It’s not about gen­der equal­ity. It’s about giv­ing the job to the right per­son any­way

The Argus - - NEWS -

I’VE never, to my knowl­edge, got­ten a job be­cause I’m a woman. Nor, that I know of, have I ever not got­ten a job be­cause I’m a woman. To date, as far as I’m aware, I have got­ten ev­ery job I’ve ever worked at be­cause the em­ployer thought I would be good in the role. Gen­der didn’t come into it.

I usu­ally tend to stay out of the whole equal­ity de­bate be­cause I’ve never re­ally en­coun­tered that kind of treat­ment. When I started off in jour­nal­ism it was pre­dom­i­nantly a male do­main – an older male do­main at that. I started off work­ing with men who had only ever worked with other men and there was, on both sides, a pe­riod of ad­just­ment.

They had to get used to me talk­ing about boyfriends, makeup and fash­ion and I had to get used to them talk­ing sport and throw­ing in the oc­ca­sional sex­ist joke. It was all harm­less fun. The rea­son it was harm­less fun was be­cause there was a mu­tual re­spect be­tween us. It didn’t mat­ter that they were men in the fifties, six­ties or that I was a flighty young one. We all did our job to the best of our abil­ity and earned each other’s re­spect.

So I’ve never re­ally un­der­stood when women have moaned about not hav­ing the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as their male coun­ter­parts. Surely you make your own op­por­tu­ni­ties? They don’t come knock­ing on your door.

If you want some­thing you go af­ter it. And if you don’t get it, you keep try­ing.

To be hon­est I don’t know if I’ve ever been paid less or more than my male col­leagues. I’ve only ever been in­ter­ested in earn­ing a fair wage for a fair day’s work. What has both­ered me more in the past is when I’ve worked with some­one, male or fe­male, who hasn’t pulled their weight and they’ve got­ten away with it. That’s what I call un­fair. That’s what I call not be­ing a team player.

What got me think­ing about all of this was the new all fe­male line up on the Six One News. I can’t help feel­ing that The Pow­ers That Be in Mon­trose de­cided ‘ let’s put two women in there, it will make us look re­ally pro­gres­sive and po­lit­i­cally cor­rect.’

Be­cause let’s call a spade a spade here – Keelin Shan­ley and Catriona Perry are not the right fit. They are both with­out doubt ac­com­plished jour­nal­ists but the two of them to­gether, pre­sent­ing the main news bul­letin just doesn’t work.

And I don’t think I’m let­ting the side down say­ing that. I don’t feel like I’m be­tray­ing my tribe. Maybe it’s time we stopped look­ing at abil­ity and ac­com­plish­ment in terms of gen­der. At the end of the day the most suit­able can­di­date should get the po­si­tion.


Jus­tine ny o h a M ’ O

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