We’re a long way off gender equality in the UK, be this to do with boardroom roles, pay & career opportunities, the way we are treated in the media, our share of domestic roles and sexist attitudes that always amaze me.
But until we women vote for equality for ourselves (why do so many women waste their vote?) it’s the actions of the few banging the female drum for the many that are making a difference today.
Why is it that female apathy thrives at the ballot box? Take Harriet’s pink bus, for example. Castigated for a ‘pink-it’ Labour election strategy, too many women bickered at each other rather than getting behind the big issues then used this as a ‘patronising’ excuse not to vote.
Could it be that ‘pink-happy’ females feel unable to stand up to the ‘pink-stinks’ brigade for fear of social media ridicule? Or that some women are too selfish to care about ‘lesser’ others? Or, heaven to Betsy, that some women are content to live in a society dictated by men?
The disadvantages of equality
On the other hand, equality may mean the end of treating women with respect. As in opening doors for us, doffing one’s hat in a ‘you go first’ gentilesse or giving up bus seats to pregnant women. Why would young men treat us with this sort of old-fashioned respect in future if they’ve been taught we’re all the same? And why should women do men’s ironing, lead re: grandchildren care and so on? Maybe we’ve moved on from all this already…
Sadly, as females get wealthier, more independent and equal, a repercussion is that in creep the bad behaviours that used to be exclusively male. Increasingly women drink and drive, commit fraud, have affairs, are violent towards partners and slag off their gender for not choosing the same gender lifestyle path as they have…
Which is a serious gender crime best explained by Madeleine Albright,the first female Secretary of State in the United States, who said
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
As I see it, too many females forget how tough it often is for others, being expected to outbloke men in today’s society but without an appreciation of the opportunity cost.
Where equality doesn’t figure
Gender equality rarely retains its relevance when it comes to relationships and parenting roles. As I see it, men and women are stronger together when they’re complementing each other with a view to a happier family whole. In that instance, surely we should ALL be happy to relinquish perceived equality and put ourselves second, where necessary, not vie for parity or centre stage all the time.
Needless to say we aren’t equal when it comes to giving birth or breastfeeding nor are we in our relationships with our children. Mums are different from Dads, no matter how hard we try to challenge any stereotypical technical or domestic roles. And no matter how hard single parents try to be both…
Rewriting equality rules
On the other hand, men who used to think that women can’t be bin-men will have to think again as will any women thinking that men can’t be midwives. All good examples of how gender jargon, job descriptions and customer expectations will need to change…
Then there’s the issue of equality in toy shops which for some means stocking Barbies and Action Men together on the same toy shelf. Surrounded by liberal Mums encouraging Alfie and Lily to buck the old fashioned gender toy trend.
But you’d be wrong if you thought that ‘Toys for Girls’ searches would have disappeared from Google – there are some 345 million listed entries here (with a mere 219 million for ‘Toys for Boys’). So the gender status quo remains alive and thriving although these businesses mightn’t be shouting about this for fear of offending the ‘everyday sexism’ lobby.
And I think this is also true when it comes to selling to grown up men and women. For example, many businesses tell me they treat men and women the same, thinking that’s what they should be doing. But that’s commercial nonsense in areas like the motor industry when you know who is the gender spender and what they think about cars and garage services. You’d want to address that in the customer’s mind, surely? And in 80% of all cases, the decision influencer is female and, by and large, she’s critical of the status quo, hence the opportunity for the best businesses to become her choice…
The fact remains that men and women are equal but DIFFERENT as customers. And whilst there will be ‘pink-stinks’ women who think equality means treating boys & girls as well as men & women the same from childhood, you can be sure they’re also among the most fussy shoppers when it comes to purchases they make/influence on behalf of their male partners.
And what’s wrong with that? Don’t we need MORE fussy customers, not FEWER, to drive up standards for ALL customers wherever they are flagging?
Doing things the female way
Which is what FOXY does of course, benchmarking quality standards in the motor industry then encouraging competition among the best to benefit females (and males) alike. In short we empower the female business choice, recognising that women are usually the gender spenders. Automotive businesses that get customer service levels right for us are more likely to meet our female friendly approved standards, delighting most men in the process.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the new Women’s Equality Party sets about this in future. I’ve just joined. Have you?
Vive La Difference…