and the more women are in po­si­tions of power, the more they’ll in­tro­duce that style of work­ing. This will then make it even eas­ier for women to flour­ish. Thirdly, the fact that child­care is still re­garded as the func­tion of the fe­male par­ent is the big­gest fac­tor that keeps women from ad­vanc­ing in the work­place. If quo­tas are in­tro­duced, more of the child­care will have to be done by men, which can only be a good thing, for every­one.

At the mo­ment, men do one-third of the world’s work and get paid nine-tenths of the world’s wages, ac­cord­ing to WHO sta­tis­tics. The amount of power that men wield is un­quan­tifi­able, but what­ever it is, it’s a lot more than women have. So ob­vi­ously it’s not un­fair on men to make things even.

How­ever, power and money are nice, and I be­lieve a lot of men are fright­ened at the idea of re­lin­quish­ing them.

Au­thor

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