Saturday, June 28, 2008

Femme's Fatal Flaw in Logic

As observed before, Nicky and I enjoy reading Saturday's opinion pieces, they're good for a laugh.

Like this piece from androgynously named Chris Wallace entitled Women will tire of taking the back seat.

Will they, I wondered? One finds it fascinating to read pieces that purport to speak for all of us with a double-X chromosome.

DO KEVIN Rudd's staff hate women or are they just nasty to everyone?

Rudd press secretary Lachlan Harris is rude to female journalists, according to reports last week, which supplied several examples.

As well, on an overseas prime ministerial trip recently male reporters sat together in a bloc on the VIP jet with all the female reporters seated in a bloc behind them.

Rudd and the boys had a long chat over drinks at one stop on the trip, with the female reporters apparently excluded off to the side, Prime Minister-less.
Whinge, whinge, bleat and whinge.

C'mon Chrissie, sweetheart, you've obviously grown up in the feminist era, what's stopping you from going over and joining in? I do, it's my job.

Kevin Rudd, prima facie, has some powerful positives working for him with women.

Therese Rein, Rudd's wife, is a powerful professional in her own right and lends the PM good credentials on his underlying attitude to women.
Right, so Rudd's fem-friendly credentials have to earned by his wife?

That's, y'know, a bit sexist isn't it?

And besides, Therese Rein has earned her money on the back of expansive government contracts so it couldn't have hurt to have had extensive party influence in the form of her husband.

It's just like lauding as independent achievements, the sales of a real estate agent whose husband is the property developer.

Rudd appointed the talented Tanya Plibersek Minister for the Status of Women, another plus. Down a dark alley at night confronted by a pack of marauding men - or in Cabinet confronted by a pack of marauding men - Plibersek is the kind of person you'd be thrilled to have fighting shoulder to shoulder with you.
Often confronted by a pack of marauding men are you Chrissie, or is that just your victim fantasy emerging again?

Rudd appointed four women to really meaty Cabinet jobs, including Julia Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister.

All good. So why did the story get any traction? Because it happened in this context.

Just four of Rudd's 18 Cabinet ministers are women - hardly benchmark-busting, and Plibersek isn't one of them.

The 2020 Summit got the symbolism on women wrong.
Oooh, do tell.

Julianne Schultz and Jackie Huggins' prominent roles alongside Cate Blanchett visibly saved the day in the end, but only just.
Right, just so long as women were visible it really didn't matter about their achievements.

There have been no "early wins" for women from Rudd's election. Yes, the Work Choices rollback helps, but that's not particular to women.

Contrast the treatment of the car industry and, say, parental leave since Rudd's election.
Let's, shall we?

Both got sent off for review - parental leave to the tough Productivity Commission, cars to the dinky Bracks Review.

The car industry gets prominent handouts even before Bracks has reported, but there'll be no parental leave initiative at least until the PC reports next year.

The definitive work on parental leave has already been done, UNSW academic Sarah Maddison points out - by the Human Rights & Equal Opportunities Commission a few years ago.
It may not have occurred to Chrissie that if (predominantly male) car workers lose their jobs, then the women and children those men support will be disadvantaged as well.

And another thing, women have been successfully raising children without the need for paid maternity leave for millennia, so tell me what the priority should be - ensuring there are jobs today or feel good tokenism?

While delighted about the Howard government's demise...
Yeah, what a surprise there.

...Maddison also points out that much backsliding on policies affecting women in the last decade happened under wall-to-wall state Labor governments.
Gee and one of those Labor Governments is headed by a woman too. Whatever happened to the sisterhood, sister?

I'm inclined to believe Lachlan Harris' defence - that he's rude to everyone, not just female journalists.
Well, that's magnanimous.

But the press gallery women's grief is part of a bigger pattern on women that Rudd ought to join the dots on. We had half the votes in 2007 and we've got half the votes in 2010 as well.
And how dare you assume that my opinions will fall lock-step into yours on gender lines, dearie?

We may be women, but we do have brains of our own.

-- Nora

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