PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Standing the only two females representing a political party front and centre is one way to attempt to look like your party has diversity but no-one's being fooled by that.
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Standing the only two females representing a political party front and centre is one way to attempt to look like your party has diversity but no-one's being fooled by that. MICK TSIKAS

Don't quota me but something's gotta give

BLOKES are always quick to point out how they're not the men that are causing problems for women.

Sure I get that they're lovely fellows generally, never raised fist or verballed a woman, made a sleazy comment or groped one. They don't even think they are above them, but sometimes just being like that isn't enough in the grand scheme of achieving equality.

I often get asked by those men how they can help address those issues and the general imbalance in society between the sexes.

Actually just joking on that last point, the conversation normally stops at I've never hit a woman.

But that brings me to the very fascinating subject of quotas.

The Q-word has become the new eye-rolling, pain in the a*rse for men who believe everything they have achieved in life comes from merit earned as a human being and not a white male.

I mean come on you only have to look at parliament, the government sector and the banking industry to see not everyone gets there because of merit.

Of course if this is how the conversation goes you have pretty much hit a roadblock and trying to extract any further helpful dialogue from that point is impossible.

Quotas to these men are unfair because giving people who have lived with discrimination, prejudice or social disadvantage because of the way they were born is their expert subject.

So what can you do to help facilitate a more inclusive, diverse playing field out there?

How about insisting on seeing more examples of it?

If you are off to comedy show and it's an all white male show, then tell the venue you love comedy but you want to see more diversity (unless you don't, then just go ahead but lose the 'but I'm a good bloke' mantra while you're there).

Or if you are part of a panel or seminar or anything important and you notice that there are more men involved than women ask why. Also ask why there's no representation of people of colour or people living with disabilities.

The latter three groups can't all be so flawed they offer nothing the over-represented group of speakers or performers do. There are diverse people out there, you just have to demand they are given the same opportunities. And because these opportunities don't come by default or automatic privilege, you do have to demand them.

A male colleague pointed out when an entire panel is female the uproar from the blokes is deafening which is rather ironic given all-male panels have been considered standard practice up until this point in time.

All-female or all-black panels are often encouraged to compensate for their lack of representation historically and in mainstream life generally.

It's like a rush of empowerment, a bit like the Logies Hall of Fame when they realised only one woman had won it in 50 years. If you find this kind of thing threatening then perhaps read a history book or two rather than hinge your views on what happened last week.

That's why quotas are necessary.

One day hopefully we won't need them but until then it will be like trying to get a toddler to eat mashed vegetables - you know it's good for them but they don't.

So you try the gentle approach, flying aeroplane spoons, asking nicely to consider appointing equally-qualified females, and when you don't get anywhere, resort to some acceptable form of enforcement. Once they get accustomed to it and see it doesn't taste so bad, it becomes second nature. Society becomes a healthier, more diverse place for it, but you have to give it a chance.

If you really want to see more women represented and diversity in high profile or important platforms start demanding it.

If you are one of the keynote speakers at an event refuse to be a part of it unless you see half of the bill are women (representing 50 per cent of the population) and some of those faces are not Caucasian.

If you are the paying customer refuse to go unless organisers start to offer this diversity.

Be part of the change rather than part of the problem.

That's is unless you prefer things the way they are.

Then you just need to get out of the way.

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