Julie Anne Genter should fix what she can: her cabinet

Julie Anne Genter
PHOTO- Noted

Julie Anne Genter doubled down on her comments with an opinion piece on her sexist, misandrist, ageist and racist comments last week.

Last week I went to talk with a group of bright, young students in Christchurch about what this government is doing to ensure they grow up in a society that pays both men and women fairly.

It was truly amazing to see these students, both boys and girls, so engaged in this issue, and I spent a good 45 minutes answering their questions about the gender pay gap and how it can be closed.

One comment I made has certainly got people talking. And I understand why.

I said that around 81 per cent of board members are men. The vast majority of them are white, and in their 60s and 70s. And I said with a rueful smile “Some of them should move on and make room for new talent and diversity.”  

Now I need to be clear. I strongly believe that older, white men should be on boards. I just also believe that people from other demographics should also be too; particularly women, young people, and people from other ethnicities are also massively under-represented at present.

People should be on boards because of their skills, not their skin colour or sex. She wants people to be on boards for all the wrong reasons.

I agree with Simon Bridges that older men have a lot to contribute and there will always be, and should always be, a place for them in leadership roles.

But right now the reality is that many groups in our society aren’t as well represented. Women, young people, and many other groups of society are visibly missing from leadership roles in business.

I agree that board roles should go to the most qualified people. But do we honestly believe that the only qualified people are mostly male, mostly white, and mostly older? Or is the reality that inertia and unconscious bias means we tend to appoint people who look us and think like us?

She should concentrate on the things she can control and influence. That isn’t company boards. She should be immediately addressing with PM Jacinda Ardern the lack of diversity in cabinet. Of the 31 positions in the executive, ministers and under-secretaries, just 11 are women.

So, she should practise what she is preaching and insist that ministers and others be sacked in the interests of diversity. Start with the old, pale and stale Speaker and work from there.

If she believed what she is forcing down everyone else’s throat she’d be marching into Jacinda’s office tomorrow and demanding the situation be rectified. Until they do she can kindly shut her mouthy gob.

 

-Stuff


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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