..



.

Business News

Backlash and gender fatigue. Why progress on gender equality has slowed

  • Written by Sue Williamson, Senior Lecturer, Human Resource Management, UNSW Canberra, UNSW
image

We are in the midst of an outpouring of feminist activism kicked off by the pink pussy hat[1] movement in the United States and propelled by #MeToo[2], which has spread to Australia where a range of luminaries have been named as harassers[3].

And yet we are also in the midst of a backlash, a concern that gender equality has moved too fast[4], aided by “gender fatigue”.

Twenty-seven years ago, Susan Faludi[5] created a furore by documenting what she said was a backlash against women. She said it wasn’t new, as evidenced by penalties imposed on childless and unwed women in ancient Rome, and witch burnings of medieval Europe. Each was a response to perceptions that women were gaining ground.

This time it is taking the form of a resurgence of the men’s rights movement, and also in the cries of #notallmen[6]. It is evident in the trolling occurring on feminist websites, negative comments in the media and the rape, violence and death threats inflicted on feminist activists.

That’s in social media and society. What about the workplace?

Backlash in the form of fatigue

It can be as simple as organisational silence and inaction. Even in organisations where managers and workers are committed to the idea of equality, it can take the form of resistance to specific initiatives.

It is aligned to gender fatigue, or seeing further advances in gender equality as a “non-issue”.

My colleagues (Associate Professor Linda Colley, Dr Meraiah Foley and Professor Rae Cooper) and I have examined managers’ and employees’ understanding of gender equality and have often been told “gender is not an issue here[7]”.

It is as if they are tired of hearing about it and want it to be “done”.

While we have found many organisations which are well advanced in their gender equity journey, we have yet to find one in which it is actually done.

What’s worth aiming for

Sometimes women are told that the remaining gender inequality is their own fault. #Metoo has been blamed for men being afraid to mentor[8] women. Women are told to “lean in[9]” – to focus on empowering individuals rather than women in general.

British researchers Hazel Conley and Margaret Page say real change will only be achieved[10] when there is

an understanding of gendered power and its intersections with other forms of inequality, individual commitment to act on this knowledge and the collective organisation to approach gender equality.

That understanding might lead to non-hierarchical organisational structures with different concepts of power. It might subvert the concept of work so that it is no longer regarded as the guiding force of lives. It might mean working to live, not living to work. It might mean that there isn’t paid work and other work, just “work”.

It might make future backlash unnecessary, and gender fatigue redundant.

This article is an edited version a recent address given by Sue Williamson as president of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand.

References

  1. ^ pink pussy hat (www.bustle.com)
  2. ^ #MeToo (theconversation.com)
  3. ^ named as harassers (www.sbs.com.au)
  4. ^ moved too fast (www.theguardian.com)
  5. ^ Susan Faludi (www.ethics.org.au)
  6. ^ #notallmen (en.wikipedia.org)
  7. ^ gender is not an issue here (www.unsw.adfa.edu.au)
  8. ^ afraid to mentor (www.nejm.org)
  9. ^ lean in (leanin.org)
  10. ^ only be achieved (www.booktopia.com.au)

Authors: Sue Williamson, Senior Lecturer, Human Resource Management, UNSW Canberra, UNSW

Read more http://theconversation.com/backlash-and-gender-fatigue-why-progress-on-gender-equality-has-slowed-112706

Business Daily Media Business Development

Food you need to try in Beijing

Beijing is a beautiful and interesting destination for any kind of traveler. However, foodies will find a new heaven and will be able to try out tasty, flavorful and sometimes very special...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Best Budget-Friendly Attractions in Las Vegas

Perhaps no other city in the world deserves the moniker “Sin City” more than Las Vegas. This city has been illustrated in countless works of art as the place where dreams are made, lives a...

News Company - avatar News Company

Bahrain Property Show 2018: How does it reflect the real estate market development in Bahrain

It is no secret that the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are currently going through a lot of pivotal changes. Such changes do not include economic or po...

News Company - avatar News Company

Di Jones real estate recognises high achievers

Di Jones celebrated its outstanding performers on Saturday (24 February 2018) evening at the Di Jones Real Estate Annual Awards.                               The black-tie Gala Dinner s...

Helen Hull - avatar Helen Hull

Five Reasons Melbourne Rules

If you are traveling in Australia and have left Melbourne off your destination list, then you are going to want to reconsider. Many people consider Melbourne to the best city in the world...

News Feature Team - avatar News Feature Team

Making Friends During Your Campsite Stay

Part of the excitement of vacation is meeting people who you would never otherwise encounter. Staying at a campsite isn’t just about taking in nature. It’s also about sharing the beauty of n...

News Feature Team - avatar News Feature Team

Business Daily Media Business Reports

Di Jones real estate recognises high achievers

Di Jones celebrated its outstanding performers on Saturday (24 February 2018) evening at the Di Jones Real Estate Annual Awards.                               The bla...

Helen Hull - avatar Helen Hull

Eclipse Travel Expands Operations to New Zealand

Eclipse Travel, specialists in key adventure destinations such as Antarctica, the Arctic, Africa and Latin America, have announced today their expansion of operations to ...

Yvonne Kong - avatar Yvonne Kong

How medical professionals can benefit from an overall wealth management solution

As a health care professional, you have made it your life's work to focus on the care and health of the general public. While this kind of work can be extremely rewarding...

News Feature Team - avatar News Feature Team

Why Pinterest Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Pinterest is a growing social media platform that can deliver significant traffic to your website and new followers to your brand. With it’s steady growth and outrageous ...

Greg Nunan - avatar Greg Nunan

The top reasons why gyms fail

Steve Grant is a Business Coach and Founder of GymHub.com.au   Every month thousands of new trainers walk out of their 6-month course with the qualifications needed ...

Steve Grant - avatar Steve Grant

WHITE LABEL NOBA’s Winter 2016 season: Earth + Country

Taking cues from the warm winter colours of tobacco and caramel, and combining them with the strength of navy and the embracing lightness of whites and creams; and then...

Kath Rose - avatar Kath Rose

Former Etihad boss brings substantial event insight to PMY Group Board

Paul Sergeant PMY Group, the architects of the digital insurgency occurring at major venues across Australia and New Zealand, are delighted to welcome 35 year even...

Annie Konieczny - avatar Annie Konieczny

More training for coffee making than property sales: REINSW

Sydney 9 May 2016. An overhaul of education and training standards for the real estate profession must take place to help prevent illegal activities, according to the Rea...

Helen Hull - avatar Helen Hull