Recently a man of a certain age told me that he had no hope of getting a non-exec appointment because of his sex. The reason? Boards are bowing to the demand for gender equality and are looking for women to fill the gap.
It worries me that we are putting gender before ability. I have no doubt that women are just as good as men and vice versa. What I am not so sure of is whether a particular man or woman should be appointed to a role because of their gender.
I think there is still blatant discrimination and we have seen it in the gender pay gap at the BBC and in other organisations. As for me I know that I have never judged a persons competency on whether they are male or female.
Certainly things have changed over the years as in my day only 5% of people went to University and only a tiny proportion of those were female. Now numbers have increased with over 50% going on to get degrees. Men are now outnumbered by women with 55% (HESA) going to University and 73% of those getting a 2:1 or above compared to 69% of men.
There is no question that the talent and ability is out there. However, I know that if I needed to choose a neurosurgeon I wouldn't give a damn whether they were male of female. Gender neutrality would prevail as I would just want the best...sex be damned!
As a subordinate, co-worker, and manager I have only ever thought of people as people. I have never put them ‘into a box’ labelled man, woman, black, white, old, young, fully-abled, differently abled, heterosexual, bi-sexual, homosexual, or any other variation of orientation, or by class and background which I have to say in my working life I’ve seen as being a darker cloud over people’s’ advancement than gender. I just see people.