Tuesday, 24 February 2009

First wave feminism

At the Observer, Ruth Sutherland's feminist campaign continues.

As business editor, Sutherland believes that we should hear more about the different approach women bring to business.

Given the bias in the thesis, it is hardly surprising that ridiculous conclusions, hackneyed clich├ęs and prejudice quickly follow. Women are more "maternal" and "emotionally intelligent" she posits in her latest missive, glorying in the "female-friendly" spas of Iceland.

The Atlantic island’s failure, she repeatedly claims, can be blamed entirely on men, even though she believes Iceland has a level of gender equality that we can only aspire. Maybe there is a world where this argument makes sense; I’m glad I’m not on it.

Elsewhere she pushes prejudiced arguments about women’s superior emotional intelligence in business. This is a tired line of argument, one drawn from a time when women were first trying to break into business, a decade or three ago.

Nowadays, the position is meaningless. Imagine suggesting to a female colleague: “Sorry to bore you with this man talk about numbers, can you bring on board the women’s view about how we all should feel?”

Nonsense. In the modern world, men have emotions, and understanding, and women can do numbers, and rationality. Anyone suggesting otherwise is simply prejudiced.

There are issues with women, the workplace, and boardroom representation, but Sutherland’s sexist views do little to improve the lot of anyone, male or female.

Ultimately, I wonder what the men working for Sutherland think about their boss’s weird assumptions?

2 comments:

matt h2o said...

Ach. When social crises spawn cognitive dissonance, ideologues crawl out of the woodwork to try to offer people new cognitive frames by which to understand the world. They do this to try to gain more political clout. That's all it is. She's banging her drum because people might listen.

Tom said...

indeedy ... everyone brings their own axes to grind!