the problem with "equality"

Don't mention the hormones, female lawyers told. Problem is, basically everyone is sort-of right. Harrison is trying to tell female lawyers not to act like a separate group; which is a valid approach to equality (in fact, it's a pretty pure form of equality). Meanwhile Batrouney is pushing the Affirmative Action barrow based on statistics about how many female lawyers are in the highest positions within the profession. I don't agree with that approach but I recognise it as having the same ultimate goals.

Problem as I see it is that Affirmative Action got the wrong end of the stick; by focussing on getting jobs filled with whatever minority is being disadvantaged. That's an extremely counter-productive method since it creates a focus on the very differences which shouldn't matter; encourages tokenism; and can lead to the hiring of people who are less skilled than other applicants, but represent a minority. The push should be to get more people within the minority group to train up and apply for the jobs; ensuring there are no blocks at that stage of the process. You can't increase the number of people getting jobs without increasing the number of people applying. By the time you're at the stage of filling a position, it's too bloody late to make a difference; and besides that you have no right to be given preference over another applicant based on factors unrelated to the job (such as race, religion, gender).

Meanwhile, how can you ask to be treated differently and the same.... at the same time? There are so many crossed messages: this article quotes claims that women are inherently better at the job, specifically because they are different. Then it quotes stats saying that women are disadvantaged, because they are different. Then it quotes a call for different treatment, because they're different; then it quotes a claim that women are the only hope for the law, which is a discriminatory statement. So anyone looking for a coherent message can't find one. It just looks like female lawyers want the same argument to prove two different things; which is not going to work amongst lawyers.

At the end of the day I'd rather see issues broken down into generic problems - if a specific group has trouble funding and accessing education; set up methods to help anyone who can't afford or access education. Do not set up a specific method to help a specific minority - that just segregates them. If you approach the problem from a generic standpoint; you can not only solve the problem for one minority, you can solve it for any individual who ever faces that problem. Then you have equality - everyone has an equal chance. You can't achieve equality by giving specific people advantages that others don't have; all you accomplish is ultimately disadvantaging a different group.... who will then need help...


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