When will we be equal?
In this post bioniciconic founder John Jackson explains why he believes it’s time to set a date for achieving gender equality in the UK.
When will we be equal?
One evening I was watching the Prime Minister on the TV news. She was commenting about the sexual harassment of women working at the Presidents Club event at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
I’d like to hope that everyone is on the same page in thinking that the treatment of women at this event was fundamentally inappropriate and unacceptable. However, considering that the guests were all male and drawn from the upper echelons of the establishment, clearly we can’t think this is the case.
The following morning, I was struck by a thought, whilst I remembered Prime Minister talking about this event on the news, I couldn’t remember a single thing she said.
I was left with no impression that our Government was going to take positive steps to ensure this behaviour towards women would never happen again. There was no call for women who had previously worked as hostesses at this event over the last 30 years to come forward if they had also been subjected to sexual harassment.
Nothing of any real substance was said.
This led me to think about the issue of gender equality in the UK, and I asked myself this simple question: When will we be equal?
The truth is there is not set date. There’s no clear action plan, and whilst our politicians make the right noises about the need for gender equality, you get no sense that we as a nation are proactively working towards achieving it.
Encouragingly, more and more women (and too few men) are demanding equality through public campaigning, but at the end of the day we’re talking about equality here. There should be absolutely no need to protest for equality.
This is why I believe the time is right to put a date in place when the UK will achieve gender equality. In an ideal world this would have been achieved many years ago.
However, and especially as there are many reasons for the existence and persistence of gender inequality, it will take time to achieve. My concern is that unless we set a date for achieving gender equality we simply won’t fully achieve it. Instead whist progress will continue to be made it will be ad hoc and slow.
By setting a date would crystalise the need for plans and targets to be put in place and for action to be taken.
We can see this happening with the measures being taken to protect the environment, where by having targets in place more is being achieved. This includes Local Authorities working to meet recycling targets. Household rubbish is starting to be collected less frequently. Whilst in cases there are protests about this, ultimately it is a positive change if it helps protect our environment. In this example, by having targets to meet Local Authorities are better placed to become part of the environmental solution.
We’ve also seen the Welsh Government be truly innovative by introducing a charge for carrier bags, this has meant people now take their own reusable bags to the shops, and as a result millions less bags are ending up in landfill.
Now imagine adopting the same approach for gender equality:
- Set a date for when the UK will become a gender equal nation
- Quantify what needs to be achieved to become a gender equal nation
- Be truly inclusive from the outset
- Put targets and deadlines against against all the measures
- Be clear as to who is responsible for achieving the targets, including:
- UK Government
- Devolved Governments
- Local Authorities
- Industry bodies
- Monitor progress
- Fully promote the benefits of gender equality
- Encourage everyone to play their part in achieving gender equality.
Would this be too much to ask for?
There is an absolute case that we should not have to ask for equality in our society, it should be here, and it should be here now.
Back to the real world, we know this simply isn’t the case. Many of the issues are structural ones, and to achieve lasting change means we need to be confident that our leaders aren’t just issuing platitudes when when it comes to gender equality. These are the people who need set the set the clock ticking and tells us when we will all be equal.