Eu and new gender employment standard
European Union prides itself in imposing new laws in many areas such as business, education, health, trade and the list goes on and on. One of the latest cases that caught my eye was the new law regarding gender equality in employment. Positive discrimination or a necessary regulation? Let’s discuss…
In October 2013 the European Parliament’s Committees have voted to support a proposal by the European Commission to address the gender imbalance on company boards in Europe. The EU legislation, if successful, will force many European companies to alter the gender structure of companies’ boards. The aim is to boost women’s presence to 40% by 2020. Europa.eu claims that currently there is only app. 16.6% of women on decision- making positions.
All of that sounds like a great idea to boost the equity in employment, doesn’t it? But actually, hold on.. What is the equity in this case after all? Isn’t it yet another project of positive discrimination? What does the situation will mean for men or companies as a whole? And where in all of that sits the equal opportunities of employment?
Well, first of all, there is a question of why the regulation will only concern women on the decision- making positions? The problem of uneven employment exists on all positions in nearly all industry sectors but so far I have not heard any complaints about low number of women in heavy industries such as mining or construction. On the other hand, we have female dominated areas such as education or nursery and yet no men would complain about the inequity. Also, it turns out that the percentage of salaried workers in Europe has increased by app.5% for women and only by app.2% for men. This proves that actually the employment situation for women has altered quite a lot and still the so called ‘problem’ seems to remain only in the areas where the good money comes in, because nobody really cares about what is happening in the other areas or industries. Now THAT’S a discrimination and inequity!
Plus, I really don’t think that the legislation is needed at all. It will only pigeonhole women and stick on them the ‘I’m a woman, I need more help’ label. Ladies, is it really what we want? I believe that business, especially the decision- making positions require strong, educated and decisive people. And European women DO HAVE all these qualities! Some years ago, the education was a critical factor that determined the gender diversity in employment. But now it all has changed. The truth that no official statistic will confirm is that women are often barriers for themselves and no law regulation will ever change it. Sandberg in her book called ‘Why we have too few women leaders’ says that women underestimate themselves and do not reach for high positions. Besides, even if they could, they often don’t want to as they prefer to spare more time for families, but that’s yet another thing that will never be released to the public as an official statement.
And where in all of that are the equal opportunities? The definition of equal opportunities states that ‘The aim according to this often complex and contested concept is that important jobs should go to those “most qualified” – persons most likely to perform ably in a given task – and not go to persons for arbitrary or irrelevant reasons, such as circumstances of birth, upbringing, friendship ties to whoever is in power, religion, sex, ethnicity, race, caste, or involuntary personal attributes such as disability, age, or sexual orientation’. OK, so is it just me seeing the paradox and nonsense here? The aim of the EU legislation will be to boost women’s presence to 40% but how does EU plan to do it if the equal opportunities clearly state that sex (amongst other reasons) should NOT be a reason for offering someone a job!
Moreover, the legislation establishes the possibility of closing down a business or an organization that does not adhere to this law. I find this absolutely astonishing as to me it clashes with many other regulations, such as market competition. And I believe that it only proves that ‘resolving’ one problem will only cause arising of plenty other issues.
I am a woman and I do not accept this. All of that only leads me to the conclusion that women do not want to be treated EQUALLY, they want to be treated BETTER than men. And I do not accept it even more, knowing that achieving a high position in business should take nothing but determination and hard work, but never special treatment.
I know many of you might find this post controversial and I’d be more than happy to hear your opinions.