Wednesday, 15 July 2009

an observation

just watched the second half of backbenchers on channel 7 tonight, which featured representatives from the youth wings of national, labour, greens, maori party and ACT. and the first thing i noticed was that, yup, all of them were male. not one single female rep put forward by any one of these parties.

which says what about the future of parliament and political decision-making in this country? nothing good, i'm afraid.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

or it could be that the youth wings co-incidentally all chose men to be on TV that particular day.

I'm mates with the Labour and ACT organisational members and from what I heard they picked whoever was keen to get up there. Just say, for one second, that they chose the best person for the job - does that mean you'd want them to choose a women instead?

Just clarify as I would hope as a party member that the best person was on TV representing me. Cheers.

Cactus Kate said...

No it just goes to show women are far too sensible to volunteer as a guest on the zoo that is Backbenches.

Mikaere Curtis said...

Can't speak for the other parties, but for the Greens, it would only be a coincidence.

We are very gender-balanced in the Greens, and this includes things like speaking order in group discussions (when required), as well as consideration of makeup of working groups etc.

In the end, like many volunteerist organisations, the likely driver for who attended Backbenchers is who could attend on the night.

Hugh said...

You see Mikaere, when a political party acts one way but tells us it's another way (eg, only fronts up men, but then tells us it's gender balanced) some people are sceptical.

'Show, don't tell' is an aphorism that works well in politics.

Chris Nimmo said...

@Hugh: The young Greens have male and female co-conveners. Zach just happens to live in Wellington.

Francisco Hernandez said...

The executive of Young Labour constitutionally required to be gender balanced. It just so happens that Patrick lives in Wellington.

In other words: It's just a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Sad that if things are not gender balanced it is considered sexist. No wonder some organisations are stronger than others. I personally wouldn't care if it was one of each or two people of the same sex representing my party.

But to make it compulsory to have one of each is silly. What if you have two excellent women who could be co leaders? You are instantly deciding for them that this is not allowed and talent means nothing.

Mikaere Curtis said...

Hugh, are you saying the gender balance only exists if we present women 100% of the time ? Get a grip, it is entirely valid for a man to represent the Young Greens on this occasion. If we only ever represent with men then, yes, there would be a problem.

Extrapolating a trend from a sample of one is simply silly.

Anonymous, the counter-argument to your suggestion is for the Greens to be represented by two men if they were considered the best, and I doubt that many feminists would be up for that. The nice thing about gender balance is that instead of putting energy into arguing why women should be excluded from a co-position in favour of having two men in that co-position (or vice versa), is that you can actually get on with real work of developing, promoting and implementing Green policy solutions.

Hugh said...

Mikaere, that's a strawman and I expect you know it.

Mikaere Curtis said...

Which is it Hugh: is it OK for the Young Greens to be represented on Backbenchers by a man or not ?

Gender balance means men are going to front from time to time. Why is this a problem for you ?

Anonymous said...

*some* people live in a bubble which doesn't exist in the competitive world who believe we must have "balance" over ability and tokenism over skills.

I wouldn't care who represents my branch of the Labour Party, man, women or child. As long as they were the best person to do so. Surely this is more important than to make others "happy" about equality for the sake of it?

A Blogger said...

Perhaps the people they showed, were the top young people in their party?

stargazer said...

um yeah, i think you people are pretty much missing the point. it's not the practices or policies of any individual party that matter here. it's the fact that, as a group, no women happened to be considered the best for the job. that says something about our society as a whole, it says something about about accessibility of politics and political representation.

it may not be your party in particular that has to change. rather, it's the political environment, the culture and institutions of politics as a whole that need to be thought about. unless something does change, i'm suspecting that fewer women will be seeking representation, and that won't be a good thing for nz.

Luke H said...

In general, most political parties find much more men than women are interested in being members, and especially in being speakers, activists and candidates. This is true for left-wing parties, and even more true for right-wing ones.

I'd put that down more to women's choices and preferences rather than sexism and misogyny.

Hugh said...

The problem is Anjum, as we've seen here, while the change needs to happen acros all parties, every party's members are convinced that ~their~ party is doing fine, thank you, give themselves a big tick on gender equality, make some unpleasant comments about the other parties, and then sit back and wait for the next political sausage-fest to come up and raise some comment before repeating the process again.

Tui said...

Well, I can only speak for VicLabour, but I know that there *is* concern about the number of women in the youth wing relative to the number of women who have positions on the exec, number of women presidents, etc. VicLabour has arranged a women's group who meet regularly in order to create a body of women who support each others' candidacy, mentor them into leadership roles, etc (as well as social functions to encourage women's active participation in the party.) When we're criticised from outside the party we don't like to admit it, though! There is a perception that admitting a need for improvement is a weakness rather than a strength (obviously I do not agree, or I wouldn't be mentioning out internal efforts.)

Anonymous said...

I like to think everybody in my political organisation is equal and we don't need quotas, special groups or PC language. The women in my organisation would be F'd off of I pandered to them or for any reason told them they HAD to be represented.

That's the difference btw the left and right. You lefties are obsessed with marginalisation. We tend to just get on with the job.

stargazer said...

totally irrelevant comment anon. no-one has said anything about quotas so you're pretty much arguing with yourself. and as i've said in my previous comment, a particular party's policies are not at issue.