Fraternizing with the enemy

In Around the World on October 18, 2010 at 6:39 am


This article is from a series of stories from the Herald Tribune called the Female Factor. 

I haven’t really mentioned feminist men yet, and I do concede that there are men who advocate along side women.  At the annual Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Normandy (region of France), 23 business and political leaders, 13 of them men, gathered to discuss gender equality in the workplace.  They established 6 concrete measures to improve the male/female ratio for this upcoming year. 

The measures included pledges to make the advancement of women a top strategic priority at the chief executive level, to require female candidates in every recruitment pool, and to deliver specific targets for more female representation at all levels of their companies.

What does this mean? Well, that men might be helpful in getting over the next hill.  It’s great that such forums like this exist and that men want to get involved, however, there are always going to be problems and criticism.  We don’t want another ‘preferential treatment of racial minorities for getting into universities’ type thing again because it’s not about righting the sins of the past, it’s about making sure the same sins aren’t repeated in the present.  Therefore, forcing businesses to have a certain number of women on the board,etc.  might not necessarily be the answer – positions of power should be earned – but at the same time, some people are slow to enact change unless forced.  In France, political parties rather pay fines than follow the female quotient law, according to that previous article from Katrin Benhold I had blogged about. 

It’s a double-edged sword you could say.  The question is, who gets to decide which is the lesser of two evils?


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