A Gender Agenda

A Gender Agenda


One suspects that this week there will have been not inconsiderable merry-making in whichever street of Aotearoa the political do-gooder brigade live. Nasty old Alasdair Thompson, with his Neanderthal viewpoints and crass sexism has been booted out unceremoniously from the EMA and vilified in the media from the tip of North Island all the way down to Bluff.

Now I have no desire to get involved in the whole matter of gender pay equality – although any girls who think the fairer sex is always on the rough end of the deal can explain why Novak Djokovic had to play 95 games more than Petra Kvitová to win his Wimbledon pot – but I do take objection when Mr Thompson seems to have been given the old heave-ho for doing little more than being a man.

There are numerous ways in which women are superior to men – the whole multi-tasking thing is generally accepted to put them in a different league – but common consensus is that blokes tend to have the edge when it comes to creativity. Not in an artistic sense per se, but rather when faced with unexpected situations or particularly challenging puzzles, the ability to pitch a completely off-the-wall suggestion which will somehow advance the world or just make passing the time that bit more interesting. It seems that the borderline lunacy which makes someone wake up at night and decide that building a reusable space shuttle is a cracking wheeze necessitates a ‘Y’ chromosome.

But for every moment of genius we have, there also comes an entire herd of stampeding buffoonery. Take this week for example, when the current Mrs Grimley (who, incidentally, gets paid considerably more than I do) has been living in a hotel learning how to be a manager of Chartered Accountants. Without her restraining influence my idea to singe the remaining stray hairs from a pork hock using an improvised rotisserie built from needle files, off-cuts from the retaining wall project and a bank of scented candles went ahead unchecked. As a result our house now smells like a truckload of burning lavender has crashed into an abattoir and I’m faced with the terrifying prospect of her wrath later this evening.

And I suspect that this is what happened to Mr Thompson. Faced with a question for which he was not prepared, his brain simply defaulted to man-mode, a suggestion was produced and suddenly his was a whole world of pain. Of course he should have displayed a damn sight more political savvy, but rather than giving him the chop wouldn’t it have been a better approach to simply have a mass rolling of eyes, sighing, begrudging acceptance that this is an inherent flaw in the male of the species and then sending him home to face the full fury of Mrs Thompson?


Because while forcing a bit of refinement on us menfolk may go a long way to improving workplace harmony, the effect on our cars could be devastating.

There are, of course, hugely successful female car designers. Chelsia Lau at Ford is responsible for entire evolutions in the SUV market, BMW’s Nadya Arnaout and Juliane Blasi gave us the latest Z4 and the creativity of Anne Forschener is a joy to behold.

But getting madness into metal – producing something that will inspire a whole new set of bedroom wall posters to engage the next generation of petrolheads – seems to need a man’s touch. To conceive and build such monsters as the Veyron, Ariel Atom and Bowler Wildcat needs that little area of brain which is in permanent flux between being da Vinci and simply howling at the moon. On the flip side you get things like the Sinclair C5, Reliant Robin and Aston Martin Lagonda thrown into the mix but, like the comments of Alasdair, they do have the dubious virtue of keeping the world interesting.

So whether the P.C brigade likes it or not, if we want to keep the motor world alive and kicking, this is probably one case where ‘jobs for the boys’ is for the best; particularly as women are just as likely to enjoy the benefits from behind the wheel.

If they happen to get the salary to buy them in the first place, that is.

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