Business

May 16, 2018

The scandalous lie beneath the ‘merit v diversity’ argument

Opponents of increased female participation insist that merit should win out over diversity. But history has routinely shown us that "merit" is a myth.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

By chance, the business and shareholder communities are racked with dissension over the role of female directors at the same time the parliamentary arm of those communities, the Liberal Party, is engaged in one of its regular bouts on introspection about why it has so few female MPs.

AMP has been ground zero of the female director imbroglio, with various reactionaries using the resignation of Catherine Brenner and the departure (completed or pending) of three female directors as evidence that the emphasis on diversity on corporate boards was undermining governance and performance, was political correctness gone mad etc. Obviously, no one was drawing the same conclusion when white middle-aged men were presiding over the long string of corporate debacles in major companies in recent decades. Where were the women when HIH was collapsing, when James Hardie was ducking its responsibilities, when Babcock and Brown got found out by the financial crisis, when Commonwealth Financial Planning was ripping off customers, when our biggest miners were trashing billions in shareholder value? Or we could go back further to the 1980s, if you like. Strong correlation between incompetence and criminality and having a penis, no?

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7 comments

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7 thoughts on “The scandalous lie beneath the ‘merit v diversity’ argument

  1. Michael

    True equality will only be achieved when there are equally as many useless, overpaid, venal, out-of-touch, no-talent women on boards as men. O glory day!

  2. kyle Hargraves

    I forget who it was but someone employed(?) by Crikey wrote a idiotic piece about a really competent reporter who was (1) male and (2) an outright office prat. I can’t recall (all of) the negative attributes associated to the fictional character but the implication was, from the female writer, that the guy ought to be fired – irrespective of his talent and knowledge as a reporter – because (to identify one “advantage” {and I quote}) “your staff will fucking love you”. Yep – she actually wrote that conclusion!

    More than one contributer pointed out that the “conclusion” from the constructed illustration was simple-minded at best and incompetent at worst. Recruitment (or personnel selection) is a black art. Then there are acknowledged differences between males and females in regard to tasks (function v’s social content etc). There clearly is an argument for “merit” v’s quotas. The question is : who decides on “merit”

  3. bushby jane

    Must all be a matter of perception, Eric Abetz has never employed ‘the best person for the job’, but perhaps so to him if they will act as his mouthpiece. He rules the Tasmania liberal party and preselects to his heart’s content, not the best people for the job. One wonders how Sue Hickey slipped through the net, although she had been trying for some time apparently.

  4. Jim Egan

    The reason there are less girls in politics and more in teaching and nursing is that they don’t like politics as much as teaching and nursing.

    Simple eh??

    1. kyle Hargraves

      I can’t imagine what the world would do without you Jim!

      1. Jim Egan

        Yes…it really is that simple.

        I am an ‘esteemed’ member of a STEM association for so many years now that I don’t pay fees. The leadership team are fully into the ‘Diversity’ agenda and complain all the time about only 12% (17% by some other measure) of the Australian profession being women.

        Lately they have been drawing comparisons with Iran, where they claim 50% of STEM workers are women and 70% of students. I don’t know if these numbers are correct, but Iran does seem to still have laws which rate a woman as legally 50% of a man. Two women are required to give equal testimony as one man in a court. Iranian women are also forced to wear head dress in public. Maybe the women are the only ones with the brains in Iran, and they are going to run the technology (hopefully to eventually nuke the ayatollahs).

        So I wake in fright at night at our diverse attempts to get women (and all other non-whites) into STEM professions, and only 12% of those recalcitrant females are frikin’ interested. We need some Iranians running the show obviously.

        1. kyle Hargraves

          Interesting remarks as to your STEM association Jim. I was a member of the Australian Computer Society when membership was quite strict.I “lasted” two years. The first year was bad enough but I thought I might have just struck a tough time with the Society.
          I couldn’t believe half the crap (and could barely believe the other half) that was printed or asserted by the senior members. Na. It Wasn’t my scene at all. Such were also the days where a Management Consulting firm would scrutinise a CV for reference to membership. I had a standard qualifying remark on my C.V declaring that I was eligible for membership – and left it at that. By way of comparison the various Linux User Groups did happen to be my scene.

          Mate, you are referring to sura 2.282 of the Quaran. The “rule” is not specific to Iran or indeed to Shia. Moreover, it is NOT true that two female witnesses are ALWAYS considered as equal to only one male witness but only in particular situations. In fact, there are a few (about 4-5) sections of the Quaran that refer to witnesses without specifying the gender. Sura 2.282 is the only verse in the Quaran that declares that two female witnesses are equal to one male witness and that is in cases of dispute over what Christians would describe as Matrimonial matters.

          On the larger point, even in Syra (prior to it all happening) most of the managerial positions in banks were occupied by females.As stated previously in other posts women tend to recruit someone as to the envisaged working relationship and not in terms of the fundamental skill set of the applicant; particularly when women are on the selection panels considering (other) female applicants.

          Males, on the other hand, in general, ARE concerned with the skill-set of the applicant and are much less interested in the envisaged social aspects of the consequences of the recruitment. There are variations of course.

          Does anyone remember the self-declared “smart Arab girl” who wrote a piece about six weeks ago for an envisaged audience of white red-necked Aussie males. Crikey deleted most of the comments! So, in that regard we have had an instance of the other extreme.

          The ‘management’ of your Club, Jim, seems to have a similar problem to committees of Leftist organisations – in the main. They only give a damn if (1) they see themselves as “running the show” and (2) expect {or demand} that matters be changed by “tomorrow”. In other words they seek to hurry history and history is most unkind to those who presume to hurry history. Its a case of “patience grasshopper” : which doesn’t suit them.

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