At the risk of being accused of being a misogynist or a troglodyte I’m going to put myself out there on this issue.
I often challenge whether we are asking of ourselves the right questions, are we living in a paradigm based on ignorance, apathy, idleness or all three in our own little patch of dirt that we live on. It’s easy to be head down backside up making a living for our family especially in small business, so much so that we feel we don’t have time to dwell on the bigger issues.
It is in this environment that I’ll put two observations on the table; we actually do have time for the bigger issues, we just need to make informed decisions on what they actually are and why they are so important that we do make the time. The second observation is that people with either time on their hands or vested interests are often the voices we hear, the ones making the most noise about issues such as both gender and income gaps.
Is the asking the question why they are not improving the right question. Based on the observation the gender gap is not getting any closer and the income gap is even getting wider?
Interesting that in the same day, two separate statements on the status of women in society were released…. One from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has said women cannot be treated as equal to men, and has accused feminists of rejecting motherhood.
“You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” he told a meeting in Istanbul. “It is against nature.”
The other is a report by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency which states that Women are under-represented in management positions, paid 24 per cent less than men. The new study has found that women make up just a quarter of those employed in the key management positions of Australian companies.
As well as an under-representation of women in management positions, the findings revealed the average full-time earnings of men were almost 25 per cent more. One-third of Australia’s workforce was included in the data, with more than 11,000 employers reporting to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) on more than 4 million employees.
The most important thing I ever learnt in the Army was to ask “So What”. The military abbreviates everything to make it easy to remember, not to dumb it down, as some commentators like to believe. Put simply like this it could be interpreted as a statement of indifference, the actual meaning is; Review the implications and possible reactions that may take place when you implement your plan, evaluate the consequences if you do not adjust and determine on that basis the best plan to execute. The beauty of this approach is to test the validity of your plans and to consider higher levels of actions that may otherwise have been ignored.
On this basis, I am actually going to ask the question, not why is the gap not closing, but…
Is equality important or even an issue?
When government starts imposing conditions on the market, it always creates unintended consequences at the margins. This is my biggest fear with an imposed approach by government to create equality of outcomes. Even more than this, examples like Gail Kelly show that based on merit, females can and do rise to the top positions in organisations.
Do we want equal numbers in top roles, I think this is a nonsensical question to begin with, it goes from the sublime to the ridiculous to suggest that we should employ throughout an organisation gender and by extension cultural rations based on the demographics of society. Common sense says that we should engage people in roles based on merit.
More important questions how do we eradicate domestic violence.
How do we create equal opportunities in society.
When will no child live in poverty.
How do we minimise the environmental impact of mankind
What will we have to do to prevent children dying from water borne disease
Malaria, Polio… the list goes on.
The question is a false first world question
When you look at the issues that are really important around the world, I think that an approach to create equality cannot solve them. To find answers to the biggest problems we need the best and brightest rewarded for their efforts to find answers i.e. we need the right incentive in the market to do this.
Busy people in small business know how the world works, while they don’t think they have the time to solve the problems of the world the truth is that they are the most important ones who will.
Until we stop worrying about what other people have, why I have a self-limiting millstone around my neck that stops me getting g ahead, so long as we believe that others control our destiny you can never be everything you want to be,
The reality is that in this country while not perfect we certainly have a far more level playing field from which to become successful than most other nations. If we focus on the real question, how do we set the conditions that create incentive and as an intended consequence – prosperity, then we can and will solve all the other really important issues that matter to mankind.
Yours in Successful Small Businesses…