With the implementation of the Sex Discrimination Act and the introduction of maternity leave, the major obstacles to equality of opportunity in the workplace for women had largely been achieved. But instead of congratulating themselves on mission accomplished, feminists made fresh demands, prompted by an ideological belief in the myth that women continued to be helpless victims of a male patriarchy which in reality has long since disappeared. Instead of taking advantage of the new equality of opportunity that now became available to them; the more militant feminists complained that they continued to face injustice because the pay gap between men and women had not been eradicated. Thus the emphasis changed from seeking equality of opportunity to demanding equality of outcome, regardless of whether the latter might be merited or justified.
There are many reasons why the pay of women does not equal that of men. Most importantly many women out of choice take a career break to look after young children. In addition, relatively few women are interested in outdoor jobs which require hard hats and high visibility vests and which require turning out in all weathers. Women tend to be more attracted to the caring professions which mostly pay less, and they are less willing to seek overtime or unsocial hours work. For all these reasons and more women will never achieve pay equality with men, and the belief that they can is thus a chimera which will never be realised. The time has long since gone when we need to appease the special pleading of disgruntled feminists on this issue, since their demands are outside the control of both government and employers to deliver. So the hullabaloo they continue to raise on this unattainable grievance should be firmly resisted.
Feminists ostensibly claim equality, but what they appear to be seeking instead is special protection from the rough and tumble of the workplace. Thus they seek ever more prescriptive regulation and control of the relationships between men and women under the guise of preventing sexual harassment. Unsolicited sexual advances in the work environment have never been tolerated by employers; although in the past men may have got away with this kind of behaviour simply because women refused to challenge it. So women themselves should, in the first instance, develop the personal resilience to handle this kind of nuisance. In larger organisations, if this behaviour continues then they can raise the matter with their line manager or the human resources department, when the offender can be called in for a formal warning. It should not be the responsibility of employers to police or micro-manage the personal relations of their staff. Feminists are currently using the stick of sexual harassment, now expressed with catch all vagueness as ‘inappropriate behaviour’, as a weapon to brand all men as predators.
Identity politics creates its own brand of ‘progressive’ stereotypes. Men are portrayed as predatory sex pests who need to be policed and controlled. Women are presented as victims who require protection by extensive and invasive personal regulations. The current agenda of feminists to portray themselves as ‘vulnerable’ whenever confronted with the ever threatening male is likely to backfire. If women are really as helpless as the current breed of feminists make out, forever in need of an extensive chaperoning regime to protect them from male colleagues, it needs to be asked whether they should be allowed into the workplace at all.
Pejorative put downs such as ‘sexist’ and ‘chauvinist’ targeted at male colleagues are intended to intimidate and silence them into submission. They are invariably an attack on male heterosexuality, demonstrating feminist arrogance insofar as they claim to be speaking for all women, most of whom do not share their anti male neuroses. So we all need a break from feminist whingeing, griping negativity in which they appear intent on returning women to the protectiveness and purity of the Victorian age.