If gender balance is needed in every business and agency – then here’s why the idea is a load of balls

Dunno why sheilas keep banging on about gender balance, but – alas – they do.

This carping, Alf supposes, is an inevitable consequence of giving them the vote, which only goes to show what a big mistake that was.

Since then it has been all downhill and we are near the bottom, but some feisty academic of the female persuasion wants to push things further nevertheless.

She’s a Massey University professor who has seized on the same idea that made Labour a laughing stock not too long ago.

She is championing a quota system to boost female representation in the workplace and help fix gender inequality, about which Alf is inclined to make two observations:

* There is no point in trying to fix something that is working perfectly already.

* And how can a business be improved by discarding talent, ability and merit as the basis for hiring?


But these are the sorts of daft ideas that were bound to flow from the recent Asia-Pacific conference on gender equality, which – hopefully – did not involve any expenditure of good public money, although the professor presumably is paid from the public purse.

Here’s what we learn from Stuff:

Massey University human resource management professor Jane Parker said although there had been a national increase in women in powerful roles, it was still “relatively low” compared with other countries.

Parker said Germany had introduced a “quota system” for a minimum number of women on the boards of listed companies.

Norway introduced the same quota system in 2003, requiring at least 40 per cent of directorial roles be filled by women.

“It would be useful in the short term,” Parker said.

The report at Stuff on this feminist flim-flam mentions the public fuss about a man ban after Labour considered holding some women-only selections for candidate positions. The idea was canned after a heated backlash.

But Parker still felt that pay equality at least was something that should be central to any company’s ethos.

The pay gap and gender equality were the sort of areas companies overlooked, she said.

If gender balance is such an admirable thing to have in an organisation, what are we to make of outfits like the Health Promotion Agency?

Its board of seven people – chaired by a woman – has four sheilas and three men.

Dunno how to balance the genders in that situation. Perhaps three-three and a trans-sexual.

More fascinating, according to its 2013/14 annual report, the HPA employed 81 full-time equivalents

An admirable hiring policy was used.

HPA’s process for recruiting and inducting new staff means it advertises, recruits and appoints the best candidate for the role. HPA advertises widely (internally and externally) to ensure it employs a high calibre of diverse staff. All staff undergo a formal induction process, which is continually developed and refined.

And guess what?

This means 76% are female.

Not good enough for gender balance, obviously.

Let’s have a quota to bring in more blokes.

On second thoughts – nah. That idea is a load of balls.


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