NZer Kevin Roberts was “suspended” from his job as head of the Saatchi advertising empire for saying companies should be judged by how happy they make their female employees happy, not by how many with female parts occupy the boardroom. The feminazis rose up in droves. “People like Kevin Roberts no longer belong in ad agencies,” thundered the politest of the commentariat.We’re supposed to back his sacking say Twitterati, because this is apparently offensive to all right-thinking social-justice warriors. Get with their programme, Kev!
But what did he say that was so wrong, wonders Elena Shalneva? What’s wrong with being honest about “gender diversity”?
Not only is he well-informed on the subject, but he approaches the complex issue of gender diversity in a more intelligent and nuanced way than most…
From what I have read, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what Roberts said. On the contrary, he dared to approach an issue as sensitive as gender diversity in an honest and humane way, rather than resort to the one-sided ideological statements more customary to this subject.
How dare he. How dare he point out that that the “’Darwinian urges of wealth, power, and fame’ do not necessarily apply to everyone, and that what many people want is just to do ‘great work’ and be happy rather than reach the top.”
So he’s been suspended for sins against feminism. “The new gender intolerance has claimed another scalp,” says Ella Whelan, who concedes that Roberts may have got things wrong – “his assertion that women don’t want top jobs because they ‘simply want to be happy and do great work’ is a little naive. Many women will understand that taking a top position will involve a great deal of sacrifice” – but hardly deserves being tarred and feathered.
The crazy thing about this whole debacle is that Roberts’ comments don’t actually harm women. He’s obviously a stranger to the factors that shape many women’s decisions – he’s clearly not had to come home to a kitchen that needs mopping after a long day’s work. But all he’s really guilty of is not being interested in having a discussion about gender. That’s fair enough. Gallop and her feminist supporters however, are undermining women’s freedom. In their assertion that women need a leg-up in the workplace, they paint women as incapable of being independent agents in the world. Gallop and other proponents of gender equality believe that women are incapable of forging their own destinies.
We need to remind ourselves that discrimination in the workplace is illegal and that, as Joanna Williams has pointed out on spiked, ‘the gender pay gap is dead’. So, in a sense, Roberts is right to wonder why this zombie debate on gender equality is still being rehearsed? It really is all over.
Roberts doesn’t want a debate about gender equality, but neither do his critics. Gender equality, it seems, is not up for discussion. Anyone who has criticised the political inadequacies of contemporary feminism knows this. If we want to have a real debate about women’s freedom (a discussion on reproductive rights would be a good start), we should have one. But let’s stop this pretence of a debate about gender and get serious about defending women’s agency and capabilities. That means allowing men like Roberts to have an opinion and to voice it freely without being silenced or sacked.
But if we were all allowed our own opinion, what would the world’s social-justice warriors do with all their spare time?