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Life Off-the-Grid

Let’s Give Women a Turn

By Cam Mather

I was just listening to the radio and they did one of those “You’re listening to…” promos. It was Gordon Lightfoot, and Burton Cummings and Bruce Cockburn and whole bunch of male artists. I find this is pretty common. Rarely do I hear a promo with Joni Mitchell or Sarah McLachlan or Shania Twain. And this is the way it is. Males have dominated our world. I recently noticed an advertisement in a newspaper for an all-girls school called Bishop Strachan. It shows a photograph taken at a world summit and the people in the photo are all male. The message says, “We need Bishop Strachan graduates.”

Macleans magazine just did a cover story called “Are We Raising Our Boys to be Underachieving Men?”

The Globe and Mail newspaper also covered this theme with a series of articles about “failing boys.” The fifth part of the series was called “Is Affirmative Action For Men the Answer to Enrolment Woes?”

The full-page spread reported on how university enrollment has swung heavily towards women. Like this is a problem? So what? It’s a trend. Fifty years ago women were a visible minority in university, especially in the sciences.

The Globe & Mail article also included a photo of an introductory workshop at McMaster University Medical School. Every student shown in the photo was a female. Sorry, but I’m still not seeing a “problem” here.


In the Macleans article, Richard Whitmire, the author of “Why Boys Fail,” is quoted as saying “Any country allowing 60/40 female-male college graduation is not putting its ‘best team’ forward.” What? Are you kidding me? What rock did this guy crawl out from under? It sounds like something I’d expect from one of the Taliban thugs in “The Kite Runner”.

Sorry Richard, but on the contrary, as a male, I’m perfectly happy if females step up and run things for a change. How have we males done? Hmm … let’s see… cataclysmic world wars …  the invention of weapons that can annihilate the species … the unleashing of the carbon genie that is nudging the planet close to the brink … chemical weapons … the male bravado that lead to the world economy plunging off a cliff … sweat shops … genocide… let me know when you want me to stop. Oh sure, I know what you’ll say … “but look at  all the good men have accomplished. We’ve lifted a huge portion of the world out of poverty … blah blah blah.” Sorry, but call me a glass half empty kind of guy, but I’d say while men have been on the watch, we’ve created some really whopping problems in the world. I say it’s time to give the opposite sex a chance.

Of course with the mess we’ve made its kind of like Obama getting elected and inheriting the worst economic mess since the depression and people expecting an instant solution. But we can’t solve the problems we’ve created with the same thinking that made them. I’m hoping a female approach will help. Unfortunately sometimes when women assume positions of power they behave like males. Look at Carly Fiorina. During her tenure at Hewlett Packard she laid off 30,000 workers. When you see her interviewed she explains that as long as someone was willing to make it cheaper in China or India, that’s where she would ship the jobs.

I understand that Carly wasn’t doing anything any other corporate executive would do, but I just hold women to a higher standard. I don’t know how I would have saved 30,000 jobs, but I’m not running HP.

I want to see people in positions of power be nurturing and caring and compassionate, and that isn’t going to happen with most of the males who are in charge. Right now when you look at any parliament or corporate boardroom in the developed world, you do not see enough women. But as the enrolment in our universities tips towards a majority of females we can only hope that more of these women will want to assume positions of power. Then maybe we’ll see what it’s like to finally put our best team forward.

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