The Executive Corner

Gender equality, professional feminism by Josh Bettle – SAITSA VP External

Executive Corner by Josh Bettle – SAITSA VP External

Executive Corner does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Weal.

Let’s talk a bit about something relevant to my area of study: ethics. They’re one of the most important aspects of our workplaces, as our ethics give us our professional essence—how we are viewed as individuals at work.

For the purposes of this article, I’m specifically referring to feminism and gender equality. The focuses of my study are the two most predominant feminist perspectives regarding having quotas on boards of government institutions. Basically, some feminists (socialist feminists) believe it is important to have regulations for boards that help support equality between men and women, while others (individualist feminists) believe this line of thinking creates resentment and will delay the equality movement.

Some countries, such as Norway, have implemented these quotas (minimum 40% of each gender). This, I predict, will soon be a hot topic in Canada. How should we, as individuals, side in this debate? What is more important: having political, statistical equality between genders, or having culturally-accepted equality?

There is also the factor that women and men typically have different styles of management and the diversity of styles helps create a more successful board. And, there are currently more men than women sitting on boards, as society tends to encourage men into higher-ranking positions over women.

I, myself, lean more toward the individualist movement, and encourage companies to have gender equality best practices (not quotas, but guidelines). But the true issue lies in our upbringing. After taking a test that evaluated my personal ability to relate males and females to family and profession, I learned that I had a favourable bias toward men in profession and women to families. As did Kim Campbell, a more socialist feminist and the only female Canadian Prime Minister in history. During a short discussion with her, I learned she supports quotas to speed up equality between men and women.

I firmly believe men and women are equal yet different, and society should reflect better equality but never forget that we are not the same. It will be a long process to achieve this, but we can begin by teaching our children that it is alright for boys to wear dresses and become dental assistants, and for girls to wear loose-fitting jeans and become plumbers. Rather than force equality, we must encourage it from birth.

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