The feminist cause has taken a few steps backwards recently. It seems that everywhere you look these days women are being discriminated against or treated differently on the basis of their gender. Here are six examples of women not being afforded the equality and respectful treatment they deserve.
"Misogynistic" LinkedIn compliment
A 57-year-old male lawyer complimented a 27-year-old female barrister on her "stunning" LinkedIn profile photograph.
The woman was offended and noted that the "eroticisation of women's physical appearance is a way of exercising power over women". There's little doubt it's sleazy for a man to make such a comment on what is a platform for making business connections. He deserved a telling off. I'm not sure he deserved to make worldwide headlines for his comment, though. For the record, comments (whether positive or negative) about appearances are never appropriate in a business setting; they can easily be misconstrued especially if there is a power imbalance.
On air "slut-shaming"
Local radio hosts were accused of "slut-shaming" a 20-year-old woman live on air.
The suggestion was that women who "just sit around and post half-naked pictures of themselves on Instagram" are "do nothing b***hes". The hosts read out the names of two of these women; at least one of them was extremely upset to be labeled in this manner. Radio station George FM has issued a statement of apology and suspended two hosts. Note: sexist bullying is still sexist bullying even if a woman is one of the perpetrators.
Female co-hosts dubbed "sidekicks"
that TV3's Duncan Garner and TVNZ's Mike Hosking both dominate their respective 7pm television programmes, reducing their female co-hosts (Heather du Plessis-Allan and Toni Street) to the status of someone who must "grin or tut-tut at jokes from the boys"; they are "pigeon-holed as the sensible ones". Drinnan noted that "having the boys in charge is old-fashioned". One reader comment was especially thought-provoking: "Why does TV treat every pairing of male and female as though they were boss and secretary? Won't it be a great day for common sense when an older woman is paired with a younger male, and the woman does the talking and pontificating while the male looks cute and giggles?"
Politician called "a pretty little thing"
A male "[r]ugby league legend" recently called Labour MP Jacinda Ardern "a pretty little thing" when he was asked if she would make a good Prime Minister. National Council of Women New Zealand chief executive said this description was "dismissive and condescending". Furthermore, "[w]ithin the context, a woman's appearance is irrelevant; ... these comments are symbolic of the sexism that is entrenched in our culture." Yep, if men could just resist the temptation to reduce women to eye candy and judge their appearance they would get in a whole lot less trouble.
Women not wanted
Auckland Bowling Club may have been refusing to have women as full members since 1861 but that's no reason to not highlight such institutional sexism. This antiquated club has a figurative "No girls allowed" sign firmly nailed to its door. Women may only be social members here. Its website states that they are not "able to participate in bowling events at or on behalf of the Club" and they are not "able to speak or vote at Club General Meetings". Women are, however, permitted to participate in "social and pavilion activities". Lucky them. I really hope that's not code for making the tea and washing the dishes.
Breaking news: girls are people too
"Potential isn't a matter of gender" declared an advertisement for King's College which is "[f]or the first time, accepting applications ... for Year 11 girls in 2016". This sort of sentiment is reminiscent of the "Girls can do anything" slogan from the 1980s. It's as if the powers-that-be at King's have just realised there is gender equality and feel the urge to trumpet this discovery from the rooftops. If you were already wondering why a private boys' school has opened its doors to girls when all meaningful indicators show girls perform best in a single-sex environment (hint: it's about the money and the fact boys do well in a co-ed environment) then this out-of-touch display is further evidence it's not the most female-friendly educational establishment in town.