I am sick to death of reading about corrupt men making deals behind the scenes to leverage and personally capitalise on their privileged positions.
After reading the latest reports of corruption, (Sydney Morning Herald August 16-17) I am at my wits end.
Why have the last few years been filled with stories of bad mouthing, bad behaviour and bad politics?
Men are over-represented in positions of power. They are also over-represented in the courts of corruption, nepotism and bad dealings.
There are many decent blokes out there – but not enough, it seems, in positions where they count.
And where are the women?
It’s enough to drive a fair minded feminist and her fair and decent mates to wits end.
Since the Abbott government was elected (by many who may now be questioning their judgement), we’ve witnessed:
- Our Prime Minister, a self-declared, but unproven ‘feminist’ appoint himself as Minister for Women;
- The Cabinet be convened with just one woman – (and doesn’t she stand out?)
- The vast majority of appointments to commissions, advisory councils, economic and financial panels, business councils, charities, education committees, courts to be men, mostly over 60;
- Permission granted then clumsily revoked to be a bigot;
- Numerous and consistent displays of ignorance, sexism and elitism;
- The most wealthy (a minority), become the most important and influential in Australian decision making and policy;
- Appalling examples of inhumanity and indifference;
- Observable preferences for bully boy stand over tactics in the Senate (and beyond) rather than diplomacy and negotiation.
In parallel, the examples of corruption and unethical, immoral dealings in politics, in religious and financial institutions is beyond the pale.
Where is the tipping point? When will the observable be actually seen?
When will the majority of decent, moral, fair minded men and women recognise that there is a common thread in all of this?
When will it be noticed that the perpetrators and protagonists in all of this degusting behaviour are predominantly, (entirely, perhaps) men?
To be clear: this is NOT a rant about men! Most men are completely decent, fair minded and wonderful human beings but it seems they’ve been filtered out somehow, or once they’ve reached a position of power become blinded by it.
In 2011 the International Monetary Fund’s managing director Christine Lagarde lamented that the global financial crisis was caused by too much testosterone and men’s tendency to ‘show how hairy chested they are.”
In May 2014, Rachel Nolan in an article in The Monthly provided in excruciating detail many examples of testosterone fuelled decision making. She also pointed to the research backed evidence that confirms that women are more likely to:
- Consider the long term social and environmental impact of decisions;
- Value health and safety equally to economic interests;
- Be interested in the long term sustainability of our planet;
- Be fair minded and call out corruption (usually with significant personal cost).
The lack of women in positions of power and leadership has become a national crisis – far greater in its reach than the economic crisis we supposedly had.
Australian women are more educated, more literate than and as numerate as Australian men. Yet women remain consistently locked out of positions where we can capitalise and harness this talent.
I don’t advocate for women to replace men. What I advocate is a gender balance of power where women and men collaborate in decision making, policy making and governance. Where debate and discussion is informed by a diversity of views and perspectives; where we don’t rely on a minority but powerful demographic slice of the population to make decisions on behalf of those they have no idea about.
While we have decisions made by a group of blokes who inexplicably and arrogantly appear to think they know better than the people they represent: people from different backgrounds, living different lives, facing daily challenges they can’t even imagine, we can never hope to have a fair, just and sustainable future.
It’s time more women and men spoke up and demanded change. It’s time we all demanded 50/50 and asked, if not, why not?