Canada’s Standing Committee on the Status of Women issued a report on April 10, 2019 which recommends, among other things, that the federal government give financial incentives to political parties who nominate more women.
Typically, the idea of asking people to pay you for providing women is called pimping.
Of course, paying for women is a common practice for the federal government. Pimpin’ ain’t easy but it’s something the Trudeau government is well acquainted with.
It is rather shocking to see a group devoted to improving the lives of women suggesting that “cash for women” is a good policy decision. When Justin Trudeau announced a mandate to acquire a 50% female cabinet the response may have been different if he’d mentioned wanting to buy them.
There is an unhealthy obsession in our society with numbers. If we were to discover only one out of every three female politicians gained her position through merit and gravitas how would that percentage improve the status of women?
Perhaps there is a misunderstanding of what “status” means.
There is a difference between improving quality of life or social standing as opposed to merely moving women around to different locations in the business world.
If we think about this as a chess board, half the pieces on the board may be female but if that half comprises the two rows of pawns it doesn’t do much to improve the value of women. Of course, a pawn can play a powerful role on the chessboard, especially if it successfully crosses to the other side, but most people don’t care what gender a pawn is as long as it fulfills its job in the game properly.
Right now the federal government is paying women to be on the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. Unfortunately, those women think it’s a great idea to pay politicians to simply put pictures of other women on campaign posters. Why not just demand more committees comprised solely of women so those women can then demand more money from the government without needing to get elected at all?
Why not pay the women on the Status of Women Committee more money? Then they can just dole it out the way they see fit. That’s the power of tax dollars at work.
In discussing the possible use of quotas “witnesses explained that quotas can reinforce the idea that women are elected because of their gender and not because of their ability or competence.” Additionally, they noted, “in order to meet the quota, political parties will nominate candidates in ridings in which they are unlikely—or even highly unlikely—to be successful.”
This same logic somehow did not factor into their recommendation on buying nominations.
The fact that women preferred to put a price on women rather than just simply demand a quota doesn’t seem to advance the status of women at all. Perhaps we need a Standing Committee on the Perception of Women by the Status of Women Committee. That would create a few new jobs.
The report is called “Elect Her: A roadmap for improving the representation of women in Canadian politics.” The only thing that this report has made clear to me is that there is likely a good reason women and men don’t compete against each other in the game of chess. And that this committee doesn’t seem to understand how elections work.
If I could make a recommendation myself, I’d suggest to the federal government that they should put some men on this committee. Maybe then women would get some more respect.