Discussion Held

The other day one of my professors read a piece from a fiction book, supposedly written by a man, in which a female employee laments that all men in her organisation are sexist pigs who will never change. He read it out simply to make us aware that sexual harassment in the workplace is something we all need to be aware of. He then asked for comments. Have a guess whose hand went up first?

My opening remark was that the sentiments expressed in the passage he read out, although a work of fiction, are a foundation of third wave feminism. I then stopped to briefly explain the difference between second and third wave feminism, because this appeared to be new territory for everyone, including the professor. I then said that, if these sentiments are true and men are truly unreformable sex pests, the logical conclusion is a return to segregated workplaces and an admission that those old dinosaurs of the 1950s were right all along. Is this what everyone wants? Silence.

A lively discussion ensued and I withdrew for a few minutes, but when the subject of the gender pay gap and the glass ceiling came up, I had a wealth of pre-prepared arguments to put forward. The clincher was, if all these brilliant women are underpaid, why hasn’t a company sprung up which hires them all and crushed their competitors into dust? That one made the professor pause.

The thing is, as I wrote here, if you’re going to raise a contentious issue you’d better hope there’s not someone in the audience who’s given it serious consideration and reached a different conclusion from you unless you have all your ducks in a row. All I was doing is repeating the strongest lines of argument I’d seen others make – such as Christina Hoff Sommers, Ben Shapiro, and Jordan Peterson – during endless debates on the same subject. At one point I had to confess, with a grin, that reading and writing about this stuff is a hobby of mine. I don’t think anyone expected that.

Still, it was a good discussion and the professor right to raise it: sexual harassment is a big topic in the modern business environment, whether we like it or not. I also learned from the professor that Switzerland is a very conservative country, and they haven’t bought into a lot of the gender equality stuff. As I’ve said before, the Swiss are a serious people.

Share

31 thoughts on “Discussion Held

  1. “I then said that, if these sentiments are true and men are truly unreformable sex pests, the logical conclusion is a return to segregated workplaces and an admission that those old dinosaurs of the 1950s were right all along. Is this what everyone wants?”

    I think that the dominant narrative is that men are a tough nut to crack, but are ultimately reformable sex-pests. That way, tough but compassionate career-women can garner massive kudos and salaries from sorting them out.

    Most office feminists I have known seem to thrive on these fantasies. When you overhear them talking to one another, it’s all about putting vile men in their places, or out-performing them.

  2. As I’ve said before, the Swiss are a serious people.

    I have not seen this reflected by talking mouths in the media much but my (very) lefty (former) friends had a pathological hatred of Switzerland. Any mention of the country in conversation would set them off (first noticed when I started having to travel there for work).

    If Venezuela is proof that lefty policies are immensely damaging, Switzerland is near proof that the opposite to lefty policies are immensely rewarding. Direct and local democracy, strict immigration requirements and low taxes and look at the place: an international titan in finance, pharmaceuticals, chocolate and watches despite its relatively small population.

  3. Tim, Are you ABSOLUTELY sure the Prof was seeking a genuine open discussion and not just teaching you to quack in tune?
    Which skill is more saleable in corporate land?

    You’ve certainly wasted no time in emerging as the class maverick. I hope it doesn’t rebound, but I admire your courage. Business needs this sanity check but seldom thanks for it.

    Where I work the “I am the new CTO” periodically seeks ideas to solve the business problems. I once was foolish enough to offer such an idea. I was seriously scorched by the ensuing thunderbolt, but the recoil to the CTO was worse and he was soon gone. I remain. But less willing to openly offer ideas and now well trained in duckspeak.

    My best wishes and good luck with the course.

  4. ‘The clincher was, if all these brilliant women are underpaid, why hasn’t a company sprung up which hires them all and crushed their competitors into dust?’

    Like Steve Shirley who founded FI Group!

  5. “this appeared to be new territory for everyone”
    “That one made the professor pause.”

    I think you nailed it with these two statements. People on the right hear the left’s arguments all the time. The reverse is not true. He and the rest of the class had probably never heard the alternative POV

  6. “The clincher was, if all these brilliant women are underpaid, why hasn’t a company sprung up which hires them all and crushed their competitors into dust?”

    They can’t because of sex equality laws cf Dame Steve:

    ” She wanted to create job opportunities for women with dependents, and predominantly employed women, with only 3 male programmers in the first 300 staff,[7] until the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 made that practice illegal. ”

    Not that those awful 3rd wave feminists would have the knowledge to know that or of the did the self awareness to admit it.

  7. “The clincher was, if all these brilliant women are underpaid, why hasn’t a company sprung up which hires them all and crushed their competitors into dust?”

    Elisabeth Holmes, Carla Fiorina and Marisa Meyer aren’t returning my calls

  8. More to the point, successful companies get into the public eye and need to perform various rituals to satisfy those sitting on the tin thrones of public comment. One of these rituals is to appoint people from fashionable demographics into visible positions. Whether those positions have any purpose other than to quack when the media is looking for a duck is another matter. Possible career-destroying topic for your MBA thesis, Tim?

  9. Possible career-destroying topic for your MBA thesis, Tim?

    Indeed, I think I’ve found about half a dozen topics that would see me thrown to the bottom of Lake Geneva with weights around my ankles.

  10. “The clincher was, if all these brilliant women are underpaid, why hasn’t a company sprung up which hires them all and crushed their competitors into dust?”

    But… but… there is. It’s called a nunnery. They just haven’t got round to making anything yet.

  11. “The clincher was, if all these brilliant women are underpaid, why hasn’t a company sprung up which hires them all and crushed their competitors into dust? That one made the professor pause.”

    Yes, Dame Stephanie Shirley and FI Group. Good company too, did the black box software for Concorde.

    The true point of the story being that such discrimination did exist, it was exploited, and that we don’t see it being exploited now makes it difficult to see that the discrimination exists today.

  12. “At one point I had to confess, with a grin, that reading and writing about this stuff is a hobby of mine.”

    Hmmmm….not a good move, Tim? You risk being categorised as an axe-grinder and obsessive – which you aren’t.

  13. “They can’t because of sex equality laws cf Dame Steve:”

    Nonsense. What % of primary school teachers are female? Are LEAs being prosecuted for being breach of their statutory requirement?

    As long as a company did not make it a written policy to only hire women, but just happened to end up with 70/80/90% female staff then they’d be fine. Not least because none of the usual complainers would be complaining – an all female tech company would be held up as a shining example of how wonderful women were, rather than prosecuted for sexual discrimination.

    And with all those uber efficient female staff they’d make mincemeat of the competition, right?

    Incidentally this has made me think – if companies can benefit from ‘diversity’ by employing more women if they are male dominated, does this mean female dominated organisations could equally benefit from a bit more male input? The NHS for example is 77% female – if an 80% male company can gain efficiency by employing more women and less men, surely it follows that the NHS would be far more efficient if it employed less women and more men?

  14. Good job, Tim! You’ve successfully negged all the late-30 formerly-purple-dyed-hair ex-college-lesbian women in the classroom.

    We eagerly await the tales of your conquests.

  15. Good job, Tim! You’ve successfully negged all the late-30 formerly-purple-dyed-hair ex-college-lesbian women in the classroom.

    We eagerly await the tales of your conquests.

    Hells yeah! This can be the much awaited second novel.

  16. @Jonathan

    Purple haired? Too mainstream & normal, more likely blue or green with shaven bits &/or dreads.

  17. What % of primary school teachers are female?

    The vast majority. Both my wife and eldest son work in primary schools and they love to recruit male teachers. They just don’t get the applications.

  18. What does this have to do with management that needs teaching?

    I’m a bit skeptical after a few posts that this isn’t about management but more about charm school – learning the etiquette of senior public sector or giant corporate management.

  19. Be careful, Tim. How old’s the rest of the class? You don’t want to be the Mature Aged Student Who Wants to Have Interesting Discussions…

  20. They just don’t get the applications.

    Most men aren’t that interesting in working with kids, and the ones that are stay the hell away because the assumption is that they’re child molesters.

  21. Hmmmm….not a good move, Tim? You risk being categorised as an axe-grinder and obsessive – which you aren’t.

    Theo, I tell the truth and let the cards fall where they may. I’m too stupid to play politics.

  22. @Sam Vara
    “Most office feminists I have known seem to thrive on these fantasies. When you overhear them talking to one another, it’s all about putting vile men in their places, or out-performing them.”

    In my experience, many of these stories end with the line “and then everybody clapped”

    @Theo: “You risk being categorised as an axe-grinder and obsessive – which you aren’t.”

    Except on the topic of plastic bags. And polyamory.

  23. Just out of interest, what is the gender balance of your class Tim?

    There are around 20-25 of us, it’s about 1/3 male.

  24. Wow. That’s VERY brave of you. What’s the reaction of the rest of the class to you more generally?

    For the record,
    1) this count as bravery – you risk being completely ostracised by everyone. I would expect – in almost every western country – your arguments to be twisted and taken out of context – or just blatantly misrepresented.

    2) I wouldn’t do this in my current place of work for the reasons in 1) above.

  25. I would expect – in almost every western country – your arguments to be twisted and taken out of context – or just blatantly misrepresented.

    There’s a reason why I didn’t bother looking at American universities.

  26. There are around 20-25 of us, it’s about 1/3 male.

    No transsexuals?

    I’m disgusted by the phobic non-inclusivity of your college.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *