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Feminism and a world designed for men

Athos

Well-Known Member
... there’s a mass of academic evidence that the huge increase in female representation in Parliament (especially post 1997) meant that women’s issues were increasingly looked at and acted on. There’s also a much wider body of work going back to the 1960s on “descriptive representation” and it’s benefits (and downsides).
Do you have any links, please? I'm particularly interested in anything that casts light on whether the gains for women as a whole have been in absolute terms, or relative to men.
 

colacubes

Well-Known Member
Do you have any links, please? I'm particularly interested in anything that casts light on whether the gains for women as a whole have been in absolute terms, or relative to men.
I’m on the move so can’t link but Jane Mansbridge, Suzanne Dovi, Sarah Childs and Rosie Campbell are all good academics on this as a starter.
 

S☼I

ifyalikeitthenushouldaputadonkonit
I'm just instinctively uncomfortable with top-down change. Changes like pay gap monitoring and paying child benefits to the principal carer rather than the child's father are clearly good things, but in the system that we have more women in the boardroom and other positions of power...how much will they be simply women perpetuating that power? Whose interests will they represent? How many women in power in this system will it take to address these figures? DWP data reveals: women and children continue to be worst affected by poverty - Womens Budget Group
 

Pickman's model

every man and every woman is a star
I'm just instinctively uncomfortable with top-down change. Changes like pay gap monitoring and paying child benefits to the principal carer rather than the child's father are clearly good things, but in the system that we have more women in the boardroom and other positions of power...how much will they be simply women perpetuating that power? Whose interests will they represent? How many women in power in this system will it take to address these figures? DWP data reveals: women and children continue to be worst affected by poverty - Womens Budget Group
Everyone knows power corrupts
 

Poot

Everyone's a superhero, everyone's a Captain Kirk
I'm just instinctively uncomfortable with top-down change. Changes like pay gap monitoring and paying child benefits to the principal carer rather than the child's father are clearly good things, but in the system that we have more women in the boardroom and other positions of power...how much will they be simply women perpetuating that power? Whose interests will they represent? How many women in power in this system will it take to address these figures? DWP data reveals: women and children continue to be worst affected by poverty - Womens Budget Group
We don't know - that's the point. How about giving women more power and finding out?

You seem to think that having women in a boardroom is linked to the oppression of the working classes when it isn't - it probably doesn't make any difference. That's not the argument here. It doesn't make the argument any less valid, it makes it a separate argument.

We could argue that there should be more wc people in power and I would absolutely support that. But it's a different topic. I don't like all the top-down shit either but that shouldn't hold women back.
 

Edie

Well-Known Member
You’re right. We should definitely wait for that. Come the glorious revolution I’m sure all the posh privately educated white boys that seem to be out front in those campaign groups will absolutely make sure that happens :thumbs:

On a serious note there’s a mass of academic evidence that the huge increase in female representation in Parliament (especially post 1997) meant that women’s issues were increasingly looked at and acted on. There’s also a much wider body of work going back to the 1960s on “descriptive representation” and it’s benefits (and downsides). It’s very interesting and all that I’ve read has made me come to the conclusion that an increase in representation is always a good thing even if they’re not the “right” people. And yes there is a problem with class in politics and something needs to be done about it. And intersectionality helps with that to an extent, but in terms of speed of progress let’s just get on with it.
That’s interesting. I never know what to think about this.
 

Rutita1

Council Estate Socialist
I'm just instinctively uncomfortable with top-down change. Changes like pay gap monitoring and paying child benefits to the principal carer rather than the child's father are clearly good things, but in the system that we have more women in the boardroom and other positions of power...how much will they be simply women perpetuating that power? Whose interests will they represent? How many women in power in this system will it take to address these figures? DWP data reveals: women and children continue to be worst affected by poverty - Womens Budget Group
One could argue that having more women in power means they will be less inclined to imitate men, feel more comfortable focusing on issues that are traditionally characterized as only affecting 'women' and incrementally change will occur.

I don't see it as an either/or thing...we shouldn't have to wait for a 'revolution' and one catalytic moment...we can continue to chip away and dismantle now.
 

Poot

Everyone's a superhero, everyone's a Captain Kirk
Yeah, and it's a extra pressure to put on women to say 'you can have a place on a board but only if you behave in a certain way', that would be like being back at square one. Men don't have to do that (even though they obviously should! But, you know, separate argument).
 

colacubes

Well-Known Member
That’s interesting. I never know what to think about this.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9248.2004.00495.x

Unless you've got academic access you won't be able to read the whole thing, but you can see the abstract of this paper on the subject. Anyway, it showed through a comparison between men and women Labour MPs during the 1997 Parliament that the female MPs were more likely to sign early day motions regarding women's and feminist issues than the male MPs. These were issues re stuff like VAT on sanitary products, domestic violence etc. It's interesting as a comparison as the narrative at the time was that the women who had just been elected to Parliament in huge numbers had 'failed' as women due to their lack of rebellion against the government on certain issues at the time (which was obviously not levelled at newly elected men). A lot of these women were middle-class professionals and no doubt privately educated in many cases. But their presence meant that issues that might not otherwise have been raised in Parliament. So it matters imo.
 

scifisam

feck! arse! girls! drink!
I'm just instinctively uncomfortable with top-down change. Changes like pay gap monitoring and paying child benefits to the principal carer rather than the child's father are clearly good things, but in the system that we have more women in the boardroom and other positions of power...how much will they be simply women perpetuating that power? Whose interests will they represent? How many women in power in this system will it take to address these figures? DWP data reveals: women and children continue to be worst affected by poverty - Womens Budget Group
Do you feel the same about BME representation? I think most people accept that it's helpful to see people like yourself in positions of power. That applies to women too, doesn't it?

It's a false dichotomy, anyway. Sure, some people act like having a slightly increased number of women board members solves everything, but it's not like those people were ever going to bother doing anything to help working class women.
 

Rutita1

Council Estate Socialist
Do you feel the same about BME representation? I think most people accept that it's helpful to see people like yourself in positions of power. That applies to women too, doesn't it?

It's a false dichotomy, anyway. Sure, some people act like having a slightly increased number of women board members solves everything, but it's not like those people were ever going to bother doing anything to help working class women.
I's really irritating to be told 'it's not gender/race, it's class' and expected to hold someone's coat whilst fuck all changes. Unless there is increased representation of women and BME people in positions of power, nothing will change if the opposite were true we'd not be having this conversation now. I am not saying that no changes have occurred, but not fast enough and with all the best will in the world the demographics and dynamics need to change otherwise the same structures are perpetuated.
 
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Rutita1

Council Estate Socialist
Depends on what they do, I suppose. Are Sajid Javid and Priti Patel forces for good? Is Rakesh Kapoor being paid over £20 million a year good? Etc
Tory capitalist cunts being just that...shock! Yes unfortunately self-focused wrong'uns exist in the BME wider community too but they are not representative of it though, just like Boris, Teresa and Ian Duncan shit are not all there is to know about White people in positions of power.
 
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S☼I

ifyalikeitthenushouldaputadonkonit
Maybe it's the positions, then, not the people, that are the problem.

I can see the value in greater representation for influential women through all areas of society, but empowering ordinary working class women, giving them tools, confidence, economic stability and opportunities to kick through traditionally closed doors to paths to traditionally male roles is what I'm arguing for here.
 

Rutita1

Council Estate Socialist
Maybe it's the positions, then, not the people, that are the problem.

I can see the value in greater representation for influential women through all areas of society, but empowering ordinary working class women, giving them tools, confidence, economic stability and opportunities to kick through traditionally closed doors to paths to traditionally male roles is what I'm arguing for here.

...and I don't really understand why you think anyone here is arguing any different? :confused:
 

scifisam

feck! arse! girls! drink!
Maybe it's the positions, then, not the people, that are the problem.

I can see the value in greater representation for influential women through all areas of society, but empowering ordinary working class women, giving them tools, confidence, economic stability and opportunities to kick through traditionally closed doors to paths to traditionally male roles is what I'm arguing for here.
Why do you think they're mutually exclusive?

I don't like Sajid David, no, but I don't hold him to a higher standard than other tories just because he's not white. And his presence will still have an effect, unless you think there is no effect at all from seeing people like yourself (or at least more like yourself) in positions of power.
 

S☼I

ifyalikeitthenushouldaputadonkonit
...and I don't really understand why you think anyone here is arguing any different? :confused:
Because the focus appears to be on getting women into positions of power within the exact same system that has led to huge and disproportionate poverty and hardship for women. As though the simple fact of women being there will be enough to dismantle it and make it all work. It seems to me like arguing for greater opportunities for women to steer the good ship capitalism, when really its course is locked.
 

scifisam

feck! arse! girls! drink!
Because the focus appears to be on getting women into positions of power within the exact same system that has led to huge and disproportionate poverty and hardship for women. As though the simple fact of women being there will be enough to dismantle it and make it all work. It seems to me like arguing for greater opportunities for women to steer the good ship capitalism, when really its course is locked.
The focus? It was brought up briefly as part of another post. And nobody ever said it would solve all problems. Some people not on here do that, but like I said a couple of posts before, those people were never going to do anything to help working class women anyway. Or to help anyone, really. They're not the people you're taking to here.
 

Rutita1

Council Estate Socialist
Because the focus appears to be on getting women into positions of power within the exact same system that has led to huge and disproportionate poverty and hardship for women. As though the simple fact of women being there will be enough to dismantle it and make it all work. It seems to me like arguing for greater opportunities for women to steer the good ship capitalism, when really its course is locked.

The focus has been on Tory women representing Tory values...What would happen if we focused on those of women from other parties and their values? Yes the 'superstructure' needs dismantling but again...unless the plan is to do that this very minute it seems to me we do need to be doing other things too. The conversation seems to have become a vague theoretical one about the value of 'reforms' from within, which is everyone's concern.
 

Athos

Well-Known Member
If, as colacubes suggests, there's empirical data to show that e.g. descriptive representation results in substantive absolute (as opposed to relative) gains for women under capitalism, then, notwithstanding that, by definition, there can never be equality - wider, equality, not just sex-based - under capitalism, surely it's a no-brainer that descriptive representation is something we should all work towards? The exception would be insofar as our efforts to do so perpetuate the system that underpins so much inequality. But, as long as we're not saying that the end goal is proportionate distribution by sex under capitalism, and as long as we don't make ensuring that the top 1% is evenly spilt bt sex whilst ignoring the difficulties faced by the vast majority of women (as much liberal, middle-class feminism seems to), I don't see the problem. (And I don't see anyone on this thread arguing for that.)

Of course we need to show solidarity with that subsection of workers who bear a disproportionate burden of capitalism, and ameliorate that until capitalism is dismantled. There is no fundamental tension between feminism per se (as opposed to particular versions of it) and the end of capitalism. Quite the opposite, neither feminism without anticapitalism nor anticapitalism without feminism make any sense to me.
 

Manter

Lunch Mob
I'm just instinctively uncomfortable with top-down change. Changes like pay gap monitoring and paying child benefits to the principal carer rather than the child's father are clearly good things, but in the system that we have more women in the boardroom and other positions of power...how much will they be simply women perpetuating that power? Whose interests will they represent? How many women in power in this system will it take to address these figures? DWP data reveals: women and children continue to be worst affected by poverty - Womens Budget Group
Can they be worse than the current crop of men?

I absolutely agree we need to make a more radical change in all sorts of ways, but privately educated white men fucking us all over vs revolution and implementation of a total workers paradise seems an odd binary to me.

The danger is, of course, that once PEWW have ‘got their way’ they peel off from the fight for change and things are just better enough so that change stagnates. But the challenge then I think is how we build a sustained movement for progressive change, building the case and taking everyone on the journey.
 

Manter

Lunch Mob
Because the focus appears to be on getting women into positions of power within the exact same system that has led to huge and disproportionate poverty and hardship for women. As though the simple fact of women being there will be enough to dismantle it and make it all work. It seems to me like arguing for greater opportunities for women to steer the good ship capitalism, when really its course is locked.
but no one is saying that. What I think a number of us agree on is that while the good ship capitalism- and all other ships- are steered by men there is no chance to change course. One or two people who look a bit different CANNOT drive meaningful change. Large numbers can AND are more likely to be intact (mentally and emotionally and philosophically and politically) and are more likely to want to.
 

Manter

Lunch Mob
An example of how fucking fundamentally the world doesn’t work for women- a toilet cubicle.

Nothing about this makes sense to how women live their lives- what do you do with a kid, or a bag? How do you clear yourself up if you’re dealing with period blood? If you are sat on the loo your hip is holding the sanitary bin closed- if you are standing up you drip on the floor and there is no way to sort that out. How do you clean out a Mooncup if that is your thing? What if you need to wash your hand between stages? What about if you have morning sickness? Why are there so few cubicles so queues are long?

I could go on: but really fundamentally even the most ‘female’* of spaces in the public realm are not actually designed in a way that works for women. :confused:

*I know, whole level of other issues for trans women, and trans men.
 

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Athos

Well-Known Member
but no one is saying that. What I think a number of us agree on is that while the good ship capitalism- and all other ships- are steered by men there is no chance to change course. One or two people who look a bit different CANNOT drive meaningful change. Large numbers can AND are more likely to be intact (mentally and emotionally and philosophically and politically) and are more likely to want to.
I don't think even if the whole crew were women there's any reason to think they would be motivated or able to change the course (albeit, at worst, the course would remain as it is now), but at least that would stop the Captain groping the First Mate at the Christmas party. Not being flippant; the point is that less 'radical' changes can still bring significant real-world improvements.
 
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trashpony

Ovaries and tings
A woman in Canada has done an interesting experiment - in a local council meeting where women and men were pretty evenly represented, she knitted one colour while men spoke and another while women spoke. Fairly predictable results : Knitting shows 'men talk too much'

Women are the worst hit by poverty. I heard on More or Less the other day that when they transferred CB to mothers, the spending on children's and women's clothing increased and spending on men's clothing decreased. So men spend on themselves rather than their children. I suspect if more women were involved at all levels of society, there would be a big shift towards flexibility, better childcare, improved elderly care provision and better services. Women are overwhelmingly responsible for caring in our society so it would benefit everyone if more of us were in decision-making positions. And no, not all women will do that. But the greater the number of women at the top, the greater the chance that some of those more welfare focused policies will start to trickle down.
 

Edie

Well-Known Member
If I had a magic wand or if I suddenly got put in charge I wouldn’t piss about debating this stuff any more. In terms of public offices like the judiciary it would simply be a case of positive discrimination and quotas. Nope yer 90% male so the next X number of judges appointed must be women. End of it.

Same with MPs. Senior doctors etc. I can’t be arsed with pissing around with this stuff any more. Just get it done.

It won’t solve the issue of unpaid housework and caring duties and poverty that effect working class women disproportionately. But it would make a start in getting issues heard I’m sure.
 
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