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Gender discrimination

with 147 comments

Helen Coonan has an op-ed in the AFR (no link, sorry) today talking about female under representation on Australian corporate boards. She quotes some stark statistics. Women chair 2 percent of ASX200 companies, hold 8.3 percent of directorships and 10.7 percent of executive positions. By contrast women constitute 33 percent of appointments to government boards and constitute 37 percent of public service senior executives. On face value that looks like a big difference – it is a big difference, but are those stats comparable? As I’ll argue below, the answer is ‘no’.

She then goes to argue that the costs of this sort of labour market discrimination are very high – a Goldman Sachs JB Were analysis suggests it could be as high as 11 percent of GDP. Furthermore, institutional investors are beginning to evaluate factors such as gender diversity when making investment decisions. So a lack of female talent on corporate boards may result in a higher cost of capital for large corporations. That is even before the Rudd government intervenes with heavy handed regulations. Okay, so it looks like there may be some grounds to argue that ‘something must be done’.

Coonan makes the point

The economic benefits and boost to productivity of increasing female participation in the workforce are well understood.

That is probably true. The more people who are able to and want to participate in the workforce the better off we all are. This is the same argument for open borders or just even larger migration intakes.

But I have a number of problems with Coonan’s position. She makes the argument that

corporate Australia has settled for recruiting 90 per cent of its leadership positions from just 50 per cent of the available talent.

This is a very common argument – we can call it the ‘quota argument’. The gender mix is about 50:50 therefore all positions should have a similar gender split. Herein lies the first problem; female participation in the economy is lower than male participation. Already we must expect more males than females at all levels. How much more? That is the 11 per cent of GDP question.

The ‘quota argument’ recognises that we need to have a theory of how many women we should expect to observe at any one level. It then uses the most simple and naïve theory going – that’s not automatically wrong, but in this instance we should do better. So the first thing lacking is a theory of how many women there should be.

The next thing to consider is an explanation as to why there are so few women in very senior roles. Here I want to make two points; first relates to the gender division of labour and second to the voluntary nature of the labour market. The first point is that women have children – for women this is a huge physical and emotional investment that is disruptive of economic activity. The next point is that participation in the labour market is voluntary. The amount of investment in human capital to succeed at the highest levels of corporate Australia is likely to be very high, and probably many women choose not to make that investment – especially so when they have already made a huge investment in fertility decisions. This argument suggests that at some margin the fertility decision crowds out some high level human capital decisions.

So do I have any evidence to support this outrageous idea? Yes, almost. I don’t know of a paper looking at corporates, but I do know of a paper that looks at women in science (gated version) (emphasis added).

Many studies have shown that women are under-represented in tenured ranks in the sciences. We evaluate whether gender differences in the likelihood of obtaining a tenure track job, promotion to tenure, and promotion to full professor explain these facts using the 1973-2001 Survey of Doctorate Recipients. We find that women are less likely to take tenure track positions in science, but the gender gap is entirely explained by fertility decisions. We find that in science overall, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor after controlling for demographic, family, employer and productivity covariates and that in many cases, there is no gender difference in promotion to tenure or full professor even without controlling for covariates. However, family characteristics have different impacts on women’s and men’s promotion probabilities. Single women do better at each stage than single men, although this might be due to selection. Children make it less likely that women in science will advance up the academic job ladder beyond their early post-doctorate years, while both marriage and children increase men’s likelihood of advancing.

This result is consistent with the crowding out type argument that I suggested. The really important point, I believe, is that women choose the life they wish to pursue, and most women choose to have children. Schemes and efforts to promote women at the very highest levels are a form of social engineering that disregards the choices many women make for themselves. This isn’t saying that women can’t have children and succeed at the highest levels, because some do. But we should recognise that many don’t because they don’t want to make the huge double investment that such a choice would entail. Quite rightly many women take to view that there is more to life than just economic/corporate success.

This brings me to Harold Demsetz’s three fallacies of social engineering. The first fallacy is that people could be different; the second is that there are free lunches, and the third is that the grass is greener on the other side. The argument Coonan makes (and she isn’t alone) contains two of the three fallacies. They want women to make different choices than the one’s they actually make, and they believe these choices are free. It is harder for women to climb the corporate ladder (especially at the very high levels) than it is for men. This is largely due to the gender division of labour. Policies that aim to make it easier for women to participate should operate through that channel. To be fair the Australian government (since Howard) has been trying to do so, but with much criticism and I suspect not much success. (In one respect this makes a comparison with Europe of little interest, fertility has declined substantially and women there face a different trade-off).

The last point I want to make (in what is a very long post) relates to comparisons between the public and private sectors. First the public sector does not have a profit motive; subsequently the costs of affirmative action are lower in the public sector than in the private sector. I’m not suggesting that all appointments in the public sector constitute affirmative action, but I am suggesting that the appointment criteria in the public sector are likely to be somewhat different to those in the private sector. People making appointments in the public sector can indulge their preferences for gender diversity far more than can private sector decision makers. (See Gary Becker’s work on discrimination for this argument). The next point relates to the number of appointments made by decision makers in the public and private sectors. A private sector organisation may search for a person to fill one position. They will invariably identify several highly qualified individuals of whom they select one. The government, by contrast, has many high level positions to be filled and also undertakes a search and invariably will identify several; highly qualified individuals of whom they can select several to fill those positions. A single decision maker with many positions to fill and a preference for greater gender diversity can more easily achieve that diversity than a single decision maker with fewer positions.

Of course, none of this suggests that there is never gender discrimination but it does suggest that simply undertaking head counts is not enough to show discrimination. The other point that needs emphasis is that government (or the opposition for that matter) should work to ensure that people can live the lives they choose and not the lives that elitists think they should choose.

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Written by Sinclair Davidson

January 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

147 Responses

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  1. Sinkers getting a board job is completely different to getting a ‘real’ job.

    What normally happens is that the Chairman and CEO will ‘look around ‘for suitable talent.

    Perhaps advertising the positions will open up the procedure which is very closed at present.

    Board positions are very different from ordinary jobs and yes boards do like ‘gender balance’ it is just they know so few who can do it.
    This comes back to the selection process.

    I agree with you discussion on ‘ordinary’ jobs however board positions are different.

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm

  2. Commentators on this subject concentrate on company boards because the names are visible and gender ratios easily calculated.
    Wrong target.
    Board seats are not positions of power, though increasingly they are positions of heavy responsibility. A non-executive director in a large company has very little influence over what the business does or how it does it. At most, the board might have a power of veto over something the chief executive wants to do but exercising that power is pretty close to firing him or her.
    Much more important are senior management positions where it seems women who want an all consuming career are doing pretty well.
    I once worked for a fellow who said if we hire plenty of young women for entry level positions, they will work their way through to senior management – if they want to.
    His view was that we could not afford to ignore 50% of the brains in the world but we were not going to be less demanding on women.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm

  3. Good grief, I think I am agreeing with Homer.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

  4. also, it might not be gender. gender correlates with height and there seems to be a sweet spot for height with these positions. for example in the US less than 3% of CEOs are 188 cm even though about 26% of the male population fall in this bound

    drscroogemcduck

    January 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm

  5. Donty worry Ken there are some occasions where you might actually think rather reacting

    Butterfield, Bloomfield & Bishop

    January 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm

  6. damm html: that should be less than 170cm or greater than 188cm.

    drscroogemcduck

    January 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm

  7. An excellent blog post, Sinclair. here’s a money quote:

    The really important point, I believe, is that women choose the life they wish to pursue, and most women choose to have children. Schemes and efforts to promote women at the very highest levels are a form of social engineering that disregards the choices many women make for themselves.

    .
    Plus, I liked th point about the need for a theory of what the percentages should be. Bring on the modelling!

    daddy dave

    January 14, 2010 at 1:38 pm

  8. Ironically this form of “logic” is motivated by a reasonable degree of misogyny. No respect is given to the possibility that a great many women simply might have no interest in sitting on corporate boards.

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

  9. And usually the response to what I just posted is “ah-hah, yes, but it is the structural misogyny in our society that discourages women from putting their hands up”. This type of reasoning is not quite as empirically-bereft as the current syllogistic trope that starts from the assumption that white Australians are racist and concludes that white Australians are racist, without ever adducing any evidence. But it is still lame.

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm

  10. the structural misogyny in our society that discourages women from putting their hands up
    .
    The same structural mysogyny prevents men from getting pregnant or breastfeeding. Bastards aren’t we?

    daddy dave

    January 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm

  11. Yep

    tal

    January 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm

  12. I simply wouldn’t worry about it. If gender equality is an issue 20-30 years down the road, it is a preference for vocations, rather than discrimination.

    Centuries of discrimination won’t change when you pass a law. You need generational change. Wait and it will happen.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 14, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  13. If we were hearing from lots of women who think there corporate board ambitions have been frustrated by male sexism then Coonan might have a point. But when the noise being made is by women who have no trouble being invited onto boards such as Coonan, then its hard to get concerned.

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm

  14. I think you are absolutely spot on Sinc. Having worked at a major commercial law firm in an earlier life and seen what’s happened to my cohort since then, I think most women – even the brightest and ostensibly most ambitious in their 20s – want to have kids and be taken care of in their 30s. I can count the exceptions in my sphere on one hand. Corporate life is ultimately a bit of a wank and the novelty wears off after a while. So it’s not surprising that many women choose a different path.

    Sleetmute

    January 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm

  15. Sleetmute

    My observation is that the brighter and more academically outstanding the woman, the more likely she is to walk away from high-pressured long-hour careers in corporate law firms and similar. But my other observation is that those same women are more likely to marry even wealthier and more successful men. 😉

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 2:27 pm

  16. If people are harbouring the illusion that there misogyny and outright sexual discrimination are not significant I suggest reading Tales From The Boom-Boom Room. Illuminating.
    .
    The point’s been made that boardroom position are not ordinary jobs. A lot of exec positions are, likewise, not ordinary jobs. One gets them via the networks one has made in school and at university. Those networks are often gender exclusive.
    .
    Motherhood is, no doubt a major inhibition to high flying. I’m not arguing about that. And I’m skeptical that the solution will come simply by deploying reverse discrimination. But there is discrimination. Sometimes overt sometimes unconscious.

    Adrien

    January 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm

  17. The other point that needs emphasis is that government (or the opposition for that matter) should work to ensure that people can live the lives they choose and not the lives that elitists think they should choose.
    .
    Who are these elites? It’s interesting that ‘elites’ these days denote exclusively anyone with a brain who has the temerity to be critical. It’s as if our society is dominated entirely by left-wing apparachniks. No doubt they are elites. But they are not as elite as people who sit on boards of corporations and/or those who own large interests in said firms. And they are just as elite as the author of this post. No more, no less.

    Adrien

    January 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm

  18. Adrien anyone with a brain would be inquiring into what women who do not sit on boards think, not the elites who are already there.

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

  19. Adrien anyone with a brain would be inquiring into what women who do not sit on boards think, not the elites who are already there.
    .
    What does this have to do with anything?

    Adrien

    January 14, 2010 at 6:12 pm

  20. Adrien it would help clarify the extent to which women are being kept out the boardroom by misogyny or through their own choices and preferences.

    Peter Patton

    January 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm

  21. This is a very good post, Sinclair, and articulates what I’ve noticed for a long time. You don’t have to be a very good statistician to control for childbirth and discover that in most industrialized economies, childless women are on par with men or slightly ahead of men when it comes to wages and promotion (this was my experience in a large law firm, as well, for what the anecdata is worth).

    Adrien: I do think Sinclair has a point not so much about elites but about the very great dangers of decisions made by people on behalf of others who are wholly or mostly unlike themselves. It is relatively easy for a childless woman who does not particularly care for children (I am one) to finish up in a position where she can pull policy levers, often very powerful ones.

    I have long suspected that this is behind policies that pay for childcare, say, rather than policies that facilitate family formation (income splitting, for example). It is very easy to get carried away with outcomes (‘we need to make up that 11% loss in GDP somehow!’) even if this means designing policies that do not facilitate human choice.

    In short, it is ridiculous to expect 50/50 gender parity everywhere. It is not ridiculous to expect respect for people’s autonomous choices, whether they be to have children or not.

    skepticlawyer

    January 15, 2010 at 1:30 am

  22. Most women who have babies do so as part of a relationship with a man. It’s not good enough to say that someone who is skilled enough and experienced enough, but who’s missed a year or two out of thirty, is ineligible or at a disadvantage in landing a board position. What’s silly is to even consider that this might be a disadvantage.

    The great example of discrimination as poor governance is with David Jones Ltd. This is a company that relies utterly upon women for its business. The fact that there is only one woman on that company’s board, and scarcely represented among senior management, proves that company is not serious about applying rigorous scrutiny to its operations.

    The challenge in proving gender discrimination is getting hard evidence for the anecdotal whereby capable women are passed over for mediocre men.

    Andrew Elder

    January 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

  23. Adrien, it’s entirely possible that there is gender bias in the world of boards and directorships. That’s not inconsistent with Sinclair’s point.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

  24. Andrew Elder:
    “It’s not good enough to say that someone who is skilled enough and experienced enough, but who’s missed a year or two out of thirty, is ineligible or at a disadvantage in landing a board position.”
    .
    nobody is saying that.
    .
    The challenge in proving gender discrimination is getting hard evidence for the anecdotal whereby capable women are passed over for mediocre men.
    .
    Too bad. If ‘hard evidence’ is too hard to get, then you’re SOL. Anecdotal evidence can be misleading, biased, and simply wrong.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 9:40 am

  25. Look, 10 years ago, before I had kids, I would have been OUTRAGED by those statistics. But…once I had kids…suddenly my desire to climb the corporate ladder totally melted. People who knew me 10 years ago cannot believe it; I was a very ambitious woman, and I doubt anyone would have seen me at home with two kids right now, including myself. So nowadays, I tend to think that maybe there aren’t more female CEOs in part because women decide that there’s better things to do with their time.

    Nonetheless, I do think that there are systemic hurdles for women who choose to climb the corporate ladder. My sister was talking about a client function where the 90% male group decided to decamp to a strip club. Of course, she excused herself, having no particular desire to attend. She was excluded from the bonding session which would have resulted. Or the barrister who said to me, “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it” (I went on to win the application against him, hahahahaha). These are the kind of things you have to face all the time.

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 9:42 am

  26. LE: My sister was talking about a client function where the 90% male group decided to decamp to a strip club. Of course, she excused herself, having no particular desire to attend. She was excluded from the bonding session which would have resulted.

    Betcha she didn’t miss much. I avoided such things, including Japanese hostess bars, and it did not harm my career.
    In your sister’s situation the blokes would have probably been too drunk by then anyway to remember who was there.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 15, 2010 at 10:52 am

  27. What a wank the whole anti-discrimination industry is?

    How can anyone argue that diversity of sex will add more money to the bottom line? The whole thing is ludicrous. Most of the female executives I have known have been much of a muchness with their male colleagues: some are good, most are total twats. There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about having more women in buisness.

    Rococo Liberal

    January 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

  28. Elder:

    Who really gives a toss that the senior ranks at DG’s are male? the people that make the decisions about the merchandise are possibly the more important people and my guess is that a number of them are female. However if they’re not, big deal.

    —————

    It’s a little tiring having to read about this crap all the time.

    If females want to climb the corp ladder then don’t have freaking kids and play the game, otherwise stop the freaking whining like Coonan.

    Lastly about the issues of wage and salary discrimination…

    If that’s true why hasn’t anyone arbitraged that obvious differential out of the market and made a killing? I don’t want to hear any shit about this other than cold hard facts. If the female wage/salary is so much lower than males that Sharon Burrows suggests she should explain why in the age of “greedy” companies no one has exploited it.

    We all know why, because it doesn’t exist. In other words, it’s bullshit.

    If women want to be taken a little more seriously, they need to stop the whining.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

  29. I agree with RL, the discrimination industry is a wank. However I would also add that it’s also a freaking racket and designed to exploit.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

  30. Most women aren’t interested in corporate board loitering for the simple reason that they don’t want to end up like this woman, with only an empty fruit bowl for company. It’s not complicated.

    C.L.

    January 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

  31. Of it’s a racket, JC. Are Autralkian aborigines any better off as a result of the Aboriginal whinging lobbyists? no, but the3 lobbyists are. Are the underclass any better off thanks to the actions of the lefty whingers who represent them in PArliament, no. All you have to do to be a lefty on the government bandwagon is claim that you want to help minorities and the disadvantaged, and everyone will believe you, even if your polociy presriptions end up making life for a bit worse for most of us but a lot worse for your victim groups.

    Rococo Liberal

    January 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

  32. CL

    If that’s her house, all I can say is she has no aesthetic sense what soever. Green cupboards? Yuk!

    Rococo Liberal

    January 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm

  33. RC:

    The big push by the union movement this year, from what I read is to argue there is wage discrimination.

    If what Burrows is asserting is true, she needs to explain exactly why firms aren’t taking advantage of it, making big money and also making their shareholders happy.

    We know why, because it’s crap.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm

  34. “There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about having more women in buisness.”

    What about doubling the pool of talent from which to draw?

    You don’t think much, do you RL?

    FDB

    January 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm

  35. You’re assuming no women on a board means they don’t even get looked at for the position etc.

    Talk about cross purposes. You’re talking about competition and RL is talking about results. I believe you’re both right.

    What you’re saying is also a little unrefined. A board of ten men sees half their ranks go to women. You’ve inferred the board is twice as productive and that women are three times as useful as men. We haven’t developed a society with that gender imbalance yet so it’s an absurd conclusion you never intended to get to.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm

  36. What a dopey comment. It assumes that the “pool of talent” is being maliciously halved whereas in fact most of that other half have no interest in being corporate board junkies. The true sexism is in this earnest lefty push to define for the ladies what they should prioritise in their own lives.

    C.L.

    January 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm

  37. How many chicks in your band, FDB?

    50-50?

    C.L.

    January 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

  38. FDB:

    If you can clearly demonstrate to me there is an arbitrage opportunity .. that is a wage gap … as a result of discrimination in the work place, draw up a business plan for a firm that requires lots of labor content and we’ll make a fortune skimming at least 30% off the wage differential.

    You won’t be able to of course because the wage discrimination is bullshit.

    In fact I would invite any leftie to present evidence that firms are not exploiting available opportunities to maximize profits such as this arbitrage the feminist movement and the cute Sharon Burrows have magically discovered.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm

  39. FDB

    The vast majority of the women who aren’t in the talent pool for senior positions would have the same level of talent as those people already in the pool, so I doubt whether the addition of these ladies would actually increase the quality of the pool. And as there is a limited number of positions any increase in the pool an increase in the numbers in the pool is really irrelevant.

    The point is that we shouldn’t give a toss whether a position is filled by a man or a woman. We shouldn’t care if for some reason women don’t gravitate towards certain roles.

    On a positive note, I see that there are now plenty of women working in those last bastions of male domination, road gangs and building and construction. But of course these jobs don’t count with the feministas. All women according to them can walk into the boardroom tomorrow and run the world.

    Rococo Liberal

    January 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  40. There are a fistful of studies both academic and privately commisioned studies from the likes of Goldman Sachs that show a positive correlation between a higher number of women at senior levels and overall performance. So there is quite of lot of empirical evidence that contradicts the claim that “There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about having more women in buisness.” Diversity and adaptability are linked so it is logical that large organisations do better if their ‘gene’ pool is diverse.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm

  41. How can anyone argue that diversity of sex will add more money to the bottom line?
    .
    Women have different perceptions and different ways of doing things than men. This diversity is a strength. It’s central to the Western tradition that conservatives love to carp about whilst at the same time casually dismantling it or expressing outrage at those that possess the temerity to take advantage of it.
    .
    But the bottom line can go fuck itself. Women have rights same as men. And if and where we find discrimination against them it is in the interests of those rights that we expose said discrimination and, where possible, act against it.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm

  42. Adrien, with all this ranting about discrimination, it’s hard to tell whether or not you agree with Sinclair’s position.
    Specifically, that fewer women with board positions is at least partly due to fewer women choosing to climb the ladder, or having an unbroken climb that isn’t punctuated by child-raising. In fact it may be mostly due to those factors.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  43. I do think Sinclair has a point not so much about elites but about the very great dangers of decisions made by people on behalf of others who are wholly or mostly unlike themselves.
    .
    I agree. But the rhetorical trick whereby what someone says is categorically discredited because s/he belongs to some neferious elite out of the common touch is something that is used time and again to push valid criticisms aside without due consideration. It is used, for example, in Egypt to oust intellectuals who suggest that actual democracy, the rule of law and an open market unrigged by aristo cronies might improve the country some.
    .
    The language there is dispiritingly similar to that of Western tabloids. That a childless woman in possession of power might use that power to make other women more like her is cause for caution. But it is not cause to disregard what she says entirely. And Sinclair is also a member of an elite.
    .
    Any member of any elite who can effect public policy does so from a lofty position. When the likes of Mr Bolt disparage elites forcing the poor ordinary people to do something against their inclinations he always does so only for those of the ‘left’ (Ms Coonan is a Lib MP).
    .
    It’s a habit that runs contrary to the free exchange of ideas and the fair competition that supposedly ensues thereby. I expect better here.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

  44. DD – Adrien, with all this ranting about discrimination, it’s hard to tell whether or not you agree with Sinclair’s position.
    .
    That motherhood is an impediment to a woman’s career is obvious (to everyone who isn’t a doctrinairre feminist). That this factoid is being used to deny sexual discrimination and to camouflage a reaction against the emancipation of women is less so. I don’t believe Sinclair is doing that however.
    .
    My initial comment was about rhetorical style and its implications. The above comment was in reaction to a tone detectable here some places that would like to return to the days where all women were thought incapable of public success.
    .
    I also think L’eagle’s strip club anecdote tells us something. If you want to hear it.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

  45. Legal Eagle

    So nowadays, I tend to think that maybe there aren’t more female CEOs in part because women decide that there’s better things to do with their time.

    This is what I mean when I suggest the trope that gender differentials in board rooms is caused by misogyny is itself misogynist.

    The trope simply ignores the tapestry of aspirations, preferences, and priorities among women.

    In order to validate this trope we need evidence of large numbers of women whose boardroom aspirations are denied or frustrated by sexist males.

    Legal Eagle has cited the data point of one woman – herself – who pulled out of the race due to a change in preferences – she found fulfillment in a different vocation; her preferences changed. Now LE is but one data point. Perhaps she is unusual, and all her fellow ambitious female lawyers from her twenties still aspire to board positions, but have been denied or blocked due to misogynist male boards. In that case, let them tell their stories.

    Until we start hearing from those women who make up the 40% required to achieve gender parity on corporate boards, simply ascribing the gap to “misogyny” is not only lazy ideology we should scorn, it is contemptuous of women in its refusal to explore the far more interesting question of what exactly are the ambitions and preferences of that large group of women.

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 3:37 pm

  46. That motherhood is an impediment to a woman’s career is obvious
    .
    okay. So then, I guess we can all agree that it will impact on work statistics, especially higher up the ladder where competition is tougher.
    And in that case, wanting a 50/50 split for things like board positions is not only unrealistic, it ignores the relative numbers of men and women that are eligible and qualified for such positions.
    .
    a tone detectable here some places that would like to return to the days where all women were thought incapable of public success.
    .
    I didn’t detect that tone. I think it’s possibly in the eye of the beholder.
    .
    I also think L’eagle’s strip club anecdote tells us something.
    .
    I’m not sure what it tells us. It tells us about one person on one night out. It’s a standard anecdotal form about boys networks, yet in all my adult years I have never known work colleagues to attend a strip club together on the basis of a casual after-work drink. Therefore my intuition is that it’s highly atypical, although I could be wrong. Whether or not it’s atypical, it’s also my experience that getting drunk with work colleagues is vastly over-rated as a way of achieving success.
    .
    That’s not to say that there isn’t discrimination. But lets see some realistic estimates of what the percentage of men and women should be in these positions, compare it to the actual percentages, and then make up our minds.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm

  47. “I also think L’eagle’s strip club anecdote tells us something. If you want to hear it”

    Well I’m deaf and not blind. Spell it out.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

  48. “Women have different perceptions and different ways of doing things than men. This diversity is a strength.”

    All women and all men? Most women and most men?
    Nonsense.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm

  49. Adrien, I don’t know if it was your intention (conscious or unconscious) but your posts reveal an explicit devaluing of motherhood and children; motherhood is an annoying impediment to the more worthy vocation of climbing the corporate ladder. If only children could be produced and baked ex utero, delivered by the stork, and raised by fairies!

    This misogynist prejudice is a hangover from a previous era, and a misguided faction of feminism (though thankfully only one faction) that despised the uterus and all its implications. Unfortunately many males (particularly childless men) from that era thinking they were doing the right thing by showing solidarity with that faction of women, still misguidedly spout the same prejudice.

    Subsequent generations of feminists (both men and women) have rejected the stern ‘career over uterus’ brigade of the olden days, and as Legal Eagle says, found there is a lot more joy and fulfillment to be had in this world than climbing the greasy pole.

    More power to them.

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  50. “There are a fistful of studies both academic and privately commisioned studies from the likes of Goldman Sachs that show a positive correlation between a higher number of women at senior levels and overall performance.”

    Evidence please, su.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  51. Diversity and adaptability are linked so it is logical that large organisations do better if their ‘gene’ pool is diverse.
    .
    Yeah, but diversity takes many forms, not just PC-style diversity. e.g., diversity in what kind of degree you got, where you got it, your corporate experience, experience elsewhere, your skill base, what networks you’re a part of, what parts of the organisation interest you most, how you function in a crisis, whether you’re big-picture or detail-oriented, etc.
    .
    That’s the kind of diversity that counts when you’re trying to steer a large organisation.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 4:05 pm

  52. @ Ken N – I’m sure you can google as well as I can but here are a couple of links:
    Ernst and Young(PDF).
    Article from the Boston Globe that mentions Pepperdine study and a couple of others.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm

  53. Out of my colleagues – well, there’s a real variety. There’s some women who positively don’t want children, and never intend to have any. I respect them. Not every woman wants to have children.

    I have a close friend who tries to have it all. She has one child and a high power job which she works four days a week technically (although it seems to take up a fair amount of “non-working time too). She’s about to have her second child, and I’ll be interested to see whether she can keep this up.

    Then I have a number of friends who are like me. They work part-time, or on a contract basis, or from home so that they can care for their children primarily but still keep a foot in the door employment-wise.

    The thing that has really shocked me recenttly, however, is that my most ambitious female friend had a baby about six months ago. Well, she was previously my most ambitious friend. She came over last weekend and said that she would prefer to stay home with her child, and that she’s dreading going back to work.

    Yes, my stories of strip joints and stuff are anecdotal. And yes, such things exclude men who might be uncomfortable with strip joints as well as women. But I have a giant catalogue of anecdotes if you want to test ’em. Let’s discuss a barrister friend who was consistently hit on by older, sleazy, married barristers when she started out at the bar. I mean consistently (one or two of them would come into her office every day, sometimes while I was having a client conference with her). I don’t know why the simple fact that she was female, attractive and intelligent meant that they thought she was fair game. She asked them politely to leave her alone, and pointed out that she was in a long term relationship, but they didn’t leave her alone. She ended up having to move Chambers because it got so bad. It just makes it more difficult than it would be for a guy if you have to put up with that kind of rubbish, although credit to her, she came through it with flying colours. And she’s doing fantastically at the Bar (she’s one of my friends who will never have kids).

    My concern is that we have to allow for all choices. It’s not wrong to make the choice I make and decide you want to devote time to kids, with only a little left over for career at this stage at least. It’s not wrong to make the choice my barrister friend made, and decide you’re going to devote yourself to career and not have kids. Nor is it wrong to try and balance it all. So we shouldn’t force women into being CEOs just for the sake of it. But nor should we ignore issues that may make it more difficult for them than men to make it to that position.

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm

  54. Su

    No one is talking about lowering the “gene pool”. What people are actually taking about is creating an inferior “gene pool” through quotas.

    Perhaps Goldman ought to focus on how to give people better stock tips than worrying about diversity. Maybe the idiot that wrote that should on fly on planes that have affirmative action programs and diversity quotas for pilots..

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm

  55. @ Daddy Dave – Sure but by definition to attain “diversity of experience” you will need to have women and people from ethnically diverse backgrounds and also people with disabilities. If you use your google-fu you will come up with some studies on workplace diversity enhancing problem-solving. In fact diverse teams outperform more experienced monocultures.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm

  56. But the bottom line can go fuck itself.

    That statement really doesn’t make sense. Do lefties actually believe that in this competitive age a better suited female wouldn’t get the job over a male with inferior quals. You guys are out of your minds.

    Women have rights same as men.

    Yea, so why is Coonan pushing for quotas based on gender that would give females more rights than men?

    And if and where we find discrimination against them it is in the interests of those rights that we expose said discrimination and, where possible, act against it.

    Fine. The challenge I offered FDB also applies to you. Go find an industry with high labor concentration and we’ll kill it by hiring an all female staff and pocket the wage difference.

    The fact is you won’t be able to as there isn’t any change.

    The only reason why women are able to work outside the home these days is not because of the bullshit “great strides” that has been made by the feminazi movement. It’s purely because of technology… that is we use a huge amount of labor saving devices than we used to and gals have more time. That’s all.

    The rest is all leftist feminazi bullshit. There haven’t been any “strides” made through politics other than fucking up the labor market even more with crap studies meant to show discrimination.

    If any private firm discriminates by hiring inferior staff you don’t an to work there as it will eventually fuck itself up.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 4:29 pm

  57. Su – that’s not a study, that’s marketing to female campus applicants.

    They quote a study recognising female “involvement” in large firms as a sign of quality. The study didn’t correlate gender equity to quality.

    Any firm that is meritocratic, big picture focused but ultimately cares about the bottom line will hire a mix of people. Gender equity, or scaled down national demographics may not emerge and merit will should always rule over birthright. A firm that selects on results, education and experience and having no institutional preference for either sex with a 70% dominance of females isn’t discriminating against men.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

  58. SU:

    Perhaps you ought to tell Goldman to stop hiring only out of the Ivy league, because you know that would promote lots of “diversity” and widen the “gene pool”.

    Go ask them to do that and see what the response is.

    “Diversity” is now another one of the English words that the left has totally destroyed. It has lost its real meaning to the extent that it could mean anything. It as bad as “eternality”, “narrative” and “sustainability”. Words the leftist wrecking ball has go to.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

  59. Women have different perceptions and different ways of doing things than men. This diversity is a strength. It’s central to the Western tradition that conservatives love to carp about whilst at the same time casually dismantling it or expressing outrage at those that possess the temerity to take advantage of it.
    .
    But the bottom line can go fuck itself. Women have rights same as men. And if and where we find discrimination against them it is in the interests of those rights that we expose said discrimination and, where possible, act against it.

    Bla bla bla-bla bla bla. Most women don’t want to do what men do and so, consequently, they don’t. Adrien, like most lefties, wants the ladies to do what HE wants. He wants them to fight the power.

    Or something.

    Curiously, the same lefties hate and vilify Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin and Janet Albrechtsen and Julie Bishop and Mother Teresa and Angela Merkel and Condi Rice and… you get the picture. To lefties, good women are women who stay on the lefty reservation.

    C.L.

    January 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm

  60. Sorry su, still advocacy stuff rather than serious research. Whenever I read “numerous studies show..” I reach for my gun.

    I simply don’t believe that there is such a correlation. I can believe that an organisation that refuses to employ women will probably not be a good performer, partly because it is closing the door to many potentially valuable people but also because it probably indicates closed minds, which are not usually a contributor to business success.

    ken nielsen

    January 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm

  61. That article refers to a paper by Renee Adams of UQ. It was published in the November 2009 Journal of Financial Economics. Here is the abstract (emphasis added).

    We show that female directors have a significant impact on board inputs and firm outcomes. In a sample of US firms, we find that female directors have better attendance records than male directors, male directors have fewer attendance problems the more gender-diverse the board is, and women are more likely to join monitoring committees. These results suggest that gender-diverse boards allocate more effort to monitoring. Accordingly, we find that chief executive officer turnover is more sensitive to stock performance and directors receive more equity-based compensation in firms with more gender-diverse boards. However, the average effect of gender diversity on firm performance is negative. This negative effect is driven by companies with fewer takeover defenses. Our results suggest that mandating gender quotas for directors can reduce firm value for well-governed firms.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm

  62. LE: agree/agree/agree.

    ken nielsen

    January 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm

  63. JC, I was addressing the claim made in comments that (quote) “There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about having more women in buisnes.” I recognize the OP does not assert this. You seem to be equating the adoption of quotas to the hiring of inferior staff, the one does not automatically lead to the other. Fortune 500 companies in the Pepperdine study mentioned seemed to find the talent pool to be large enough that they could both promote women aggressively and still outperform their rivals. It’s almost like you want to ignore the good news.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm

  64. “Fortune 500 companies in the Pepperdine study mentioned seemed to find the talent pool to be large enough that they could both promote women aggressively and still outperform their rivals. It’s almost like you want to ignore the good news.”

    The converse of this is that they can have gender bias against women and still outperform their rivals, unless you believe in male inferiority.

    The argument positing “diversify or perish” has just devoured itself.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm

  65. According to Sharon Burrows this is the year that the union movement is going to be pushing hard on feminist issues in the work place.

    That’s interesting seeing that the ACTU and its affiliates implement “diversity” in their own workplace and is/are a failed institution by any metric over the past 30 years, as its membership has literally collapsed, with the bare rump now representing the public sector workers who for the most part only have to display proof of life to hold a job.

    The very organization which practices “diversity” that Burrows works for is a failure and if it were a stock it would still be a short as it has been for 30 years.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm

  66. Fortune 500 companies in the Pepperdine study mentioned seemed to find the talent pool to be large enough that they could both promote women aggressively and still outperform their rivals. It’s almost like you want to ignore the good news.

    I don’t see it as good or bad news, Su. I’m basically indifferent to studies like that as I’m not really that interested if a decent executive has a penis or a vagina, whereas you think it makes a difference.

    Furthermore these studies are usually crap anyway as the firms themselves usually make up crap for public appearance purposes and basic propaganda.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm

  67. “Furthermore these studies are usually crap anyway as the firms themselves usually make up crap for public appearance purposes and basic propaganda.”

    I’m shocked, appalled and left disenchanted that greedy capitalists would do such a thing. I thought jumping on the lefty hobbyhorse would make them see the light and behave as Naomi Klein and Michael Moore say they should.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm

  68. CL – Most women don’t want to do what men do and so, consequently, they don’t. Adrien, like most lefties, wants the ladies to do what HE wants. He wants them to fight the power.
    .
    I’ve been labelled an anti-feminist by some over at LP. There’s a lack of orthodoxy indicated therein that fails to penetrate your dense Irish noodle on account of the myopia, intentional or otherwise.
    .
    Curiously, the same lefties hate and vilify Margaret Thatcher
    .
    I have promoted the Iron Baroness as the highest feminist agent the world has seen thus far. Condi Rice would be in the top ten. Sarah Palin’s batshittery has nothing to do with her gender.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm

  69. Adrien,

    I’m not having a go at you, but why do you think Palin is any more of a defecating moonbat than any other Western politician?

    *I mean, what do you read to keep up with things?*

    No seriously, I’m interested.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm

  70. JC – That statement really doesn’t make sense. Do lefties actually believe that in this competitive age a better suited female wouldn’t get the job over a male with inferior quals. You guys are out of your minds.
    .
    This statement has nothing to do with my statement which puts rights over the bottom line. Statements tend not to make sense if you don’t understand ’em.
    .
    Yea, so why is Coonan pushing for quotas based on gender that would give females more rights than men?
    .
    I haven’t endorsed Ms Coonan’s quota. I’m skeptical of quotas. Please read Tales From the Boom-Boom Room, it’s about your industry after all.
    .
    The only reason why women are able to work outside the home these days is not because of the bullshit “great strides” that has been made by the feminazi movement. It’s purely because of technology
    .
    A washing machine won women the right to vote? The entitlement to property? Nonsense.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 5:06 pm

  71. I thought jumping on the lefty hobbyhorse would make them see the light and behave as Naomi Klein and Michael Moore say they should.

    Most large firms practice soft left swill such as this in order to appear with it. The good firms would always try to hire the best talent available, but they also institute safe affirmative action programs, send executive out on diversity , tolerance training to just play ball for public appearance. Everyone knows it’s all crap.

    If a large firm say has a sexual harassment suit they can always point to how they are very cognizant of this stuff and display zero tolerance so they don’t get screwed in a legal suit and named as a co-defendant on account also being accused of running a “hostile workplace”.

    It’s all soft left bullshit and everyone knows it, but they’re forced to maintain the hypocrisy to protect themselves.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm

  72. I think some people are losing sight of what started this discussion. It was Coonan’s op-ed, which contains the following claim:
    corporate Australia has settled for recruiting 90 per cent of its leadership positions from just 50 per cent of the available talent.
    .
    Does anyone here agree with that statement? Is anyone willing to mount a defense of Coonan’s claim?

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

  73. “A washing machine won women the right to vote?”

    You aware of the theory that it (and other consumables, viz a a demand for more leisure time and commodity intensive goods) led to higher workforce participation, the sexual revolution and gender equality?

    That’s what they teach the kids in the schools. A stage 5 history learning outcomes they call it.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm

  74. LOL, outcome

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm

  75. Well I’m deaf and not blind. Spell it out.
    .
    Read L’eagle’s comment below. A lot of the jockeying for position and forming of alliances essential for success in most workplaces, especially high powered ones, happens out of hours. When colleagues socialize they don’t leave work behind, they collude.
    .
    When you choose a strip club you excluding anyone who doesn’t enjoy them even if they go along. They can’t participate. It may be intentional. It may be inadvertent. But it’s not fair. It’s not open. It’s not polite.
    .
    We need a new ettiquette viz men and women for all sorts of reasons. But one thing that must underpin it is the fact that men and women work together. This may be a change from thousands of years of practice. It may be uncomfortable. But we adapt. We’ve been doing that for thousands of years as well.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm

  76. I have promoted the Iron Baroness as the highest feminist agent the world has seen thus far.
    .
    Glad to hear it, Adrien. However I’m with SRL, in questioning the Palin remark. Most of Palin’s alleged ‘batshittery’ is fiction (such as banning books, seeing Russia from her house, Christianism, etc).

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 5:14 pm

  77. Dads

    Coonan is exhibit A why her statement is crap and why any suggestion of programs to reduce that by legislative means would do more damage than good.

    She’s exhibit A because she seems to have also come through an affirmative action program by her party to have more women in politics and made a right royal hash of the communication portfolio when she was in charge. Not as bad as that prick ConTroy but not too far either.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm

  78. And, of course, the mechanisation of production didn’t hurt. The factors and reasons are complex and I think they could equally be represented as cause/ effect.

    dover_beach

    January 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm

  79. “When colleagues socialize they don’t leave work behind, they collude.”

    Why collude when you can plot and brood?

    “We need a new ettiquette viz men and women for all sorts of reasons. But one thing that must underpin it is the fact that men and women work together. This may be a change from thousands of years of practice. It may be uncomfortable. But we adapt. We’ve been doing that for thousands of years as well”

    You mean Starship troopers style universal dunnies? If only such progress meant we looked like Carmen, Johnny and Tess, and not Col. Doogie, Michael Ironside or the buck toothed yokel.

    Seriously though I think it will just take a generation or two for this to wash through – regardless of the Sex Discrimination Act. We just needed a shift in demographics.

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm

  80. oh right Adrien, the workplace suffers without affirmative programs because men go to strip joints and that counts gals out.

    Yep I’m sure that’s right. Every major corporate decision to enact a takeover, spend more on R&D, expand the product like is done while a woman is showing her tits to you during a lap dance while you’re totally drunk.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm

  81. led to higher workforce participation, the sexual revolution and gender equality?
    .
    I don’t exclude technology but it’s worth remembering that the, for example, the right to vote was won before this. The feminist movement is a parodoy of its former self which fought battles and won them.
    .
    I’m not having a go at you, but why do you think Palin is any more of a defecating moonbat than any other Western politician?
    .
    Politics produces an almost universal psychosis. But Palin is an avatar of a movement in the States that seeks to collapse the divide between politics and a very literal minded, distorted and intolerant version of Christianity. They are batshit.
    .
    I mean, what do you read to keep up with things?
    .
    I try to avoid newspapers and don’t watch television. I re-read good stuff. Like Le Carre’s novels. I just finished The Russia House for the second time this morning.
    .
    And of course when I’m online there’s wikipedia 🙂

    No seriously, I’m interested.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  82. Adrien as far as I know Palin is not a Christianist. Yeah there was the “teach both” comment, but it seems like a very big mountain has been constructed from that molehill.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm

  83. “I try to avoid newspapers and don’t watch television.”

    Damn it, no one got the Palin/Katie Couric joke!

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 5:26 pm

  84. Adrien, you describe a workplace that does not resemble any that I came across in, well, many years of business.
    If that is your experience you have been very unlucky in your choice of jobs.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm

  85. “But Palin is an avatar of a movement in the States that seeks to collapse the divide between politics and a very literal minded, distorted and intolerant version of Christianity.”

    You can choose your life partner but you can’t choose your supporters?

    Semi Regular Libertarian

    January 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm

  86. I once witnessed the most horrifying displays in all my years in the workforce..

    I was the early 90’s when the street was getting orgasmic over “diversity programs” so they could show just how attuned they were to the social mores that were developing or perhaps they didn’t want to get slapped as racist by minority group leaders.

    Our firm was interviewing on campus for intern recruits and graduates along with all the others dudes. A black chick with a Harvard undergrad and an MBA from one of the Ivy leagues was on the interview roster.

    This chick ended up with something like 7 job offers and finally took a job at JP Morgan. The firms were literally jumping over themselves to hire her and even offered her more money than the standard grad in order to lock her in the door.

    The schleps in HR were all pushing hard to hire her as she fit the perfect diversity demographic.. She was a woman and she was black.

    Too bad about the fact that some other person who was a from non-in-vogue demographic if he or her offered better potential.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 5:37 pm

  87. Why collude when you can plot and brood?
    .
    🙂
    .
    You mean Starship troopers style universal dunnies?
    .
    I actually think about that movie when this stuff is being discussed. Notice that Dizzy Flores is twice overlooked for promotion. First when they’re picking a squad leader at boot camp (it was she that named the play, Rico just played it). And then, at war, when Rico’s picking his replacement he asks Ace first even tho’ Ace fucked up.
    .
    Men just don’t think of women as contenders and I think that’s a problem. It’s natural but it needs to be addressed (imho).
    .
    It’s why, for example, you don’t see Hannah Arendt included in many anthologies of 20th political philosophy or Artemesia Gentileschi in books on the early Italian Baroque. They both belong there. And have often been excluded, I believe, because men simply don’t take women seriously as competition.
    .
    Of course the problem with the affirmative action approach can also be seen in such books where mediocre women are placed in feminist revisions of such because they are women. I don’t think corporate boards should be required to have a quota but I do think that gender should not impede a woman’s progress to the board. And I think that there is discrimination. Sometimes this result of inadvertencies and sometimes because of pigs who think they can waste company time harassing their colleagues.
    .
    I was involved with the Greens for a short while. I left for ideological reasons. I’m not someone who thinks the answer to everything is a big book of rules and hiking taxes to fund government departments of shangri-la. The crunch came when a woman proposed to write an affirmative action policy requiring a quota of women in the backroom of the party. This was useless. The problem was that very few women wanted to do it. The gender imbalance amongst candidates on the other went the other way. I realised at that moment what it was about the left that made me not one of them.
    .
    I’m not endorsing Ms Coonan’s policy suggestions. I’m saying that the problem she addresses, that is so casually dismissed, might actually be significant. If a problem is significant and the only people who take it seriously offer regulatory solutions, what happens?

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  88. Adrien, you describe a workplace that does not resemble any that I came across in, well, many years of business.
    .
    I wasn’t aware I described any workplace. I described the general tendency of colleagues to form alliances when socializing. Are you saying you’ve never seen that happen?

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm

  89. You can choose your life partner but you can’t choose your supporters?
    .
    I don’t know what you mean. Palin’s supporters and Palin are in synch. If I was a politician and had dangerous supporters I’d distance myself from them.

    Adrien

    January 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm

  90. The irony of a left-wing “diversity” saleswoman trumpeting the authority of Goldman Sachs to push her new found discovery of “productivity” and genetics. Priceless

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm

  91. I’ve heard about company’s hiring a black woman to kill two birds,one stone.I don’t know how true it is.

    tal

    January 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm

  92. “Are you saying you’ve never seen that happen?”

    Colleagues socializing are,in my exerience, mostly telling jokes,gossiping,complaining and BSing each other. Rarely plotting or forming alliances or talking about anything very serious.
    As I said to LE, I doubt that her sister missed anything.

    Ken Nielsen

    January 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm

  93. JC – Coonan had a career before she went into politics. You’re being a bit harsh.

    Sinclair Davidson

    January 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm

  94. Yes, Helen Coonan was quite a trailblazing feminist lawyer and as Sinclair says she had a high profile legal career before parliament. I know she has adult step children (she is married to former NSW Supreme Court judge, Andrew Rogers), but I don’t think she ever had children herself.

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm

  95. Palin’s supporters and Palin are in synch.
    .
    Adrien, just so you know, the right believes that Palin has been unfairly portrayed as a christianist as a way of discrediting her.
    In fact, her core supporters are the Tea Party movement; and the core value of the Tea Party movement is libertarianism and small government.
    .
    Draw your own conclusions from that about what she stands for.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

  96. Putting aside Sarah Palin, per se she is a counterpoint to the ‘misogyny keeping women away from power/corporate boards’ trope. 😉

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

  97. Sneering is not argument Peter Patton. If you actually read the Boston Globe article, it contains a number of cautions and caveats about the various studies, one of which Sinclair pointed out above, that is why I linked to it. In fact the article concludes by saying that the most common interpretation is that companies in which there are more women at senior level are more likely to be genuine meritocracies and that is why they outcompeted their rivals.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

  98. Which firms are they talking about SU and what metrics are they using to measure the outperformance.. Sales, stock price, return on equity?

    Boston Globe is owned by the NYTimes, which means that when we’re talking about this stuff you have to be very careful and have google on hand to try and verify anything they say as they’re totally dishonest on most of these issues.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm

  99. companies in which there are more women at senior level are more likely to be genuine meritocracies and that is why they outcompeted their rivals.
    .
    I can believe that.
    Having a mix of different kinds of people, including women and men, is a marker. It indicates an absence of closed shops, boys clubs, etc. However it is an open question whether quotas can simulate the workings of a genuine meritocracy.
    Actually, scratch that. It isn’t an open question: quotas do no such thing.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm

  100. su

    My point was not about media summaries, my point was about the irony of you invoking the authority of Goldman Sachs.

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 7:08 pm

  101. su

    I read the piece. There’s nothing really surprising about some of the things it says although i does a times sound like a bit of a puff piece.

    The most successful firms seem to be those that offer opportunities to those people that perform and having recognized talent try to offer flexible arrangement to women juggling a family and work.

    I don’t find that’s shocking at all as the best firms are those with the best people.

    If you notice the academic the piece references does suggest that he is very wary of quotas and the study isn’t an endorsement of such programs.

    The part where it suggests women seem to be better able to avoid things that may be too risky appears to be nonsense.

    For the most part business is all about limiting risk for the most reward and I’m not sure that risk adversity should be overriding principle all the time.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm

  102. anyway, you don’t need a woman to offer risk adversity. Stick a lawyer on the board- male or female- and you’ll have all the risk adversity you need and then some.

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm

  103. risk adversity?

    Abu Chowdah

    January 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm

  104. oops

    wrong word selection from microtheft … averse

    jc1

    January 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm

  105. In fact it is quite possible that these studies merely confirm that for those women are interested if you are interested in the life of director on the board of huge corporations, go for it. Other women have.

    Sadly though the articles continue to entrench the misogyny of silencing the voices, aspirations, and preferences of those women who do NOT want or desire the life of a corporate board director.

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm

  106. Rather than the monculture of corporate boards selecting from the ranks of university graduates who have spent years in senior management of huge corporations, for REAL diversity how about a Santa Claus, a beared lady from the circus, an oil rig roustabout, a vertically-challenged hermaphrodite, a sherpa, a kerb-crawler, and so on.

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 7:40 pm

  107. Look, it is perfectly obvious why women aren’t doing so well in business – you have to wear a suit and tie to be on a board. That bloody uniform of the business community. All these independent thinkers walking round like clones. Funny.

    John H.

    January 15, 2010 at 7:45 pm

  108. Given that there are a number of different studies I am not sure which one you are referring to JC but if it is the one that concentrated on Fortune 500 companies then according to the short version of the article they measured profitability as a percent of
    revenues, assets, and stockholders’ equity and they used a fourth measure to compensate for the fact that they were comparing to industry medians which could be distorted by outliers.

    I don’t have any business knowledge at all and so I am not sure about the efficacy of quotas Daddy dave, but to quote from the Boston Globe piece:

    Still, a number of corporate leaders maintain that senior women confer a competitive advantage. CEOs such as Carlos Ghosn of Nissan and Renault, Andrew Gould of Schlumberger, and Michel Landel of Sodexho have spoken of the promotion of women as a key to business growth, and their companies have all introduced policies, including numerical targets, to encourage it. Baxter International Inc., citing research on the financial benefits, recently set and reached a target of 50 percent women in management and executive positions in its Asia Pacific branches

    Clearly there are corporations that disagree with you and for them to adopt targets in the absence of statutory requirement seems to me to speak volumes. I don’t believe any organization would go that far simply to garner “PC” brownie points. They are putting their potential profitability where their mouth is.

    I don’t believe it is only down to meritocracies as I believe that diversity confers benefits above the value of each individual person’s skills and as I mentioned above, there is some support for that idea in the literature.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm

  109. They are putting their potential profitability where their mouth is.

    Cool. The system works. No need to invoke government.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm

  110. “That bloody uniform of the business community. All these independent thinkers walking round like clones. Funny.”

    Would you prefer lab coats? Seriously, do you imagine that people in casual clothes are ipso facto creative? In fact, when people wear casual clothes we very rarely see a great diversity in their mode of dress.

    dover_beach

    January 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm

  111. On the subject of workplaces which have to be seen to be believed… Some friends of mine have worked in workplaces which I simply would not believe if I didn’t trust these two women implicitly. I know two women who worked in law firms where sexual harassment was just the norm, and I mean sexual harassment, not where some woman takes offence at a raunchy cartoon. One was repeatedly asked by her married boss why she wouldn’t put out for him, was she a lesbian or something? The boss was already having an affair with the other female partner in the section, and obviously wanted to diversify. The other woman asked me tentatively, “Do you ever discuss sex at your workplace?” When I uttered a horrified “NO!” this woman told me that her bosses always discussed their latest sexual exploits at Friday morning teas, and that she’d been propositioned by both of them. She was also penalised for complaining about it.

    That’s the kind of thing which drives young women out of the workplace, and it nearly drove both of these two out of the law altogether. Luckily they were both strong enough to come through that and they now work in decent workplaces.

    I haven’t ever seen any of that kind of behaviour in any of my workplaces, I should add. The closest incident I can describe is that a fellow who was a notorious lunch time drinker walked by (obviously after his lunchtime liquid lunch) and said, “I love your tits in that top.” I was holding a bit of paper, and I rolled it up, hit him on the bottom and said, laughingly, “And I love your ass in those pants.” He was most embarrassed. Score: Me 100, Him 0.

    On the other hand, I abhor the kind of affirmative action JC is describing. It does nobody any good. The candidates suffer from the perception that they’re not promoted on talent but on gender and race bases. The other employees feel resentful. The firm doesn’t necessarily get the best person for the job. From being slightly doubtful about affirmative action, I have now come to think that quotas and the like should be utterly avoided.

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm

  112. On the other hand, I abhor the kind of affirmative action JC is describing. It does nobody any good. The candidates suffer from the perception that they’re not promoted on talent but on gender and race bases

    Just look at Michelle Obama. A resentful, seething, AA product on 6-figures.

    Michael Fisk

    January 15, 2010 at 8:14 pm

  113. Would you prefer lab coats? Seriously, do you imagine that people in casual clothes are ipso facto creative? In fact, when people wear casual clothes we very rarely see a great diversity in their mode of dress.

    Oh for heaven’s sake DB I was just having some fun. Get off your high horse.

    John H.

    January 15, 2010 at 8:19 pm

  114. Stick a lawyer on the board- male or female- and you’ll have all the risk adversity you need and then some.

    LOL. Yeah. We can be a bit like that because we spend all our time looking at what could go wrong or what has gone wrong.

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm

  115. Point taken, Michael Fisk, although when you have large corporations and entire governments described as operating Ponzi schemes I think the statement “the system works” is still contentious. (Happy now Peter Patton?)

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 8:22 pm

  116. for REAL diversity how about a Santa Claus, a beared lady from the circus, an oil rig roustabout, a vertically-challenged hermaphrodite, a sherpa, a kerb-crawler, and so on
    .
    what you got against vertically-challenged hermaphrodites?

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 8:29 pm

  117. su

    I was never unhappy. I just think it is time for thoughtful and educated people to declare war on the orgy of sloppy, ignorant, ill-informed bigotry that privileges dated, hackneyed ideologies over the hard work of evidence; the misogyny that silences the rich tapestry of women’s agency. Contemptible examples such as yours on this thread should be among the first to go.

    Happy now?

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm

  118. daddy dave

    Nothing! That is why I am appalled at their being discriminated against on corporate boards! 🙂

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm

  119. What YOU got against bearded ladies from the circus!? 🙂

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm

  120. What is contemptible about pointing toward empirical evidence (however preliminary and open to interpretation that evidence may be) Peter Patton?

    It may or may not interest you to know that I am one of the supposedly silenced women who don’t want to be part of Corporate Australia. I have a degree in Science but have been a stay at home mother for 16 years now. I may be mistaken but I don’t believe anyone is advocating that women should be promoted to senior executive positions against their will, only that within the pool of people who are eager to advance, women should not be disadvantaged by unconscious and conscious discrimination?

    I can add my “yeah, verily!” to LE’s experience that when your children are small, the world of career ambition can seem completely irrelevant to your experience but that only holds while they are small, after that time I think that women are often very eager to integrate their skills and knowledge into paying positions but that the scope for that integration is somewhat limited by preconceived notions of what constitutes appropriate experience and qualifications for any particular job. In other words the notion of excellence is still highly gendered and this hampers women more so than it does men.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

  121. Legal Eagle, it sounds like there is endemic sexism in the legal prossion. I have a female friend who is a lawyer; I will ask her, next time I see her, about her experiences.

    daddy dave

    January 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm

  122. “Get off your high horse.”

    Why, I enjoy the view.

    dover_beach

    January 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm

  123. Su, I agree – I suspect I will feel differently when the kids are older and at school. That’s why I’m keeping my oar in re work – I’m guessing I’ll want to get back into it at some point.

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 9:14 pm

  124. su

    OK, now we’re getting somewhere as some concrete data is brought to the discussion.

    su/LE

    I know a few men and women on boards. Two female friends both have young children, both spent 12 months at home (well largely at home, they did have quite a bit of help to allow them to go to lunch, the gym, etc) then work part-time.

    One, an investment banker, went straight from stay-at-home to the board of an early stage medical technology company. She was approached because of her IPO banking experience and particular industry experience. The board sits for one whole day per month. True, there is often a reasonable amount to do between board meetings, including pitching to potential investors in the company’s upcoming IPO. But still plenty of time left over for her to satisfy the amount of time she wants to devote to her young brood. Recently, she was invited on to a local performing arts board also.

    The other friend worked for one of the top corporate law firms. When she was ready, her firm allowed her to return part-time. She quickly realized that her idea of “part-time” was different from the firm’s. She was set to quit when the partners recommended her for a board position on one of the firm’s client board.

    Both these women say there is a sizeable and growing market for these ‘part-time’ board positions, and that it is quite reasonable for them to expect to build a career as professional board directors.

    They both also think their being a woman was a huge plus, as many companies ARE very keen on “diversity”. The medical technology firm apparently has a few women, and GASP people of color! 😉

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

  125. Legal Eagle, it sounds like there is endemic sexism in the legal profession. I have a female friend who is a lawyer; I will ask her, next time I see her, about her experiences.

    I think it probably depends. As I think I said above, my own experiences have been okay, apart from a few patronising idiots from time to time, but you get that anywhere, whether you’re male or female.

    The other point I wanted to make was that one of the people who was LEAST flexible about working with kids was my female boss who had two kids under 4. She had sacrificed all her time with her kids, and didn’t see why I shouldn’t do the same. My male bosses were much more open-minded, even though they were conservative in many other ways. She’s the reason why I quit being a solicitor. So it’s more complex than the patriarchy making it hard for women.

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 9:19 pm

  126. That attitude that “I’ve suffered therefore you must suffer too” is one I have encountered too LE but just because it is express by a woman, does not mean that the attitude is not patriarchal. Patriarchy doesn’t mean men, and I think the notion that a career should just proceed without any reference to the person’s commitments to family is indeed patriarchal and has some appalling consequences for the women and men who have families. This is something Armagny blogs so well about, from the perspective of a committed and involved father.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 9:36 pm

  127. SU

    Can you clarify, are you in favor of quotas at board level, which Coonan seems to be quietly advocating?

    JC1

    January 15, 2010 at 9:41 pm

  128. JC1 is reverting to type (older model of JC)

    He critises the ACTU for failing to ensure gender equality and then dismisses their message because of this alleged failure.

    On another thread it was generally agreed that the actions of a creator should not be judged by their work and here we have the work being judged by the actions of the creator.

    rog

    January 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

  129. I am undecided JC. Compulsory quotas seem to be less desirable than voluntary ones simply because compelling people to do anything has undesirable consequences that may outweigh any benefits. I am not sure what the size of the potential labour market in Australia means in relation to this – in one sense I think that the voluntary quotas adopted by those comapanies may reflect their certainty that the available labour market provides ample scope for them to hire people with suitable qualifications whatever their gender. Voluntary targets are probably preferable.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  130. su:

    people don’t hire your spouse and kids. they hire you to do a job, if you have a job where you can swing flexible hours, well good. However money doesn’t come easily and big dollars are not forked over without giving in return.

    Lots of us are committed fathers and mothers who made compromises in our life. If Armagny finds it too had to be away from his kids to carry out a full time high paying job he can always opt out and get a part time job with more flexible hours. This is the beauty of choice.

    It may mean that instead of an office with a view he may have to don an apron and take a job working behind a counter of the local deli a few hours a day at the basic wage.

    As a committed father he could make that choice and everyone is happier. That way he would be able to see his kids.. although I’m not so sure they would feel the same way- and the firm can hire someone who is more committed.

    We all have to make choices is life. Here’s my bet, I reckon he loves the money, doesn’t want to make compromises that would mean.

    Please, we’re nowhere near being a patriarchal society. We couldn’t be more pussified.

    JC1

    January 15, 2010 at 9:58 pm

  131. well those firms are pretty smart, su. they saw there was a decent pool of talent which with a little tinkering around the edges were able take advantage of. that’s the great thing about capitalism, it’s always figuring ways of getting leg up.

    JC1

    January 15, 2010 at 10:08 pm

  132. Good to see you’re back to trolling after a few days rest, Rog.

    He critises the ACTU for failing to ensure gender equality and then dismisses their message because of this alleged failure.

    Lord you’re stupid, Rog. It’s actually painful to see how dumb you really are. I criticized the ACTU because they went out of their way to institute internal quotas to make a statement and that it’s a failed institution by any measure.

    On another thread it was generally agreed that the actions of a creator should not be judged by their work and here we have the work being judged by the actions of the creator.

    WTF does that mean?

    JC1

    January 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm

  133. Thing is, su, I don’t think my female boss would have seen herself as part of the patriarchy. She would have seen herself as someone who was helping women get ahead and break the glass ceiling, and making considerable personal sacrifices to do so. She was one of the very few female partners at our firm.

    I don’t have any problem with her choice – what I do have a problem with is her expectation and assumption that I would naturally do the same thing as her.

    Because I’ve taken time out to have kids, I don’t expect to have advanced at the same rate as men and women who have chosen not to have kids. I think it’s nstural that I don’t progress as far with my career, but it doesn’t really bother me at this point. I can hopefully catch up later if I want to…we’ll see.

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm

  134. A few things seem to have emerged from this conversation.

    1. Having children is the kicker for most women; it not only knocks women out of the labour force for long periods, it also changes incentive structures, meaning that when firms come to recruit for high powered positions, there are fewer women throwing their hat in the ring.

    2. Ameliorating the effect of motherhood can have counter-productive effects; there are good studies around the place (and discussion in Superfreakonomics) of how ‘equity’ based laws like compulsory maternity leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act have led to worse outcomes for both women and disabled people (because employers, with good reason, become reluctant to hire people from those groups).

    3. There is an economic advantage (as Sinclair pointed out in the original piece, which I wish people would actually read) to increased female workforce participation. This may be linked to diversity, but the research is equivocal. It may simply be better exploitation of available resources, something people have noticed since the days of Plato (‘every state,’ he says in The Republic when arguing that Athens should copy Sparta and give women more education and authority, ‘is effectively half a state’. When you draw from a bigger talent pool, you may uncover more gems. This is something Barry Goldwater discovered when he ran this company. No-one else in the food industry was hiring black people. Barry Goldwater did, and reaped the benefits.

    4. Gender equality is linked to liberal democracy and — odd historical examples aside — industrialisation and technology (everything from contraception to labour saving devices to superior medical care). This is very important and should be remembered.

    5. Political rights without property rights and rights in divorce are relatively meaningless, as the West is discovering in the Islamic world. Suffrage only gets you so far.

    6. People need to work out what they want to privilege: choice or outcomes. If they choose the latter, then they need to be aware that even relatively mild social engineering tends not to work very well, unless incentive structures are altered. An example of this would be the state paying for childcare, rather than facilitating family formation. At the moment, for example, welfare recipients who want to live together or marry (with all the positive externalities associated with stable family life) have to lie to DWP/Centrelink/insert name of welfare body here.

    7. Some men in law firms have appalling manners. What can I say? There is perhaps something to be said about the general decline of civility in all this, but I’m not sure what.

    Apologies for long comment.

    skepticlawyer

    January 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

  135. su

    I agree with you 100% about voluntary targets. But I think you will find this attitude is very common among Australian corporate boards, including the two examples I provided above.

    Peter Patton

    January 15, 2010 at 11:07 pm

  136. See I don’t see parenthood as simply a void in one’s experience. I think it actually gives you a whole range of skills from knowing how to manage a collegue who is having an adult tantrum/meltdown to being able to complete tasks in minute bites of time comfortably without losing your ideational thread to being able to distinguish between what is a very loud, dramatic but ultimately unimportant scenario to one which may be quieter but demands instant attention. But along with the general undervaluation of the labour of care, all of these skills go unacknowledged and instead we only see parents who take parental leave as entering an educational and skills hiatus. Although not all professions would need these kind of skills, there are some -and general law and general medicine, policing, social work and psychology are definitely examples – where I would feel far safer in the hands of someone who is in possession of these kinds of skills/knowledge.

    su

    January 15, 2010 at 11:11 pm

  137. Su, I’d agree with you totally. Parenthood does give you skills. Certainly (and seriously), my negotiation skills are even better than they were when I was a litigator (which may reflect the argumentative nature of my daughter)…

    Legal Eagle

    January 15, 2010 at 11:18 pm

  138. Adrien, just so you know, the right believes that Palin has been unfairly portrayed as a christianist as a way of discrediting her.
    .
    Yes that’s true. People also Kevin Rudd as a socialist to discredit him. But does that mean that he’s not one?
    .
    As for Sarah Palin’s libertarian crednetials, egad!, you lot have to stop believing the rhetoric and start looking at the record. Take this letter from a resident of Wasilla who knows her personally (2nd one down):
    .
    On fiscal restraint:

    Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
    regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
    benefited residents.
    .
    The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too.
    She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million.

    And social lieralism:

    She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
    basis of who proposed them.

    While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
    her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

    These people are not your allies.

    Adrien

    January 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm

  139. In fact Palin’s activity tells you what politics really is these days – across the board.
    .
    They spin rhetoric about their principles which are supposed to appeal the electorate and then they use public money to enrich themselves and their corporate sponsors at your expense. The right, the left, the whole fucking lot.
    .
    Wake up!

    Adrien

    January 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm

  140. Some men in law firms have appalling manners.
    .
    Some men full stop have appaling manners. And one of the unintended consequences of female emancipation is the girls are catching up.
    .
    I think the particular appaling manners of men in high power (blue collar dudes can be gross but in my experience of such work they’re also quite ‘professional’ in regards to other women at work.
    .
    You’ll have to get over the overuse of the word cunt however. It’s the all purpose noun denoting everything from paw paws to tractors to people. Something on your mind lads? Jeez!
    .
    On lawyers and doctors and such: These guys go to private schools. I went to some of ’em and the manners can vary. There’s the gentlemanly tradition of chivalry (a bit basic in ‘Straya). And there’s the older tradition whereby one raises boys to bear nothing but contempt for women. Misogyny is on the official but unwritten curriculum suh!
    .
    I remember my brothers and I informing my mother (a girl from a good school of such moral philosophy lecture as bro H’s at a certain GPS Alpha player in Brizvegas: women are stupid, unquote. The tone was axiomatical. Or sex education which consist of an excrutiating description of VD followed by a reminder that you can’t any kind of relationship with a woman. Except, regretablly your wife. the prime relationship is ‘with your mates’.
    .
    This is the ethos, quite literally, of the footy locker room. This is man’s space. Girls can’t play. And if they do <a href="the game played is a contricious carbuncle on the arse of this country.
    .
    The culture, herin, a war culture has been the ethical backbone of Western culture for thousands of years. It works. And this possibly the reason for some of the resistance. But it obviously does not equip them to play well with girls, something they all have to do. Even if it just their wives.
    .
    Most men however have an especial empathy for women. We’re made that way. We are programmed to feel distresed when a woman weeps. There are degrees of empathy, of course, all the way to none. The education described above is designed to help boys overcome it.
    .
    Sorry bout the rant, going away now. 🙂

    Adrien

    January 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm

  141. You fell for it Adrien, those accusations have all been completely discredited. They were already toast by the time this exchange took place, by which time Palin was joking about it. (the link has more detail on the whole thing)

    Gibson: There’s a lot on the Internet about a conversation you did or did not have with a librarian about banning books. Want to clear up what’s on the Internet?
    Palin: I never banned a book, never desired to ban a book. . . . It kind of cracked me up seeing the list of books that I supposedly banned–one of them was Harry Potter! It wasn’t even written or published then.

    .
    like I said, there was a campaign to portray her as a Christianist and in so doing marginalise her. Well, if your beliefs about Palin are any guide, I guess it was successful!

    daddy dave

    January 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm

  142. Thanks DD. What you’ve linked to is spin. Good spin. Sobering spin, but spin.
    .
    Yes there was a campaign to discredit Palin. What actually happened is that Palin asked about removing books from the library. The librarian refused and Palin put it in the too-hard basket. When the other side’s spin doctors went to work they fabricated because the story by itself wasn’t dramatic enough. However Palin made the inquiry. Why?
    .
    In your link she says: “I never banned a book”
    .
    True, and:
    .
    “I never desired to ban a book”
    .
    Really? Then why inquire? Wasilla’s story is telling because, contrary to the libertarian image she likes to project, Palin and co were seen as Big Party/Big Business intruders on the town and many complained that she destroyed the libertarian culture of the place.
    .
    There are also the numbers which contradict the fiscal conservative image and mirror Dubya’s business career’s only success. It’s crony capitalism about which libertarians are too quiet (imho). Her image is just that, an image.
    .
    Enough about Palin, it derails a much more interesting topic.

    Adrien

    January 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm

  143. Enough about Palin, it derails a much more interesting topic
    .
    fair enough, although this thread had already slowed to a trickle, so I don’t think that going on a tangent mattered much.

    daddy dave

    January 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm

  144. See I don’t see parenthood as simply a void in one’s experience. I think it actually gives you a whole range of skills from knowing how to manage a collegue who is having an adult tantrum/meltdown

    yes, I can think of trading rooms. Only people with experience of raising very young kids should be allowed to manage in trading rooms 🙂

    jc

    January 16, 2010 at 5:54 pm

  145. Another thing parenthood teaches you is humility. All the skills you have developed to get on in the corporate world suddenly turn to a pillar of salt as the most potent adversary ever to enter your life squares off with you; your two year old!

    Suddenly all those years spent mastering (subconciously of course) skills to navigate the adult world of work are worthless: conniving, networking, alliance-building, smooth presentation skills, marevra injunctions – all turn to dust in the presence of an over-tired infant in Coles, going through a ‘hates vegetables’ stage, won’t poo for weeks on end then will poo anywhere but the toilet, won’t breast-feed, thinks a ‘fascist dictator’ is a grown-up with a bed-time curfew, and as they get older, fathers come knocking at the door because his daughter’s diary brags about her ability to give head jobs to – amongst other boys at school – your son!

    Apart from the obvious unique joys of love and affection with your own pride and joy, I think a lot of the trouble many women have in ‘going back to work’ is just how emotionally draining it is to split your personality into the frozen, inscrutable, ‘appropriately’ behaved professional, and the ‘shock a minute’ reality of raising your pride and joy, which no university lecture, no textbook, no judicial decision can ever prepare for you; where for the sagest advice you must turn to your own mother!

    Peter Patton

    January 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm

  146. Parenthood has taught me a great deal.
    I don’t believe that the things I’ve learned are applicable to being on a corporate board.

    daddy dave

    January 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm

  147. won’t poo for weeks on end then will poo anywhere but the toilet
    .
    Well and truly derailed. Still could be worse, read We Need To Talk About Kevin to see what I mean.
    .
    a ‘fascist dictator’ is a grown-up with a bed-time curfew,
    .
    Well it is. I imagine that the whole business is a struggle between a big fascist dictator and a little one.
    .
    and as they get older, fathers come knocking at the door because his daughter’s diary brags about her ability to give head jobs to – amongst other boys at school – your son!
    .
    Mmmmm the joys of teenage parenting in the early 21st century. This is one of the many reasons you shouldn’t read other peoples’ diaries, especially your teenage daughter’s.

    Adrien

    January 17, 2010 at 11:56 am


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