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Discrimination is a bad thing right? Or is it?

Hello again Dear Reader,

So, do we all agree that discrimination is basically a no-no? That in the 21st century we have evolved enough to say that discriminating against someone based on their gender, sexuality, race, religion or age is pretty much a crap thing to do.

We've had so many bloody years of people being treated poorly due to any number of reasons that we applaude any action taken to address the negatives that still exist in pockets through our society. So it was with a bit of frustration that I noted the following headline in our national media yesterday (and no, not a trash tabloid but a fair dinkum outlet):

AFP announces female-only recruit round

Now to set the context, you have to know that the AFP has stated that the current female proportion of 22% of the workforce is not acceptable and that they aim to increase that level to 50% over the next decade. Fair enough I say. There's probably a whole swag of strategies that could be employed to increase the level, in particular removing any possible outdated discriminatory regulations that negatively impact female recruitment and also looking at ways of improving female officer retention.

But what are we actually doing by actively targeting females only? Unless my logic is faulty, I always assumed that when you preference one group over another, someone is being dudded. In this case, males.

Now I know this might get a few noses out of joint. You know, females have been discriminated against for so long, it's time to get it right, to turn the tables. Give them a go for a change. But is this what we are doing here?

I'm all for adressing imbalances in society, ensuring that there are no discriminatory practices in place that negatively target females. But when a government agency proudly proclaims that for the rest of the year they are only interested in talking to you if you are a girl, that doesn't seem to me like a positive response to a workforce imbalance. It's gender discrimination pure and simple.

To put this in perspective, let's have a look at the nursing workforce in Australia. In 2012, the average percentage male nurse representation was 10%. And it's around about the same now.

Now keep in mind that the health profession (much like the AFP) is doing nothing actively to discriminate against males, it's just that the profession can't seem to recruit or retain a higher percentage. Can you imagine if all government hospitals around Australia proclaimed that as a measure to increase the percentage of males in the workforce to address a perceived gender imbalance, for the foreseeable future they were only targeting men. Sorry girls, you'll have to wait till later. You may be more talented, be far better suited, but you have breasts. Sorry.

Would there be an outcry? Would we hear calls of discrimination? Damn right we would. Well, I sure as hell would be protesting. All people should be treated equal and be recruited based on their talent and skills......and nothing else.

And what really winds me up? The government apparently sees this as a positive thing, says 'well done' to the AFP and pats itself on the back. It's not well done, it's not addressing an imbalance and everything is not bloody ok. All it's doing is replacing one form of gender discrimination that used to exist in our workforce with another one.

And it's happening everywhere.

Thanks for tuning in Reader, and remember

Be Good to Each Other


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