I thought we’d come a long way, baby, and then this…

I really had hoped that things might have moved beyond the girls-against-boys approach, but then I had underestimated Christy Clark’s depths. If she thinks this is going to help me connect with the BC Liberals, think again. It sends me running in the opposite direction, desperately seeking government representation that focuses on ideas and plans, not political points, rhetoric and reverse discrimination. (Tragically, the alternative in the NDP, with their gender quotas, are no better on this issue.)

I think events and clubs that seek to promote based on gender are inappropriate and typically do more to enhance the us-versus-them environment than they do to promote equality. Events like these seem to me to take aim at the old boys club notion of politics/business/academia/etc. by making an new girls club. So instead of breaking down barriers, they just put up a second one.

The pendulum for discrimination and exclusion has swung quite far, with women’s-only businesses and events in nearly every area – clinics, gyms, bars, clubs, businesses, tv channels. And yet the same women who defend and demand a women’s only yoga class will also shout outrage that a golf course is a men’s only club. Why is it that women deserve a gender-specific venue but men do not? Wasn’t the whole point of feminism to have equality for women, or did I miss the part about denying equality to men?

This is the same kind of thinking says that only a woman can represent women’s issues. Really? If that’s the case, then female politician are just a guilty as their male counterparts for only representing half of their constituency. This is where feminism, the kind that Christy exemplifies with, “We’re taking over, ladies!”, falls apart for me. The best representatives are those that can represent everyone, not just those that they are most similar to.

True equalists (perhaps a better term for what feminism is supposed to be seeking) should aim to ensure equal opportunities. Not quotas, not segregation, but opportunity and openness. Creating an environment where contributions are valued, where ideas and experience and dedication lead to real changes and advancements in society, and where everyone is included and both allowed and encouraged to work to their strengths, would result in a government and society that truly would be of, by and for the people. Right now, government is of people with questionable ideas, by people who number too few to be truly representative (see declining voter turn-out) and for only certain groups of people at certain time. As for society, if we don’t stop focusing on the petty things we don’t have and start focusing on solving the problems we do have, together, soon the issues of perception around gender and other equities will be the least of our worries.

“We’ve got serious problems, and we need serious people to solve them.”

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