There has been a weird disparity between how physical and non physical problems have been treated for quite some time. The best example of this is in medicine. When someone has a sore shoulder because it has been dislocated you don’t give them painkillers and set them on their way, you set their shoulder. Not that I’m saying don’t give them painkillers mind you, pain is still… painful. In this instance pain was a symptom of the larger and more pressing matter of the dislocated shoulder. When it comes to mental health people take a different approach. (Note as with all things in this blog this is my opinions and experiences I’m in no way and expert on this subject…. I’m in no was a qualified expert. I have done my 10,000 hours in the field of depression and mental illnesses)
When I was in hospital for depression… 8 years ago… 9 years ago… a while back, I very quickly realised a simple truth. I could get out by lying. I was generally asked two questions in every meeting “How do you feel?” and “Have you considered killing yourself lately?”. So I lied and said “Grand” and “Nope”. Quickly the sessions became less frequent and before I knew it I was out. This is by no means the only example. One girl was anorexic (refused to eat), she would be released once she reached a target weight. I realise that the point of the hospital was to get us functional, but even outside it was the same scene. They gave me antidepressants and asked how I felt… not that I ever took the antidepressants, I didn’t want to get better, but I lied and said I felt fine and they believed me. Thankfully I learned to cope with the depression on my own, while pretending to be happy and not depressed I learned how to hide it well enough that I hid it from myself and learned to deal. I’m not saying this will work for other people but it worked for me.
So when I dislocated my thumb they set it and game me pain numbing pills. But when I was depressed they gave me pain numbing pills and didn’t fix my thumb.
This post isn’t about the faulty health system, it’s actually about, for want of a better word, politics. Like with health there are physical and non physical issues. These issues will also have symptoms. For example, lets say that road collisions (we can’t call them accidents any more because that apparently implies that no one was at fault) are much higher than average on a particular road. It’s discovered that it’s because the road is in a state of disrepair. The good solution is to fix the road, and maybe while it’s being repaired increase funding to emergency services in the area, you have set the bone and painkillers will keep things ticking over. The average solution is to just fix the road, you have set the bone. The stupid idea is just to increase funding to emergency services…. “But me finger still points at 90 degrees” “Yeah but at least it is no longer sore”.
Before I go any further I’m going to make something perfectly clear, I’m an equalitarian/egalitarian. Which is to say that I believe that everyone should be treated equally no matter what. There should be one set of laws for all people on the Earth. With the obvious exception of gingers… cause they aren’t people, they are better. Feminism is the belief that women should be treated equally. Crazy feminism is the belief that women should be treated better. That men should hold the door open for women and women shouldn’t for men (metaphorically speaking). Whenever I say something bad about feminists or feminism I’m referring to the crazy ones.
There is a non physical problem the symptom of which is women are being hired less often than men even when they are suited better for the job. In order to combat this symptom there has been a lot of talk of introducing mandatory minimum hiring quotas across the board by 2018 in Ireland. This is not only attacking a symptom and not the cause, but is tackling the symptom badly. It is a solution that I think is largely backed by those crazy feminists I mentioned earlier. The reason I say this is because of the major flaws behind the idea this hiring quota and indeed probably any hiring quota:
- A quota undermines people who get the job even if they deserve it. This is especially bad if it’s a managerial position as the last thing you want is staff thinking their manager isn’t qualified and only got the job because a quota needed to be reached.
- A quota of this type results in legislated unfair treatment of those it doesn’t cover, they are not being fair in all things they are being unfair to appear fair.
- Eventually this quota will result in someone dying. For example, there is a surgeon position going in a hospital. A man and a woman apply. The man is far better than the woman, but the hospital has to hire the woman to reach quota. When someone dies under the woman’s knife and would not have under the man’s, this law has killed a person. A law like this could kill you.
Those are not all the issues, but those are my three favourite examples. Of course for example number 3 it doesn’t just apply to surgeons, it applies to police, firefighters and truck drivers (what if someone hired to reach quota runs a light and kills someone).
Now we’ve looked at the symptom and the proposed, horrendous, fix. But what is the issue? It’s actually no secret, they openly talk about it on radio shows, which is where I first heard about this issue, my mother knows it, my father knows it and my friends know it. But not once have I heard of someone in parliament talk about fixing the problem. The simple reason for the inequality in hiring men and women is… *pause for suspense*… maternity leave.
Maternity leave in Ireland is 26 weeks and an extra 16 weeks unpaid. This means that when someone sees a woman of childbearing age walk into an interview they have to consider, that they could spend a year and a lot of money training this woman, but if she get’s pregnant she could be gone for 42 weeks, that’s almost a whole year, where the company has to get someone else in to do the job they hired the woman to do. Paternity leave does not exist in law, but civil servants in Ireland get 3 days and some companies offer it as part of their contract, but it is not enforced by law. This is an unequal system, how can you expect hiring standards to be equal if they system isn’t equal.
I’m not going to lie, women tend to (“Tend to”… I feel I can’t stress those words enough) be better at looking after babies. Not saying they all are or than men are universally bad. Hell my dad was changing my nappies and dancing with me in the hospital ward as soon as he was allowed, the nurses were gobsmacked (which is apparently the name of a wedding band). But some women don’t like kids, some men love them. Is it no unfair that the men can’t spend more time with their children when they are born? It’s also unfair the women are treated worse because they get more time off. I’m hoping that you’ve already come to the obvious solution, but in case you haven’t I’ll say it.
Change Maternity Leave to “Childbirth leave”. When a child is born both parents, or the two people acting as parents for the child can between them take the 26 weeks and between them take the additional 16 weeks of needed. That is to say that one of them could take 42 weeks off, or both could take 21 weeks off (At different times, for obvious reasons). Keep in the rules about women taking the minimum 2 weeks before due date, cause early births happen and it doesn’t make sense for the man to take it…. unless… nope it doesn’t.
I’m sure my proposed fix isn’t perfect and it would have to be looked at for all cases and people with lawducation (law education) will have to be called in. But it’s a far sight better than the quota system.
I hope you enjoyed this read.
Also, woot first post of 2014!