Reading a recent BBC article on what would happen if women were legally required to make up a third of the workforce it clashed with my experience.
I have worked in various roles in various organisations which have had women in high-places positions, working alongside male colleagues and they have been respected and treated as equals.
Now in certain jobs (the article mentions the law profession) maybe their are things like the old boy network in operation, but by and large employers look for the best candidates and the reason there are fewer women in higher positions is, I think, more social than discriminatory.
With the bigger pay packets comes an expectation to work all the hours needed, possibly to do things like attend social events outside of hours, etc. For both partners in a relationship to do this they would need no commitments, but when children enter the fray someone must put time aside to care for them. Which means someone has to stay home.
Men can’t conceive children, it’s a simple fact, so if a couple decide to have a family the woman is going to have to have time off work to deliver the baby at the least. Socially, it’s then accepted she will take time off for maternity and will likely become the primary carer while the man continues to work. This is something that is ingrained in our society, whether you agree with it or not.
The fact that she has had time away from the workplaces means she has moved backwards by the time she returns and then still has ongoing commitments to her child, everything from collecting them from school, staying home when they’re ill, etc. This means a woman can’t put in the extra hours expected.
Then there’s psychological reasons. Men compete and drive for those top jobs, women, in my experience, don’t seem bothered in the same way about reaching these high-ranking positions.
And as for talk of making football teams or builders a trade where a third are women, there’s the simple fact that men are physically bigger and stronger and in some professions that’s important. It doesn’t matter how skilful a player you are, if you can’t match the physical demands of the game you won’t make the grade. That’s evolution, not discrimination.