Friday, 28 December 2007

Logic dictates…

Participation in decision-making is key to equality for women, as frequently pointed out by various United Nations agencies. It also has an important correlation with conflict prevention and the reduction of violence in society, according to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (see an earlier blog )

I was recently invited to take part in the women in leadership roles online forum hosted by Women Watch on the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs website. At the moment it is still a closed debate but the results will be available shortly.

Over four weeks, there was widespread participation in this well-structured discussion, covering issues such as: the impact of women leaders; the present situation of women in the public and private sectors and in civil society (academia, media etc); the constraints against greater involvement of women in leadership positions; and the strategies that can most effectively be used to counteract those constraints.

In the final week, the moderator asked for more analysis on institutional barriers. And you know, I thought I ought to contribute, since I’ve worked (and become frustrated) in a number of different sectors myself - as well as being employed as an external consultant to carry out organisational audits, workforce training and develop strategy on gender equity.

Unfortunately I found myself unable to join the debate. Nobody was actually stopping me. It just seems that my lifetime experience, both personal and professional, has taught me nothing but this: within the prevailing paradigm, there will always be discrimination (and hence violence) against women.

Former head of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales, Prof Theresa Rees, once analysed remedial measures for gender equality as follows: tinkering, tailoring or transformation and concluded that only the third option will do. But how can we imagine it? Although Doris Lessing (The Guardian 08/12/07) has not yet had the time to discover the joys of blogging, she has often resorted to science fiction, futurism, dystopia and myth in her ground-breaking attempts to illuminate gender within the human condition.

Star Trek fans will recognise the language of Vulcans and androids alike: “logic dictates” that the only solution – scary to women and men alike – is to find a new paradigm: this one isn’t working.

Read more

16 days against violence blog

Doris Lessing

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