Friday, September 19, 2008

Many people still not very bright - survey

I was interested to read a third of NZ women believe they still don't have equal rights. Is it that the survey company defined rights in a foolish way, that the respondents have a confused definition of rights, or just that a third of NZ women are into special pleading?

It's a genuine question. There must be the odd feminist who comes by here, if only to experience a thrill of horror and revulsion at the contents - is there an actual rights gap, or is it just special pleading?

I've had a look at the Research New Zealand site, and there's no mention of this survey on it, so everything I know about it is from the brief NZPA report.



Well said Psycho.
This is Helengrad and Klarkistan, a place ruled by women, or should that be womyn.
We have a woman PM, woman chief justice, woman speaker, women in so many positions.
Whenever there's a story about a major government department, like immigration, or electoral commission, it's a woman in charge.

It's the same in media and IT. We have a woman in one of the top jobs at Fairfax, women dominate the newsrooms, companies like IBM often have women leaders, and it wasn't that long ago when Telecom was run by a woman.

There a no glass ceilings here. I have never come across a country with so many women in top positions.

And that's before we even discuss the justice system. I am sure D4J will have a few words to say on it.

Observer said...

here's a research paper in the Ministry of Education that proves there are three kinds of female student. Those that can count and those that can't!

homepaddock said...

I'm a peopleist (not sure how to spell that) rather than a feminist I'm a peopleist rather than a feminist.

But I have a response to your qeustion because equality isn't just about changing laws it's about changing attitudes.

I hope you'll excuse the link because I've made a longer response here:

JC said...

I suspect women know for sure there's inequality before, during and after pregnancy.


Psycho Milt said...

(Crossposted at Homepaddock and No Minister)

Thanks for linking to us, Homepaddock. I hope you’ll excuse me putting this comment in both threads, because I expect there are quite a few people who won’t read both.

I can be an insufferable pedant at times and you might be tempted to think this is one of those occasions, but there is a significant difference between rights and attitudes and it looks to me like this survey has unhelpfully conflated them.

Unlike Fairfacts, I think women do still suffer significant inequality in NZ and whether one of them gets to be PM or Governor General or whatever is of little direct relevance to that. As Homepaddock points out, that has to do with attitudes, not rights. It seems to me entirely straightforward that women in NZ enjoy equal rights because rights are enshrined in law, but I’m willing to consider a counter-argument if anyone has one to offer.

I get the feeling that when people surveyed responded that women still don’t have equal rights, they were most likely thinking of stuff like women averaging lower pay than men, or still doing most of the housework. These aren’t matters of rights, they’re matters of how you choose to live your life and what you choose to put up with. Women as a collective don’t have a “right” to average the same pay as men any more than men have a “right” to the same life expectancy as women.

The ex-expat said...

Ahh PM, this the old nutshell of formal versus substantive equality. I shall try and write something up today about it.

homepaddock said...

PM - You are right to be pedantic, because there is a difference between rights and attitudes.

The survey asked if women had equal rights, not if they had equality.

That women (or anyone else) feel discriminated against in NZ is not because they have fewer or lesser rights because those rights are, as you point out, enshrined in law.

But equality under the law doesn't necessarily lead to equality in life and that's probably what the people who felt they didn't have equal rights were thinking of.