Newt In A Tea Cup

{January 8, 2007}   What Brave New World Is This!

When I was little I was naive. I used to believe that the world was a very fair place and if it wasn’t all you had to do was say “That’s not fair!” loud enough for an adult to hear and they’d fix it for you.

And then I started maturing and I started to look at the world. Not just look – analyse. And it so happens that the world does not play by the rules I imagined.

Here’s a report that shocked even my cynical self:

The glass ceiling is still holding back 6,000 women from the top 33,000 jobs in Britain, according to new research from the Equal Opportunities Commission. Thirty years after the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act, women are “woefully under-represented” in the country’s boardrooms, politics and courts, it says.

That’s a hell of a lot of women missing out. And these are in important jobs that represent where the real power is. These are the jobs that affect the way we live.

Help from nannies has not enabled successful women to maintain their careers after having children, the research suggests. The EOC blames a male-dominated culture in the professions for resistance to flexible working.

So, here’s the rub. Women are saddled with not only working but also with bringing up children -and they might as well be alone in that task. A childless older woman with a successful career is not considered fully successful. A man is. For a woman, others – the husband’s career or her children – must always, always come first.

There are two solutions to this that I see at the moment.

One is that men do their share of the housework and childcare.

The other is that every workplace installs better and free childcare centers in the building.

Since nannies are said to not be working it appears that it is up to men to make the difference on the work load at home and by changing the flexibility of working hours.

I dream of a time when a single income will support a whole family and each partner works part-time.

The upward trend in the proportion of women in top jobs is “painfully slow”, the report says, and in some sectors there is even a decline. The proportion of women in parliament has slipped in the 12 months since the EOC’s last Sex and Power survey and is now at 19.5% – lower than in Iraq, Afghanistan and Rwanda.

First of all – Rwanda is actually on top of the list with women leader’s world wide. But the reason is that all the men died in the Genocide. Women are in charge because there are no men left. Kinda like why women got jobs and suffrage after the first and second World War.

Crap, is the fallout of a Genocide the only way to get equality in this world?!

But seriously people – we have less women in government then Iraq and Afghanistan!?

There are no words. Except a sound rebutal of all those claiming we have reached the end of the road.

Here’s some numbers to get into –

At the current rate of improvement it would take 20 years to achieve equality in the civil service, 40 years in the judiciary and 60 years among FTSE 100 companies. But it would take 200 years – at least another 40 elections – to achieve an equal number of MPs in parliament. The proportion in the Scottish assembly is nearly 40% and in Wales the figure is 51.7%. The EOC said it was an argument for parties to use all-women shortlists, as in Wales.

Now, I only got a B in my Maths GCSE but even I know that’s pathetic.

And it gets worse.

But figures for women from ethnic minorities are worse. There are only two black women MPs, four non-white top 100 FTSE directors and nine top civil servants from ethnic minority backgrounds.

That’s right. Racism effects women too. Surprise!

I don’t think it’s conscious racism or maybe even sexism. It’s just that when no one sees women in power, women become invisible eventually completely disapearing from the higher concerns. We are defined by other people and as such we have no voice. Invisibility is associated with something not existing so there is no need to adress it.

This invisibility is present since the dawn of time – you only need to look at women’s history to notice.

The research suggests that women are experiencing the same barriers to getting the jobs they want as women in lower paid jobs. The pay gap between men and women is 3.7% in their 20s, rising to 10.7% for thirtysomethings, a change which is largely attributed to the impact of childbirth on women’s earnings. The same is not true for men who become fathers.

Small injustice on all fronts leads to big oppresion. That last sentence is the key.

Female workers in the UK suffer one of the biggest pay gaps in Europe – 17% for full-time staff and 38% for part-time – because they are more likely to be in low-paid jobs and then slip further down the career ladder after having children, the Women and Work Commission found last year.

*Sigh* Le plus ca change…

Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for equal rights, said: “This demonstrates how much of a male preserve power remains in the UK. If decisions are only being taken by one group of the population they will not reflect the lives of ordinary people. It proves beyond a doubt that life at the top is white and male.”

The annual report is the last from the EOC, which is due to be amalgamated with the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission from next year into a new body called the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

There have been concerns that the women’s rights agenda could be sidelined in the new body, which will be headed by Trevor Phillips, current chair of the CRE.

“There is so much more to be done. This demonstrates that we haven’t solved the problem of sex discrimination,” said Ms Watson.

So here I am. Typing away on a keyboard and angry at the world I’ve inherited. Where does this leave me, I ask perhaps because I’m selfish, perhaps because I care?

It leaves me not represented in a government that styles itself a democracy.

It leaves me handicapped in a seld stylled meritocracy.

It leaves me unequal in a self-styled equal society.

But more than that it leaves me screaming. And I’m not going to shut up. Yeah, I’m pissed. But I’ve got a damn good reason.

And I’ve grown up and I’ve analised the situation- this is my conclusion:

For so long we’ve been treated as children and in some ways, us women have been children not given the chance to mature. Now we believe the world is a fair place and that surely if something is wrong we can call the kindly big white man and he’ll fix it for us. When it comes to social justice for women this has been a prevailing attitude – just wait a little longer, have another tea party and maybe they’ll fit in the rights of 50%+ of the population in their tight schedules – must be busy destroying all those countries).

But life isn’t fair and the big white man isn’t going to fix it. We need to grow up and grab our share with both hands even if it means throwing a tantrum (or participating in mass peaceful civil disobediance) along the way.

[ Bolds all mine. Article from

hey newt – sorry this isn’t on thread but just caught you via a comment at sparkle’s and wanted to say, you’re right. it’s easy to think young women are growing up with all the usual pressures to conform, to be sexualised to objectify themselves and sometimes the older ones (guess i have to be in that group now) forget that younger women are doing plenty of thinking too.
so if it ain’t too patronising i wish you well with the blog and the crucial fight to take control of your world.

‘But life isnโ€™t fair and the big white man isnโ€™t going to fix it. We need to grow up and grab our share with both hands even if it means throwing a tantrum (or participating in mass peaceful civil disobediance) along the way.’ – OH YES! grab that life – might take a while, but OH YES!
all the best

older ones – men in my case… just to be clear

tcupnewt says:

Thankyou simplywondered! It’s been really encouraging to find so many nice likeminded people. I think that feminism has flourished at times when the gender pressures were even worse than today – I’m not doing anything new. But thanks very much!

Hi Newt just to throw my 2p in. I think you are doing great – and yes I agree no one is going to come and fix it.
take care

Pony says:

Keep on Newt. You’re the hope for the future.

No, simply wondered, there was never any question that you were male.

fair cop, pony! just didn’t want anyone to think i was claiming to be otherwise (cos that’s fibbing and not good).
sparkle ‘and yes I agree no one is going to come and fix it’ – bit like your cooker, really.

M Parson says:

I think the solution is for marriage to go the way of the horse and buggy.

That way women will be unburdened by the drudgery of caring for children and can focus fully on their careers. Many of my friends are doing the same.

tcupnewt says:

Hello, M Parson- I agree that marriage as it is now should go or drastically change, and people should stop focussing on it as a life-goal. However I don’t think it’s that simple… Nothing is! That should be a good topic to talk about though…

Thanks pony and sparkle- save the compliments though, I’ve still got a lot to mess up on! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Florian says:

I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog ๐Ÿ™‚
Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day ๐Ÿ™‚

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