Responce to First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls

Is it equality we want or is equity?

I have collaborated with friends and colleagues locally and across the EU, many of whom who are involved in change and have a range knowledge including working with biopsychosocial models and studies of paradigm shifts which looks at a fundamental change in approach our underlying assumptions.  One of the group is actively involved in a policy of Gender Equality in the Netherlands.

Ensuring that there is fairness in pay and rights is absolutely key for a successful Scotland, and we totally support a society that is equitable to all.

This feedback looks at the framing of the manifesto.

Manifesto for First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls

For generations, our history has been written by one gender.
One perspective, one vision, one half of the population.
Half of history is missing.
For years, we’ve been striving for change.
But now is the time to change for good.
To design a future where gender inequality is a historical curiosity.
With the voice of everyone, we want to create a Scotland where we’re all equal – with an equal future.
Together, we are generation equal.

 “ Frames are mental structures that shape the way we see the world underpinned by our believes and values.  As a result, they shape the goals we seek, the plans we make, the way we act, and what counts as a good or bad outcome of our actions. In politics, our frames shape our social policies and the institutions we form to carry out policies. To change our frames is to change all of this. Reframing is social change.” In addition, “All words are defined relative to conceptual frames”  – Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Einstein.

In the manifesto, the first 4 lines focus on what is wrong.  Human nature is to focus on the negative.  Does this – negativity serve us well in the first 4 lines or could this have been placed elsewhere?

The Manifesto says that 100% of the world history has been written by one gender which begs the question where was the other 50% of the world?

There is a tension in the manifesto of past wrongdoing, suggesting women were victims. Forgiveness is both a process and a choice and the victim triangle  (also known as the drama triangle)   needs to be addressed in order to recognise those in society who feel women have been victims, enabling them to let go of these values and beliefs to move forward.

What was the predominant worldview when this history was being writing?

(A worldview refers to the meaning-making capacities within individuals that influence what is important to them (values) and what they believe (beliefs)

Context is important, the biggest challenge of using history is not what happened or who wrote it but understanding what was the centre of gravity of the worldview at the time for both men and women.

In each worldview feminism undoubtedly means different things to different women.

The first few lines suggest women have not been able to take responsibility. Is this in fact true? I don’t believe this is so.

When we take responsibility for how people treat us this gives us the power to change our whole life, when we control ourselves, it establishes indirect control over others.

Equality v Equity is worth considering,  is it really equality that this group is striving for?
When Everyone Is Different, Fairness and Success also differ, we want to celebrate diversity.

The difficulty with saying women should be equal to men is that it frames men and male cultures as being the optimum culture or that the ideal goal that women should reach is to become equal. Is this what we want?

Do we want to take modern men and male experiences as the ‘goal’ level for women to achieve in personal life and society, what would success look like?

Women are less likely to take their own lives.  In the UK, men remain three times as likely to take their own lives as women. Suicide in young men in Scotland increased for the third consecutive year in 2017.

Women are less like to die of cancer than men“the reasons men are more at risk of so many cancers are complex and still only partially understood.”

However, both the above share one common underlying reason for cancer and suicide in that men are more likely to find it difficult to talk about emotions, identify their feelings and discuss embarrassing conditions and don’t are less likely to have a network of friends that support and encourage them to seek help.

Women are arguably stronger at identifying emotions and expressing feelings and are more effective at building close friendships to discuss problems and encouraging each other to seek early intervention.

Do we really want to be equal?  Of course, this is not what are we saying. Are we just meaning the ‘good’ bits, like higher salaries and more power in society?

An important conversation is around the idea of equity versus equality. What do “fairness” and “success” really mean when we know that everyone is so different?

Equity and equality are two strategies we can use in an effort to produce fairness.

  • Equityis giving everyone what they need to be successful.
  • Equalityis treating everyone the same.

Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help. Equity appears unfair, but it actively moves everyone closer to success by “levelling the playing field.”

Some of the most important reasons why changes are not permanent are because we do not always understand the essence of change and we have a hard time grasping the underlying change dynamics.  We have not understood how we as individuals need to change in order to support others through change leading to a change of culture.

 “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast – A phrase originated by Peter Drucker and made famous by Mark Fields, President at Ford, is an absolute reality! Any organisation or  country  disconnecting the two are putting their success at risk.

For the strategy to be successfully implemented the culture needs to shift to from the unhealthy manifestation  of worldviews to healthy manifestation of worldviews and where and when possible transcend and include all the positive that has gone before while evolving into what is needed for our future.

The point is that we are all a part of the problem and the solution.

I would invite the board and the wider supporting group to become part of the solution.

  • I/we are part of the reality we see
  • I/we see reality as we are
  • I/we can change reality by changing our perspective of it
  • Change manifests in conscious actions and through emergence

At the event on the 12th of September, one participant at the table said that she would like to see more women supporting women and I would agree with her.  When society holds different worldviews,  it difficult to align beliefs and values with the manifesto.  Which begs the question how can the manifesto align with a wider group of women and girls to create the culture change we seek?

There is something important happening in today’s world – women and girls are seeking liberation and equality, the real change will come for both men and women to understand and respect different worldviews, values and beliefs and how they manifest healthy and unhealthily in society. Only by accepting these different values and beliefs and moving unhealthy manifestation of our worldviews to healthy manifestations can society map out the next steps and understand what is possible for each of us and all of society.

What does this group have to let go off to change and move the culture forward?

How can this group expand and engage with a wider range of women who not only seek equality but the women who are at the opposite end of the continuum and would feel more aligned if the group were seeking fairness and equity?

I hope the collective comments from network stimulate some discussion for the board and the wider group of One Scotland.