Tuesday, 18 October 2011

In honour of the Vice Chancellor's Debate at Vic

Public meeting, stage has panel with five men in suits, audience is mixed gender.  Chair of panel:  "The subject of tonight's discussion is:  Why are there no women on this panel?"
For all those taking part in election debates by attending or speaking, when you are faced with an all male line-up please consider pointing it out publicly, and that it is not ok.  I find it highly unlikely that there are many electorates which have no female candidates in the contest, and when it is a forum not run along strict electorate lines then there is even less excuse.


Graeme Edgeler said...

I may well regret asking this, but isn't this an instance where you should be talking about sex and not gender? How do you know that all the people on the stage are the same gender (cartoon or VC)?

Julie said...

Well the cartoon makes it clear they are all men, by virtue of outlining the panel discussion topic as it does.

In terms of the VC's debate at Vic, I'm about 96% sure all the participants openly identify as male. That's not 100%, and I'm certainly open to information to the contrary.

Anna V said...

Questions at the end: can we please have women ask as many questions as men.

Let's adopt a policy of trying to alternate between women and men askers. At so many meetings it seems to be a long rant thinly disguised as a question by a guy, then a few more like this, then a pertinent, short actual question posed by a woman.

ewsm said...

Hear hear Anna.

I've been to only one public meeting in my lifetime and I was dismayed but not surprised to see most questions being asked by men, and the speaking was dominated by men, even though it looked like about half those present were women.

More awareness of this may lead to less of it. It would be great if women would support each other to speak up, and great also if those in positions of power were aware of it too. Then it may become less unequal.

David S. said...

I don't like the idea of representation by demographic. It shouldn't be assumed that a white male is best represented by a white male or that a maori female is best represented by a maori female, or any other material consideration. People should choose their representation.

This is not to say that the current makeup of our representitive systems doesn't make the existence of underlying prejudices blantently obvious. I think if we had an equal society there would be enough people voting outside of their demographic to indirectly reflect the makeup of society, and questioning why the makeup of our elected bodies doesn't represent the demographics of society exposes the underlying inequalities that exist.

However there's a fine line between using this fact to encourage discussions of equality and encouraging a kind of quota system where officials are elected based on their demographic instead of who they actually represent, which covers up for an underlying prejudice and hurts representation. The purpose of having elected officials is to represent the views of the people who elect them, regardless of their demographic, even if those views are prejudicial.