I laughed when Romney talked about getting binders full of women during the debate on Tuesday night, because I knew it would come back to haunt him.
But here is my thing - I'm a woman. I have worked in a job that was done only by men for the previous 30 years or so that the business was open. I was the first woman to do it, and I did a damned good job even if I say so myself. When I moved away, I trained a man to replace me. I can only hope that he took my ideas and used them, bettered them even, and that it carries on to this day. But it's nothing to do with me because I don't work there anymore.
I do not feel that women will have truly beaten this gender based line until there doesnt need to BE any binders of women. It will finally be beat when employers only look at the stats, the resumes, the benefit that the PERSON would bring to the workplace, and not even pay attention to gender. Or for true fairness, no attention paid to age, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc etc etc.
I work in child care. You'd think it would be easy, but because we have only ever had one minority person working for us, we get harrassment from the govt to try to hire minorities more often. No attention seems to be paid to the fact that we arent hiring ANYONE because all of us have been in our positions for almost 10 years and up to almost 30 years. We have the best staff turnover rate of any center in town, but then catch flack for not hiring minorities. We also got asked why we dont have any men working there. Well - we have only had one man bring in a resume in all this time and that was when we also were not hiring anyone but casuals. He didnt want to be a casual so he moved on.
It's annoying to be TOLD who to hire. I understand the base of things - but what if those binders full of women still did not bring in candidates for staffing that were the best? It could be compared to affirmative action plans where students for colleges were chosen on race, not just achievements and abilities, and that led to many non-minority students not getting in despite having a better student record than those who were chosen. Is that fair?
It's like reverse racism. Which is still racism. And I think going out of your way to find women specifically could be viewed as reverse sexism. It's still sexist. If you set out wanting to hire the best person for the job, and overlooked a man because he was a man, and chose a woman because she was a woman, that is not solving anything. That does not make it FAIR and EQUAL. It really doesnt.
The wage thing is what bothers me most - if men truly are making much more than the women in the same positions and there are no other contributing factors such as longevity in the position and job performance, then that is unfair and wrong. If a woman is being paid less because she is a woman - that is inherently wrong.
But what I see a lot of is pressure to hire women, even if that means passing up a man who is better qualified. I understand that women are often overlooked even if THEY are the better candidate for the job - but isnt it just as unfair if the woman stomps her feet about it, burns her bra, and then ultimately gets hired over a man who was more qualified? What does THAT solve? And how can the federal govt make this happen anyway?
Would that not mean writing more business rules that are akin to affirmative action based on race? What if my workplace was told we had to have 10% male staff or be fined. Would my boss have to FIRE one of us in order to hire a man????? Seriously - what could come of such actions? How can the federal govt ensure that more women are hired in the workplace. The only thing they have control over is who THEY hire themselves. But during the debate Tuesday, it sounded as though both men had a plan for getting more women hired all over, and how to make them get the same pay. That means more govt involvement. End of story.
Or how about a tax credit for hiring more women. Is that fair? Why should some that only hire men be penalized? What if no women apply?? Or women apply but are not qualified or not available for the hours needed? Etc etc. Should they miss out on a tax bonus for not being ABLE to hire women? All of this just keeps talking women-men-male-female, and keeps the gender barrier up instead of taking it down.
I want a time when it's a PERSON being hired, not a man or a woman. A PERSON being hired, not a race or an orientation.
It reminds me of a Staff Attraction bonus that my province came up with a few years ago for childcare. If an employer hires BACK a person who had been gone from the job for at least a year (or two?), and that person stayed on staff for 12 months, the center and the staff member would each get a bonus of $1000.
WTF? I have worked there since 1995, so where is MY bonus? Why don't I get a bonus for working there and not quitting? Well, actually I did, because I moved, but I did not leave because I was seeking a better paying job elsewhere, which is why most people leave the field. I left because I had to move and couldnt help that. But each time I moved back here, I got re-hired and I stayed. I have been there consistently since July 2006. Where is my big bonus from the govt (or rather, tax payers)? Why should someone who LEFT the job get a bonus but not me, because I stayed. Just like why should a company that hires a woman get some sort of break? It leaves other workers feeling ignored and insulted.
Women are often not treated fairly in the workplace. But I do not think the ideas coming out today are really fixing much, if anything. It still draws attention to gender and I can only hope that one day those lines are finally dropped and it doesnt matter if you are a man or a woman, it only matters that you can do the job and do it well. And be paid in accordance.