Getting women to stand

June 10th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Julie at The Hand Mirror writes:

 I put together a presentation for the women themed session of the Social & Community Development Forum about the topic.  My conclusions were that ’s representation seems to be plateauing at around 35%, and the problem is not with the voters but with the selections.
 
Now I have to eat my words, at least in part.
 
Thirteen.  That’s the number of women me or one of my running mates asked to run on our ticket for the Puketapapa Local Board.   Each one turned us down; immediately (a few), after a bit of a think (most), after being a strong maybe (a few), after saying yes please (one).  I believe every single one of them would have made a great Local Board member.  Maybe, hopefully, some will in future elections.
The under-representation of women in politics is an interest of mine. It would be good to have around the same proportion of women as politicians as there are voters. But of course I am absolutely against quotas.
When you look at why we have fewer women in Parliament, I believe there are three (not mutually exclusive) possibilities.
  1. Fewer women get elected than men
  2. Fewer women get selected than men
  3. Fewer women seek selection than men

I haven’t seen any data suggesting that female candidates in general elections do worse than male candidates. In fact, I suspect they may even do a bit better.

Of our 70 electorate MPs, 50 are male and 19 female and it is likely the new Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP will be female so say 50 to 20.

Seven (eight) of the female electorate MPs are Labour, one Maori Party and 11 National.

Like Julie, I think women do find it harder to get selected to be candidates in winnable seats, and to a degree in winnable list places. Certainly that is my observation in National. Ironically those who often are most against good female candidates, are other women.

But the biggest factor in my opinion is that which Julie has found. That actually getting women to stand can be the hardest challenge. For a number of reasons (combative environment, hours, children etc) significantly fewer women wish to be MPs.

So why did these wonderful capable intelligent women turn down this great opportunity to make positive change in their neighbourhoods and surrounds?  Mostly because of time. The Remuneration Authority recently calculated that Local Board members spend on average 24 hours a week on that job.  My observation is that that would vary wildly amongst those currently elected, but then we are the first to experience a brand new super-city structure.  Many genuinely didn’t realise the time commitment when they stood and haven’t been able to rearrange their lives to allow for that.   Others seem to think they can do the job justice by limiting their time to a few hours a week.  It will be interesting to see how the latter fare if they stand for re-election.
 
There aren’t a lot of part time jobs out there which allow the flexibility required for local body politicians to cover everything.  The pay for being a local board member isn’t enough to ditch other income options entirely, for most.  I get $36,000 a year (before tax) and I have so much respect for those who get by on that alone;  I work two days a week in another job as well.   I gave up an $80K+ pa job to do this (and I don’t regret it except when I go shopping).
 
So the time issue is considerable; wondering if you could keep doing your other job, whether your boss would let you go part time, potentially giving up a role you love or a project you wanted to see through, and then there’s working in with other obligations like family, being on a Board of Trustees, perhaps a health condition, or wanting to be able to travel.  
 
There were a lot of other practical considerations too; what if I have a baby?  Does it get nasty?  How autonomous is the role or does the chair order everyone around?  Would it create a conflict of interest with this other thing I’m involved in?  How much does it cost?  While the overriding factor given was time, all of these and more were in the mix for some.  
 
What I noticed from this was how almost every woman was carefully thinking myriad factors through.  Less focused on “do I want to do this, would I be good at this” but instead on “can I actually do this?”
 
In contrast there was no issue finding men to run.  There almost never is, from my political experience of the last fifteen plus years.  The men I’ve observed have largely been more likely to say yes, to put themselves forward, and worry about how it will all work out if they get elected after polling day, not before.  
To a degree, I think that is right. Men do tend to be more, yeah I’ll do it, and it will all work out okay.
d
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33 Responses to “Getting women to stand”

  1. Daigotsu (454 comments) says:

    DPF why do you link to THM? It is a feminist hellhole full of ball-busting dykes.

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  2. dishy (241 comments) says:

    Discussions about under-representation of women (or indeed, any group) in this area and that are too often tedious and pointless, and usually involve a bunch of untested factual assumptions and questionable moral / political positions.

    There are hardly any male secretaries. So what?

    For a lot of guys, the problem is not getting women to stand, but……

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  3. simonway (381 comments) says:

    I recall a discussion about this on the Canadian Filibuster Cartoons website, where the author pointed out that representation of women was much better in directly elected offices like Mayoralties than it was in the federal and provincial legislatures and governments. He suggested that this was because to become a Minister, you need to have built up connections in the Party, which is more often than not a boys’ club, whereas putting your name forward is all that is required to stand for Mayor. He also pointed out that the high proportion of female Mayors showed that Canadians were perfectly willing to vote women into office if they were given the opportunity.

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  4. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    The under-representation of women in politics is an interest of mine. It would be good to have around the same proportion of women as politicians as there are voters. But of course I am absolutely against quotas.

    Why is it an interest of David’s I wonder ? Given that we are a female dominated society to a rediculous degree.

    Maybe we should force women to be politicians, since we are “against quotas” ?

    What utter crap. Men are treated like shit in this country. We have institutionalised misandry and the most radical and damaging feminist doctrine is accepted as normal. We even have an entire ministry promoting anti male pro-feminist goals. Male hate groups get popular support and government funding.

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  5. kowtow (8,186 comments) says:

    Parliament needs to get onto this right away and end this discrimination and inequality

    Parliament has proven it has the power to make all things “equal”.

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  6. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    What I noticed from this was how almost every woman was carefully thinking myriad factors through. Less focused on “do I want to do this, would I be good at this” but instead on “can I actually do this?”

    Well observed. Women are apprehensive and fearful. They do indeed fuss over a myriad of factors and personalise everything. That, combined with a petty attitude, is just one of the reason they tend to make lousy leaders. We have way too many of them promoted well beyond their limited abilities.

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  7. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    @Kea

    Sorry – the facts disagree with your victim complex.

    (I’ve always thought it would be interesting if Kiwiblog commenters had their age bracket on their comments, in your case I’m not sure whether you were born in the 1940’s and are seriously resistant to change, you are just trolling to get a reaction from people or you just have some seriously unresolved issues about your masculinity)

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  8. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Richard29, it is sleazy little pricks like you who are the problem, not women.

    Your only way of relating to women is to defer to them and portray them as victims. The funny thing is wimps like you are famously unlucky with women, as they are not as stupid as you think.

    Women are not an under class of defenseless victims. It is you who is harking back to a by-gone era where women did not have it so good.

    Stop thinking with your dick and grow a pair. You make me sick and I am sure many women find you creepy too.

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  9. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Sorry – the facts disagree with your victim complex.

    The Metrosexual kid wants facts. Ok

    1. Males are over represented in negative social statistics.

    2. Males are failing behind in our education system.

    3. Most suicides are Male.

    4. Most people in prisons are Male.

    5. Most victims of assault are Male.

    6. Most premature deaths are Male.

    7. Most work place injuries are Male.

    8. Most wrongful imprisonments are Male.

    9. Most substance abusers are Male.

    10. Most homeless people are Male.

    11. Males die earlier.

    Any other social group with these features would (and does) have various government agencies falling all over themselves to help. But not here in NZ. Instead we have the government sponsoring male hate groups and David trying to promote the blatant lie that women are victims. What a disgrace !

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  10. LabourDoesntWork (287 comments) says:

    Solipsists. Those entities were formed – exist, persist, have $$ spent on them – in order to do a job. Not to kowtow to the demands of womyn who judge something by what % of themselves are present.

    Womyn’s Issues? I just don’t give a #$%@.

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  11. LabourDoesntWork (287 comments) says:

    The under-representation of women in politics is an interest of mine.

    Be more interested at the over-representation of women’s issues IN politics. And the legal system. And education. And news reporting. And…

    You need to take the Red Pill, my friend.

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  12. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    >Women are apprehensive and fearful.

    Yet according to you, still doing better in a dozen aspects of life.
    Can’t be bothered to go through all of them. But if men are falling behind in education, that’s their responsibility. Or their parents’. A culture where it’s ‘not cool’ to be a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd’.

    4. Most people in prisons are Male.
    5. Most victims of assault are Male.
    6 Most premature deaths are Male

    = Men are more violent than women. Show me a society now or ever where that hasn’t been the case. And then tell me what you think you are proving by making the points in the first place

    – Most work place injuries are Male.
    Most work place injuries, I imagine, involve physical jobs like building sites.

    – Most wrongful imprisonments are Male.
    If most prisoners are male, that does rather follow.

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  13. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Mary, I am unsure what you are doing out of the kitchen this early in the evening, but I will highlight one of your many double standards you have displayed.

    But if men women are falling behind in education politics that’s their responsibility. Or their parents’.

    Women are far more violent than men, but most guys never report it or even think twice about it. How many guys here have been attacked by a woman and did you report it ?

    Remember boys… even a push is an assault. Verbal and psychology abuse (like nagging or making you feel a bit down) are also forms of violence. I have seen guys locked up for these sorts of things. So it must be real serious.

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  14. salt (133 comments) says:

    Kea you’re a c*nt, and a threatened, bitter one at that. We have representation for women and minority groups precisely because, for whatever reason, the majority of people in politics are well-off white men. The problem is not that men do not have a voice in politics.

    Yes, there is stuff – though by no means all the things on your whinging little list, I mean overrepresented in workplace deaths???? That’s because men are also overrepresented in the “danger money” professions like mining and drilling, those guys are paid well to take that risk (compared to, say, an aged care worker, who is unlikely to get anything more than a sore back but is paid a fifth of what a miner is) – that adversely affects men more than women. The suicide stats are a biggie. But that’s not the fault of feminism – sorry, but it’s just not.

    It’s a bit like prostate cancer. MRA-types whinge like hell about women putting out all this press about breast cancer, as if there’s only so much advocacy to go round and the women have stolen it all. But realistically, prostate cancer awareness has to be led by men, or men simply won’t listen (would you listen to a bunch of women lecturing you about going to the doctor???) Quit whinging and get off your butts and do something about prostate cancer awareness, just like women did for breast cancer awareness. What’s stopping you, really? The 20% of people in power who are female? FFS.

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  15. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Kea you’re a c*nt

    salt, Thanks, I rather like cunt.

    the majority of people in politics are well-off white men

    Like Helen Clark for example ? A vile despot who put womin into every key constitutional position in this country, not on ability but on their sexuality.

    Now run along back to the Hand Mirror…

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  16. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Studies have proven the painfully obvious, Kiwi women are the biggest Sluts on the planet. So bad in fact that they were the only country where women had more partners than the men !

    Maybe this explains why they have no time for politics ?

    http://lifestyle.msn.co.nz/nzmenslifestyle/womenandsex/1026540/kiwi-girls-most-promiscuous-women-in-the-world

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  17. complainer (1 comment) says:

    Lets play swapsies on your comment Mary Rose

    “But if MAORI are falling behind in education, that’s their responsibility. Or their parents’. A culture where it’s ‘not cool’ to be a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd’.”
    I changed one word, would you make that comment?

    As for salt I agree kea does seem like a bit of a cunt but that doesn’t make him wrong.
    Men are doing something about prostate cancer and other mens health issues and trying to be inclusive of women as they go about it (as much as they can with few women being able to grow mo’s).

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  18. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    complainer, yes I was thinking of MAORI as I wrote it. You got it.

    I make no apology about my confronting manner. Women are not victims and I am sick of hearing feminists and pathetic snivelling men telling us they are. It is a big try on and I am not buying it.

    We are different but equal. The fact women are not so involved in politics is the for the same reason men are not so involved in beauty therapy, most are not interested.

    It is not a sign of inequality.

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  19. Harriet (4,794 comments) says:

    By just being a good mother, wife, and woman to the left is just not good enough for them! :cool:

    A women will never be selected or elected by the left if she does not see women as ‘victims’ and does not follow the current feminist idealogy of how to ‘fix’ the matter.

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  20. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Harriet, yeah feminists have a pretty shitty view of women who are good Mums and wives. Neither of which is an easy thing to do and both of which contribute immeasurably to society. Thanks to feminists, women now have to work their arses off in regular jobs as well as raise kids. The end result has just been inflation, meaning both partners have to work full time to make ends meet.

    How liberating !

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  21. Dennis Horne (2,371 comments) says:

    @Kea. Agree with all you say. Women see the family as the centre of their world. Whatever women say about equality, their biology drives them to find a man who will look after them and the children. Men are happy to be less involved with the “tedium” of family life and spend their time on wider issues, and the testosterone to throw their weight around. Helen Clark is the exception that “proves” the rule!

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  22. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne, women are not the problem. Stupid gullible men are, who lack the confidence to state the obvious and do the right thing out of fear of rejection by women. Of course the women can see this and play their advantage the same as anyone would.

    It is just like Maori trying it on by playing victim. Don’t blame them, blame the people providing the incentive and allowing this double standard.

    Guys need to have the confidence to be themselves. You will still get laid chaps. Hell even Kea does ! ;)

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  23. Dennis Horne (2,371 comments) says:

    @Kea. Yes, women don’t like submissive men. They like independent strong men who can protect them.

    Can you do me a favour? Go easy on someone in particular…

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  24. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne, no idea who… Redbaiter ? or one of those call-ins from the Hand Mirror ?

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  25. Dennis Horne (2,371 comments) says:

    UglyTruth

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  26. Kea (12,041 comments) says:

    I have a friend like Ugly Truth in real life. He has alienated himself big time. Only his most loyal friends associate with him now days. It is a shame because he is a good bloke, but eccentric and confrontational with it. The concerning thing is the underlying assumption needed to support those theories. That people are so evil they would conspire in such a way to do terrible things on that scale.

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  27. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    Kea >Women are not victims and I am sick of hearing feminists and pathetic snivelling men telling us they are.

    How about we turn that round? Given your ‘poor, oppressed, harmless men are so hard done by’ list and accusing me of double standards.

    “Men are not victims and I’m sick of hearing men telling us they are”

    Btw. Show me where I said anything about women in politics at all, before putting words in my mouth.

    I only commented because, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, women are massively under-represented in the comments on this blog (in my case, I’ve too many other things to do to comment often) and I didn’t see why you should have it all your own way, unchallenged ;-)

    Although it may surprise you, in fact, that I agree. If women are falling behind in politics, that is down to them. We don’t need special quotas or women-only shortlists or preferential treatment.

    >complainer (2) Says:
    “But if MAORI are falling behind in education, that’s their responsibility. Or their parents’. A culture where it’s ‘not cool’ to be a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd’.”
I changed one word, would you make that comment

    Hi new person, interesting choice of user name.

    Do you not think people should take responsibility for their own lives?
    Any child in a school in New Zealand starts out with exactly the same opportunities to learn as every other child in the same class.
    Doesn’t matter if you’re Maori, Pakeha, Asian, boy, girl, rich, poor, whatever. If you are offered equal chances in life and choose not to take them, don’t bleat about being hard done by and blame it on other people.

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  28. Dennis Horne (2,371 comments) says:

    @Mary Rose. Welcome back to group therapy!

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  29. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Mary Rose (377) Says:
    June 11th, 2013 at 9:08 am
    ————————————

    I quite agree with everything you have said, apart from the end bit.

    Yes, every child does have the same opportunities in education, however, their ability to make the most of that opportunity is often determined by their family situation, and even by their intelligence level. The child’s ability to make something of that education is very much determined in early life by simple things, like how their parent’s impress on them the importance of education and provide examples of how learning can enhance their life. If a child is not given those examples, then they are at a disadvantage – it is still possible for them to achieve as an adult, but it is all that much harder – which is why many don’t try.

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  30. Mary Rose (393 comments) says:

    Judith – I did include parents in my original post. Though it is possible for children from homes where education isn’t valued to do well, if they are inspired by school or discover a joy in reading, for example.

    Can’t do much about intelligence. But that’s not a males/females do better issue.

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  31. Julie from THM (7 comments) says:

    Well this was a lovely reminder of why I don’t venture into the comment threads here very often. If women’hating were an Olympic sport some of you could represent your country. Thanks for showing again why feminism is still relevant, still needed, and providing some riotously hilarious examples of misogyny to take the piss out of.

    For the record I am a mother and also a wife, and a human being. In all the paid jobs I’ve ever had I have worked alongside men. And sadly in pretty much every workplace I have seen differences in treatment between men and women doing the same job. I see men out jogging at night and am very aware that I can’t really do that. (Actually I can’t jog at all – so boring! – so perhaps cycling or walking is a better example). I have had the very real recent experience of people assuming because I am a youngish woman that I must be council staff and not an elected politician so could I please make them a cup of tea or photocopy something for them, which NEVER happens to the male elected members, even though two of them are younger than me.

    Does this crap make all women victims? I suppose that’s one way of putting it. Personally I think about it more as structural discrimination – it’s so ingrained that we can’t even see it sometimes and that makes it hard to overcome and eliminate. But slowly but surely, generation by generation, things are getting better for women and girls (and better for men and boys too actually). I hope to continue to be part of that positive change.

    On the issue of women standing, which is after all what this post was originally about, rather than an opportunity for misogynists to display their wares,; there are some very real things that could happen to address some of the practical concerns that women think about and fear they can’t overcome. One would be making some allowance for childcare needs in the way that the work is structured and compensated. Currently I can claim for car parking but not childcare. This would also recognise the changing demographics around who is doing childcare – it is now more likely than ever before for it to be a father or a grandparent who may need the release time to pursue other work, not just a mother. Another would be to consider the needs of children, and spaces that children can be in without so much impact on adults (e.g. say a room that you can have children in the audience for a meeting without every tiny noise from them reverberating all around the chamber.) I look forward to helping to make some of these things happen!

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  32. Dennis Horne (2,371 comments) says:

    @Julie. You can’t go jogging at night, not that you want to jog, and I can’t have a baby, not that I want to. Boof

    You reminded me of why most women get on my nerves, unless they’re physically attractive. You think that men should behave like women.

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  33. gump (1,620 comments) says:

    @kea

    What’s wrong with you?

    Did you mum leave when you were a baby?

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