Women in politics, in pictures

Women’s Futures Month was inspired by this year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘connecting girls, inspiring futures.’ While Women’s Futures Month events are Christchurch based, Zo and Erin hope to generate widespread discussion on their Facebook page.

The panel discussion held last week at Canterbury University featured the Minister of Women’s Affairs Hon Jo Goodhew, Local Wigram MP Megan Woods, Politics Lecturer Dr Jean Drage, University of Canterbury S Association President Erin Jackson, and Henrietta McNeill, President of UC Pols, as well as myself.

Women have achieved full equality in NZ: Yeah right.
The number of women in power matters not because it will change the world but because it's a symbol of our (lack of) progress.
I was pleased to hear Megan Woods push the issue of women in low paid work.
It's not enough to be at the table if we're not checking our analysis against the experience of a wide range of women.









It doesn't look as if the government's agenda has won over the audience.



Who said feminists are dour? Not this group.

4 Comments Posted

  1. Zo,

    The schema principle was of interest to me. It’s something that I’ve casually noticed for a while.

    I can see we do what subconsciously the same thing that insurance companies do formally. Insurance companies make a technical risk decision based on your group-associations to calculate the risk you have. It’s a blunt tool because they can only know you in limited detail as an isolated case, so must use ‘grouping’ to reduce their risk. So if you’re a male driver, for example, you might pay more car insurance because statistically you are associated with a higher-risk group, and regardless of how good you really are.

    An employer does the same thing. They have to, because they have only limited information about you. So it doesn’t matter how good you are as an individual, you will always carry the weight of the groups you are associated with. At least until you get the job and prove yourself directly.

    But this is no one’s fault, and represents what is ultimately rational discrimination (not to be confused with prejudice – it’s risk calculation, not judgement). Ultimately there’s nothing we can do about it except find way to organise more comprehensive information on individuals.

    …But if you’re a very young, male Polynesian that talks a bit rough then you will find harder to get in the door to a good job no matter how good you really are. Because your employer can only make a risk decision based on limited information. Alas, it’s not good to be associated with “high risk” groups.

  2. Thanks Zo – I’ll look at that link later.

    Personally I think there are many cultural ills in New Zealand, and every society. All kinds of discrimination based in stupidty, everywhere. People are neurotic as hell (smile!).

    But, I think it’s inherently dangerous for central governments to come in and over-referee our lives. We’re running the risk of giving the government a license for extraordinary intrusive levels of control, by making too much of a thing over any given discrimination.

    And we have to be careful not to let anti-discrimination equate to opposing the right to freedom of association, I believe. It might not be good that some people are sexest, for example, but do they nonetheless have the right to be?

  3. Andrew: While there are great laws preventing discrimination, what the discussion covered were the less visible cultural and societal ways in which women are not afforded the same opportunities (due to a multiplicity of reasons). There’s a great post about some of these here. It’s not necessarily that women are purposefully denied opportunities, but acknowledging that there is an issue is the first step towards actually doing something about it.

    A theme that keeps coming up is that the effect of having people with “different priorities” extend beyond sex (eg. ethnicity, socio-economic status). Greater balance, diversity and representative-ness in our leading organisations is almost always more equitable, beneficial, profitable, and interesting. Jan made a great point that it’s reductive to just focus on women, however at the same time women are half the population that are effectively, if not intentionally, rare in powerful decision making roles.

  4. Are woman barred from the opportunities that men have, purely because they are woman? Or are we looking at the professional effect of different personal priorities between the sexes?

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