I think I have to break up with Ita…Well at least we need a temporary separation, which is very difficult as I have a serious girl crush on Ita.
I have a problem with her view that we need quotas for women in corporate and political spaces. Ita recently referred to Julie Bishop as a token woman in the Liberal Party. Well she probably is, but I would also go so far as to say most politicians are tokens because they can easily be replaced if a few decide they don’t like them anymore. Just ask Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd. Yes it would be great to have more women in politics but I wonder how many real female options there were in this case. I wonder just how many women (and men for that matter) are really willing and able to do what is required to be a successful politician. Not me, that’s for sure. I can also tell you I would feel more like a token if I had gotten a job that in an organization was required to have a certain amount of females in certain positions. I think the biggest issue here is jobs for mates, and this goes on with female and male managers (I have seen both cases first hand). This leads to inferior candidates getting jobs they shouldn’t necessarily have just because they are friends with the boss, or dare I say it, suck up to the boss in the right way.
I recently read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. Her view is that many women start to pull back a bit in their careers because at some stage they want to have children and may need to take a break or reduce the hours they can work. There are also the times that women don’t have the confidence to step forward and say I want this or I can do that, we think if we work hard someone will notice and promote us. When we do have a family, most women tend to take on the majority of the household running by default. So of course it is easier for men to take the higher positions if women automatically assume the role of homemaker. Whether is male or female, however, lets not forget that choosing a demanding career is not without significant sacrifice, as is choosing to be the primary caregiver. I am not saying either is right or wrong, as the important thing here is that we have the choice. We all, both men and women, need to make sure we choose a partner in the true sense of the word, or choose not to have one rather than the wrong one.
Ita herself is one of the most successful women in Australia and I don’t believe she has got where she is by being part of a quota. I believe she got there by guts, determination and being really good at what she does.
Til next time…