We’ve not had one of these for a while. Jenna Hates has penned another masterpiece. This time it’s on the Liberal Party’s problem with women leaders.
For those outside the bubble of mediocrity that is Australian politics, the “Liberal” party is nominally the right of centre party here. Of course, like all political parties claiming to be champions of the free market, they are no such thing. They’re as bad as the left but the cronyism and corruption has a different face and flavour.
Anyway, Jenna Hates is deeply concerned about the electability of the Liberal Party in New South Wales. Deeply concerned as, under normal circumstances, she’d be a natural voter for them, you understand.
She’s particularly disappointed about Gladys, as she’d definitely have voted for her this election.
Not one single woman’s name has been mentioned as a possible successor in the aftermath of Gladys Berejiklian’s resignation. Not the premier, not the deputy, not the treasurer. Instead, it’s blokes akimbo: Dominic Perrottet, Rob Stokes, Stuart Ayres, Matt Kean. In 2021, how is that possible?
Well, given the current themes this month about “people who are pregnant” and “bodies with a cervix”, maybe the Liberal Party didn’t think it mattered so much? I dunno.
The Liberals resist quotas with the force of a thousand kelvins. The market will make women if that’s what the market needs. Women, they would say, don’t need a hand out, but the Labor experience shows quotas work.
Kristina Keneally was the only Premier the Labor (sic) Party produced and she was an unmitigated disaster. She came to power in a backroom coup and left after a massive loss at the polling booth.
Without quotas, the remaining solution is the sisterhood, for women to pull other women up behind them.
Without quotas, the only solution is female solidarity and (therefore) favouritism?
Imagine being so convinced men hate women so much they are all actively conspiring against their success and the response is for women to actively conspire to do the opposite.
In Berejiklian’s time, that never happened. There never was a hand up. It is true she invested time as patron of the Women’s Council and there are indeed lovely photos of her, girlboss moments, surrounded by women aspiring to get elected.
Faced with another all-male revue, NSW Liberal women are not pleased. For the past three days, phones have run hot – how to get more women members, how to get more women in the ministry, how to get more women in cabinet. They are lobbying furiously, but it’s a pipeline problem, a timeline problem. They’ve been working away, some for years, and this latest upheaval has come earlier than anyone expected.
How likely is it this paragraph is factually correct, do we think? Compared to, say, party members ringing round trying to promote candidates for office who most closely reflect their views on the economy, the response to the Kung Flu, transport, education, the environment?
Last year, the NSW Liberal Party’s state executive decided to bite the bullet, believe in women. After all, NSW had a female premier and the party had survived, even thrived. Until last Friday, the sky had not fallen in. In a surprise move for the Liberals, the NSW state executive then confirmed gender targets for the upcoming local government elections and reaffirmed those targets in 2021 – 40 per cent women for winnable positions on council and 40 per cent in unwinnable positions, which at least gives those women some experience at running as candidates.
Hang on, you just said Berejiklian did nothing for women candidates? Do you even read this stuff before pressing “send”?
In the Liberal Party, men don’t respond to boundaries, particularly when it comes to improving gender equality, carrots not sticks, more a process of “negotiation and persuasion”, says Mary-Lou Jarvis, the female vice-president of NSW state executive. Jarvis genuinely believes the men in the party are finally on board.
“Men don’t respond to boundaries”? What, like rapists?
It was helpful of Jenna Hates to let us know Mary-Lou was female too, otherwise we’d be left awkwardly guessing her pronouns. Who knows what offence may have been taken.
Isn’t it terrible that we require women to fix the man problem? Sure – but what are the options when the organisation itself is teeming with men who believe merit exists objectively?
Perhaps, unwittingly, Jenna Hates has hit upon the real problem in that last sentence.
Despite what Jenna Hates might believe or wish for, competence in politics is highly rewarded, regardless of sex, sexuality, religion or ethnicity.
The nuance is, the competence that’s rewarded is the skill to navigate one’s way up the greasy pole within the political party, not the ability to deliver good outcomes for the voters.
Presumably Jenna Hates is comforted that Gladys had to resign due to a corruption investigation, thus slightly redressing the gender balance of that particular category of Premier?
Anyway, what a trivial and pathetic thing to be concerned about at this time.