Features Australia

The inequality of Mercy

3 March 2018

9:00 AM

3 March 2018

9:00 AM

Now here’s some news to gladden the heart of everyone who takes the recent Royal Commission’s line in deploring the ‘misogynistic’ male culture of the Roman Catholic Church and its supposed toxic tendencies. Parts of the Church are getting with the programme. A Catholic institution has been ‘recognised as a 2017-18 Workplace Gender Equality Agency “Employer of Choice for Gender Equality”.

The lucky recipient of this ‘recognition’ is Mercy Health, which runs hospitals, homes and ‘community care’. But wait, this is actually the eighth time that Mercy Health has won this honour. So all the time the Royal Commission, the ABC, Fairfax and sundry ecclesiophobes have been bagging the Church and demanding that it change its ‘male-dominated structures’, a Catholic charitable institution has been getting glowing ‘citations’ for ‘gender equality’ under their noses and no one noticed.

Perhaps these expressions of esteem have never made it to the front page because few people have heard of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, least of all the taxpayers who fork out for it. There are so many of these bureaucratic toilers in the vineyard of ‘equal opportunity’ that the trees get lost in the wood. All are subsidised by federal and state governments, ostensibly for ‘gender justice’ but in reality to keep the unemployment figures down by inventing ‘work’ for people who in the lower-tech society of a generation ago would have been more productively engaged on assembly lines or as clerks and typists. Not that the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s low profile diminishes the value of the award in the eyes of Mercy Health, which says it’s ‘exceptionally proud’ of its ‘active commitment to achieving gender equality and its leadership in driving positive change for inclusive workplaces’.

If the meaning of that is not exactly crystalline, let what a Catholic news website calls ‘Mercy Health Group Executive Director People, Learning and Culture Kate McCormack’ explain, albeit somewhat opaquely. ‘The WGEA EOCGE [sic] citation,’ she says, ‘sets the benchmark for best practice which all organisations across Australia should be striving for.’ Still don’t understand? Let Kate try again. ‘With an 85 per cent female workforce, it is business-critical for Mercy Health to assist with supporting the demands of both career and caring responsibilities.’


Everyone likes a good joke, and we could do with more humour in public life, but how is ‘an 85 per cent female workforce’ an indication of ‘gender equality’? In the days when the Sisters of Mercy, from whom Mercy Health derives, were still a flourishing order of nuns and not reduced to a few old ladies in twinsets or trackies living in convent retirement flats, they had a 100 per cent female workforce. So perhaps the gender equality award is for reducing that imbalance by 15 per cent in favour of males.

Perhaps, but one doubts it. It is axiomatic that anything to do with ‘gender equality’ does not mean more ‘equality’ for men. It means getting men out of the way so that there are more jobs for women. It means demolishing the ‘patriarchal’ tradition whereby men work their way to ulcers and heart attacks to provide for their families – correction, hog all the top jobs and leave wifey chained to the kitchen sink cleaning up after the mewling and puking – to usher in a brave new world of female CEOs (with child care laid on and working hours rearranged, if required, to overcome what the federal government calls ‘gender disadvantage’, i.e. motherhood and its demands). One such exec, Libby Lyons, is director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Naturally she’s ‘delighted’ with her citation holders’ ‘innovative and exciting initiatives… on such issues as flexibility, paid parental leave, women in leadership and addressing gender pay gaps’.

Libby gave up a socially useful career as a primary school teacher to ascend through the glass ceiling. How would she explain to the class that the agency she presides over does not practise what it preaches? Its ‘leadership team’ consists of five ‘executive managers’, of whom how many – guess – are men? One. Libby and three other women rule the roost. Where is the ‘gender equality’ in that? By what right does this self-satisfied clutch of busybodies hand out patronising ‘congratulations’ to anyone for ‘commitment and recognition of benefits that improved gender equality can bring…’?

‘Commitment’ to equality would seem to oblige Libby’s little fiefdom to have two and a half of each sex on its ‘leadership team’ (the difficulty over the two halves could be avoided by uniting them into one ‘transing’ individual). Otherwise, for all its talk, there’s not much of a career path for men at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Nor is there in most of the other ‘equality’ or ‘anti-discrimination’ bodies eating their way through public funds in return for – what? Nothing quantifiable as an ROI, just the enforcement of some leftist prejudice, as illustrated by the sagas of the Human ‘Rights’ Commission, the cartoonist and the Queensland students. That commission is another example of what ‘gender equality’ advocates mean when they say ‘equality’: inequality. The HRC president and four commissioners are women, three commissioners are men. In Victoria, ‘gender balance’ at the state’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission translates into three women and two men on the board plus a female commissioner and executive director, which makes two males out of seven. The president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board is a woman as are two of three members of the board. At SA’s Equal Opportunity Commission, opportunity knocks only for females, with four lady commissioners in a row since 1995. Queensland and WA have male equality commissioners but that’s what equality campaigners would call tokenism if the boot were on the other foot.

Throughout the world of identity politics, the people running the plethora of special-interest advocacy groups are female to an extent that would be execrated as ‘institutional sexism’ the other way around. No doubt it all goes back, like so much else that’s gone wrong in Australia, to Whitlam and, in this case, his ‘Office of Women’s Affairs’. Feminists insisted on that special treatment – not that Whitlam was reluctant – and feminists, especially in Canberra, still control much public policy. So with all respect to Mercy Health, the recognition of its ‘innovative and exciting’ approach to employment ‘inclusivity’ has nothing to do with improving workplaces for everyone and everything to do with advancing the feminist war on men.

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