This morning as I sat on the bus – the ‘loser-cruiser’ in words of a good friend’s son – wearing my flat shoes and my bare-faced cheek(s), I pondered the morning news item about the ‘equal pay’ awards, apparently won by Westpac this year, with Sky City and BNZ – all huge employers – amongst the runners up.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favour of equality – but I can’t help thinking that the need to award equal pay is part of the problem, rather than a solution (or a celebration, for that matter). Looking around me at the women on the bus – for that is whom this equal pay stuff is all about – I was struck by their lack of ‘equal’ behaviour.
And I wondered how it came about that make-up was clearly part of the female corporate dress, but not the male? My bare cheeks were certainly in the minority – and no doubt, a sign to some that I simply didn’t care enough to make the effort to paint my face, let alone the palpable need to paint my grey, grey hair. Not one single man was wearing make-up – despite the fact that many would have benefited from a touch of Thin Lizzy, or more!
While celebrities and their make-up-free selfies become a fundraising phenomenon; while women feel the need to don a mask for work; while we consider equal pay worthy of celebration – we are not only perpetuating, but validating the fact that women themselves are not behaving as equals, and therefore perhaps might not deserve to be treated as such.
My father drummed into me that “what you accept, you will get”… maybe it’s time to just stop accepting that which we rail against. Fortunately my first job was in the very heart of chauvinistic, bigotted discrimination – the South African mining industry – and fortunately, it taught me that the way to be treated as an equal is to behave as an equal, flat shoes (steel capped, of course), bare-faced cheeks and all.