Joan Bakewell on the Equality Bill

She’s got a rather feisty piece today:

Legislation for change has at any time to confront the natural resistance of those who are happy with the status quo. In times of recession it is even more instinctive for businesses to cling to old, familiar ways — they assume that new legislation means increased red tape: in fact, this Bill often frees businesses to act more independently.

Who can now deny that the legislation of the 1970s that launched society towards a more equal future was a fair set of measures to introduce? It wasn’t long ago that a woman could not open a bank account or raise a mortgage without a male signature on the application. Some were denied access to their company’s pension fund. Now such situations strike us as old-fashioned, even quaint. Young women starting out today would be amazed by such restraints. They approach their future expecting and rejoicing in their equality.

We have seen the times and the law change attitudes. The Equality Bill is the next step, bringing a multitude of small but significant improvements where they will be welcome: preventing gay children from being bullied at school; making religious dietary needs available from meals-on-wheels services; requiring job recruitment to consider flexible and part-time working.

Those who oppose it probably don’t suffer too many disadvantages. The chances are that they are white, male, middle-aged, middle-class and in full-time employment. They may have loud voices but they don’t speak for the rest of us.

You can read the full column here.

0 thoughts on “Joan Bakewell on the Equality Bill

  1. Sorry, Lynne, but this article still fails to convince me that discriminating against a group of people because of the way they were born is a good thing to do.

  2. J, the article is about the Equality Bill. It has measures like making firms pay men and women equally if they are doing the same sort of job. Based on what you say, you should be in favour of the Bill I think. I also do not see what in the Times article defending the Bill you disagree with, unless you are assuming that anything to do with equalities must involve some anti-men measures.

  3. Steve I think you’ll find that J was talking about the part of the bill concerned with deny jobs to men and giving them to women thing, despite the fact both are equally qualified to do the task. Obviously a fact such as that isn’t going to be mentioned in an article by some sexist feminist who clearly isn’t remotely interested in equality in the slightest.In fact there are few circumstances where two candidates really are absolutely equally, and employers should just recall the best two candidates for a second interview and actually work out which one has the edge.Therefore, in reality what the bill is going to introduce (and what is is encouraging) is the employment of women over superior male candidates, but only where it is hard to prove such superiority in court, or only where the difference isn’t too vast and thus can be glossed over.Not only is this bad for equality and clearly very sexist, but to compound all that it is bad for companies too, as ultimately a lower caliber of employees results in poorer performance and lower profits. Ultimately that makes companies less viable and if such policies have an impact over a large scale that means companies going bust and yet more jobs going overseas.Anyone interested in real equality (i.e. equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcomes) woudl oppose much of this bill with a huge amount of determination.Obviously Lynne isn’t interested in equality as she seems to be loving all the sexism it contains (or at least pretending it doesn’t exist).If many other Lib dem candidates are supporting this rubbish or at least not speaking out against the really awful parts of the bill then they’re not getting my vote this year. They certainly wouldn’t get it if i lived in Lynne’s constituency that’s for sure.

  4. Here’s a far better article on the issue in the same Newspaper. Great to see the Time at least showing balance on the issue. “http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/minette_marrin/article6211396.ece?Submitted=trueHere are the highlights:”I have been constantly disappointed in women, particularly in politics. With a few shining exceptions, women in this government just aren’t much good. Everyone knows that, but most women are too sisterly and most men are too henpecked to say so.The Blair Babes are a constant shock to the self-esteem of any sensible woman. When one of them comes on the Today programme, twittering and wittering like a flustered schoolgirl, unable to answer a hard question but equally unable to deflect it with any skill, merely gabbling irrelevantly another text that teacher taught her, my heart sinks. Even Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of the party, is an offender.Now Harman has succeeded in driving through her cherished equality proposals, which in the name of equality will make it possible to discriminate against individuals on grounds of sex or race. If Hattie has her way, the Equality Bill she unveiled last week will make it legal for employers to discriminate against white men in favour of white women and black people. This horribly muddled thinking gives meaning to the misogynist’s phrase “feminine logic”.””Here we have a spectacle that is about as bad for women as it gets. Female politicians, many promoted above their ability, seek to promote another woman above her democratic entitlement and against their own principles and meanwhile legislate to promote working women over men. With supporters like Harman and her crew, we women do not need enemies.There are plenty of reasons very able women have not risen to the top in many fields. That is no reason to insist on pushing less able women to token positions near the top. That is demeaning to those women and unfair to everyone else as well. Many very able women would not consider standing for parliament during their family-centred years. The unavoidable result is that there is not a rush of very able women into politics to provide a lot of good candidates to choose between, compared with male candidates.””I don’t need a white woman to represent my views and wishes, even though I am a white woman. I need an intelligent, responsible person of any colour or sex, someone of experience and broad understanding.”