Women's Issues In Guyana

Two hundred years

Posted in Gender Equality by wiig on January 21, 2006
Tags: , , ,

Stabroek News – January 21, 2006

The results of a survey conducted by the UK’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and published earlier this month reveal that according to calculations real equality between men and women could take another 200 years. This was the time frame given for equality in the British Parliament, the highest decision-making forum in the land, while in top management in the civil service, private companies and judiciary it varied between 20 and 40 years.

The EOC survey, titled ‘Sex and Power: Who Runs Britain? 2006’ shows that women make up just nine per cent of the senior judiciary, 10 per cent of senior police officers, and 13 per cent of editors of national newspapers while in other areas, such as heads of professional bodies and arts organizations, female representation is 33 per cent.

This is discouraging news for women, particularly since this is evident in Britain, where there is such a body as the Equal Opportunities Commission, which carries the fight for gender equity. It is also puzzling, given that universal educational trends suggest a shift to the point where girls now outnumber boys in the classroom, even at university level, and increasingly outclass them at exams, even in the traditional ‘male-dominated’ subject areas. The implication of the survey, if the suggested trends are true, is that there likely is or could soon be a corps of highly qualified but supremely frustrated women as the ‘wind beneath the wings’ of their high-flying counterparts whose main qualification is being born male.

Depressing news indeed this is, as it places the strides gained by Angela Merkel, elected last November as Germany’s first female Chancellor; Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who was sworn in as Africa’s first elected woman President on Monday and Chile’s president-elect Michelle Bachelet, who won at the polls on Sunday firmly in the minority. It also reveals why other like-minded women in other parts of the world will not even bother to enter an electoral race: they rarely receive support from women, much less from men.

Anyone who watched the CBS News magazine programme 60 Minutes last Sunday would have seen the faux pas committed by journalist Lesley Stahl in her interview with actress Felicity Huffman. She asked Huffman whether the fact that she had two daughters was the highpoint of her life. Huffman said no and added that she resented the question. Stahl was taken aback, but it was obvious that she had placed the actress in a gender bracket and ought not to have done so. Neither Stahl nor any other interviewer would have asked the same question of a man.

Women are now visible in every strata of society, though not as much as they ought to be and they possess skills that are increasingly vital to its proper functioning. More needs to be done to ensure that gender discrimination does not prevent them from taking their rightful places in it.


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