Canadian Government: Gender Equality Done the Wrong Way
Canada's new prime minister Justin Trudeau stole the hearts of people and media around the world with his decision to appoint equal number of men and women to his ministerial cabinet. As good as it may sound, it's the worst example of gender inequality I have seen in a long time.
What is gender equality?
Gender equality, also known as sex equality, gender egalitarianism, sexual equality or equality of the genders, is the view that men and women should receive equal treatment, and should not be discriminated against based on gender. (source: United Nations. Report of the Economic and Social Council for 1997. A/52/3.18 September 1997, through Wikipedia)
The point is, that if e.g. someone applies for a job, they should get an equal opportunity, and latter also the same wage, regardless of their gender.
That is actually one of the biggest problems we're currently facing. A recent U.N. report revealed, that women earn on average 24 % less than men. Also, Harvard Business Review states that women are less likely to get a promotion.
What is NOT gender equality?
From all the examples that come to mind, one seems to be quite relevant in this context. Gender equality is not hiring someone because of their gender. And that goes both for men, and for women.
If Justin Trudeau appointed — either in good faith, or as a PR stunt — 50 % of women to his cabinet, it is a very clear example of discrimination. Moreover, I find this particularly insulting, as getting a job because of your gender is not something one should be proud of.
But the response from the general public and media left me puzzled. TIME magazine went by far the furthest. In her article Here's What Happens When You Put More Women in Government Charlotte Alter applauds Trudeau's decision and continues with examples of countries that have the majority of women in their parliaments and governments, linking this fact with successes without any evidence or research. TIME's Facebook post reads:
Finland's government is 62 % female, and they have the best education system in the world — and it's free.
If you expect you will find some link between the gender and the education system in the article, you will be disappointed.
When we really want universal gender equality, we should be really careful and think our actions through at the beginning. Because — as this case clearly demonstrates — we could be doing just the opposite.