How do you tackle patriarchal attitudes?

Many thanks to The Free Think Blog for picking up on this item of interest to at least 52% of the population, if not the Lib Dem Blogosphere.

Well, the pay gap between men and women far from slowly improving is has widened for the first time in 10 years. Yes, I agree with the feelings of Free Think:

'Such inequality is depressing, and reveals how deep-rooted discrimination is in the workplace, with simple anti-discrimination legislation failing to tackle tacit patriarchal attitudes'.

However, I think it is naive to think that changing a law could be enough to really change attitudes.

Cultural change, and we are talking about a cultural change here, always requires something business, and in change management circles (which I inhabit from time to time) it is understood that an effective change in culture always comes from the top. If the directors are clear that certain behaviour is unacceptable or acceptable then it tends to filter down pdq.

An example: a good friend of mine, a COO , went to work for a new company. In this company it was perfectly accepted (apparently!!) to use the 'c' word in meetings. My friend was quite clear that he did not find it acceptable to use that sort of language in the workplace and it very, very quickly stopped.

To effect a cultural change requires leadership and can rarely be left to the grass roots; I don't like that that's the case but empirically it is so. I might add that I don't believe the kind of nebulous, hard to pin down and impossible to prove legally discrimination confines itself to the workplace.

And whilst we look to legislation and/or rules to solve the problem for us we will be looking in the wrong place.

Often times in countries that are made up of many different nationalities or ethnic groups we ensure they are allocated fair quotas in government and the legislature so that those in the establishment cannot ride roughshod over those with less power.

But in the most of the UK we expect it all to just happen by itself when it comes to gender balance and then we are surprised when the outcomes are not as we liberal fair minded people would wish.

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