Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Misleading actually, it has been raining a fair bit. Apparently it's going to rain a fair bit more too.

The World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Report for 2011 has just been published. The UK, USA and Canada are huddled together in 16th, 17th and 18th places respectively.
Sheer freaking disgrace for all three. And how is this disgrace being addressed? The usual lip service of course.

Yet two interesting pieces of research could inform us and allow a more spirited campaign to do something real about the situation. In June of this year, Science Daily summarised a study that showed how 'daily acts of subtle sexism' by both women and men, impact the lives of women. But when women were made aware of the 'unseen sexism', such as sexist language, they were more inclined to correct their behaviour, when men were made aware, they didn't see it per se as discriminatory, they needed an extra factor, such as empathy for women or certain women.

At the end of October, another study demonstrated a clear and strong link between the sexism exhibited by individuals and the extent of the gender gap in the society in which those individuals live. Jigsaw pieces falling into place? The subtle and often unseen sexism that is daily perpetuated by individuals, is self-reinforcing and reflected in the size of the gender gap.

Until we properly address what too many think of as 'pet peeves' and annoying whinges rather than the rhizomes of what become human rights issues, this gap will not close. And whilst men have privilege in those three western societies that should be shamefacedly shuffling their feet right now, the reality is that not all men benefit from that Patriarchy. The men who are important in our lives, lovers, sons, fathers, friends, are for the most part good men, good and supportive men who are also the losers in a system where a minority shit on the rest.
This is something that can be achieved by ordinary people for ordinary people.

So why don't we do it?

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