Friday, June 24, 2011

Sexist Comments by EMA Boss Plainly Offside

People may already be getting sick of the debate and furore following Alasdair Thompson's comments on radio about inequity in pay between men and women.
But I'm pissed off.

He reasoned that women were paid less was because they are less productive and take more sick leave, stating:"Why do they take the most sick leave? Women do in general. Why? Because once a month they have sick problems. Not all of them, but some do."
To my knowledge statistics are not kept on sick leave and gender differences thereof in New Zealand, therefore his contention is at it's most basic an assumption. One has to assume a large amount of gender bias to even make this assumption if it's not coming from any sort of statistical basis. And while he may claim anecdotal evidence I think many (I hope most) of us who have worked with, employed and worked for both men and women will know this is simply a Victorian fantasy coming from the mind of someone trapped in the stereotypes and bigotry of a bygone era.

More concerning to me than the comments was the half-hearted 'apology' of Mr Thompson after the fact.
In my humble opinion an apology to simply cover one's arse and provide for PR damage control is not authentic - it's a waste of breath and an affront to civility and humility.
His apology was framed as to 'apologise for causing offence' whilst also not retracting his comments and in fact saying that he stood by his position - ergo giving with one hand simply to take away with the other.
This also points to a superior, and dare I say sexist mentality.
Apologising that it causes offence?
If you truly believe what you have said then stand by it and don't apologise! Don't try and sugar coat it to preserve your position and placate the people who have been angered by your comments.
If you realise the error of your ways then apologise, but only then, and do it authetically and taking repsonsibility for yourself and your actions.
Basically MAN UP BRO!

The EMA has also defended their boss stating that: "If you take the comments in context, we don't believe they were perhaps as outrageous as has been painted."
That an organisation representing Employers and Manufacturers here is not concerned by their leader and spokesman's comments points to a culture of misogynism that is repugnant.

Is the EMA simply an 'old boy's' club? I'd hazard a guess that it is. It is not representative of New Zealand as a whole, and certainly not in line with simply what is right. (Although the EMA is very...very 'right')