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Issue #16: The F Word

We aren't usually prescriptive here at Suit & Pie - we like to present the facts and let our readers make up their own minds. However once in a while we do get a little riled up (and emotional - but that's the hormones talking).

One of the topics that fired us up recently was #womenagainstfeminism. Now, the F word is a pretty loaded word in and of itself (as proven by the numerous interpretations and tumblr pictures) and therefore we are wading into this debate with some caution. However hopefully you will enjoy our little piece 'Of Labels and Amazons' (even if you don't necessarily agree with our views!).

It has also been an interesting few weeks for diversity in the news with the cabinet reshuffle and the revelation that the typical Silicon Valley employee is white, male, straight and occasionally hangs out with Asian guys.

A study conducted recently also found that women and minorities are penalised for promoting individuals who are similar to them, the conclusion then being that diversity may be best left to men - we explore this in our Man's Corner where we also catch up with Mr Smith to see how his annual office medical went.   
 
We want to say thank you to all the #suities for the follows, retweets, shares and likes. Over 1,500 reads per issue is more than we could ever have hoped!

Keep 'em coming!
 
x  foong
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Issue #17 of Suit & Pie is out on 14 August 2014. Subscribe here to receive it straight to your inbox and catch up on past issues in our archive. You can also read the Suit & Pie story here courtesy of womanthology.co.uk.
 
Of Labels and Amazons
Why feminism is about choice for men and women...
We all love a good label (and I’m not just talking Louboutin or Miu Miu here) – if you don’t eat meat: you’re a vegetarian, if you love chocolate: you’re a chocoholic, if you like twerking and sticking your tongue out: you’re Miley Cyrus. So if you believe in equal rights for men and women: you’re a feminist, right?

Although most people wouldn’t have a problem with being called vegetarian or Miley Cyrus (!), few women or men would actively label themselves as ‘feminists’. This became very apparent to me when I was forwarded the link to Lucy Mangan’s excellent blog in Stylist (“Women Against Feminism Are Missing the Point”) and subsequently visited the Women Against Feminism tumblr page which has been the source of much controversy and numerous tweets and articles recently.

So, why the big fuss about one word? At its most basic form the definition of ‘feminism’ is simply ‘believing in and seeking to achieve a state of equal political, economic, cultural and social rights for women’. Therefore unless you are all for a society where men or women (or apes) are the ‘superior’ gender (or species) then you are a feminist and you believe in equal rights for humans (and apes! Having watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes recently, I am very much against apes being the dominant species).

What needs to be made clear is that men and women having equal rights in society and women having the same choices as men (or vice versa) does not mean that men have to stop being manly and women have to stop being well… womanly. Jill can still choose to cook dinner for the family and raise the kids and Jack can still choose to go to work and support his family. What equal rights means is that if one day Jack decides to stay at home and Jill decides to go out to work, Jack would be given the same rights and opportunity as Jill at home and vice versa. In this sense, feminism is about giving men and women more choice.

The controversy surrounding the F word comes when you realise that sometimes (actually quite often), in order to achieve equal rights, women and men have to do more than just hope for equality, they have to actively campaign, advocate and fight for it. Our foremothers actively fought for women’s right to vote, campaigns are currently ongoing for equal pay, education for girls, the end of female genital mutilation and domestic violence amongst others. And there are some incredible women who tirelessly campaign and promote these causes (Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards of Soapbox Inc and co-founder of Feministing Courtney E Martin – see her TED talk).

However as a result of all this active campaigning, being a ‘feminist’ has now become associated with being an active advocate for women’s rights (which is great particularly if you are a proper campaigner a-la-Malala), but has also been misconstrued as being an active advocate for women (over men or any other species). The latter is not feminism but rather the belief that women should rule the world in some kind of flashback to the Amazon country. The two notions should not be confused.

So that next time someone asks you if you are a feminist… you can say – yes! (and don’t have to pretend you’re an Amazon, you’d probably be too short anyway). 
Socks & crumbs (or the bit at the bottom)
Diversity in the news...

- "Cameron promotes raft of female ministers in cull of 'male, pale and stale'" read the sensationalist headline in the Mail Online when David Cameron announced his new cabinet. Great news for diversity (the Welsh secretary is the first Conservative Cabinet minister with a beard since 1905 - so diverse!). Let's see what they get up to!



-  Twitter, facebook and Google have recently released diversity reports which reveal that broadly 70% of their employees are male, 60% are white, 24-30% are Asian, 3%-6% are Hispanic and 2% are African American.

"Tech leaders ought to be embarrassed by such numbers, especially considering that their companies are popular places to work, are located in desirable places to live and have large pools of applicants from which to draw" said USA Today. Hopefully tech companies' employees will soon reflect their diverse customer base.
This week I will be...

- cheering on team GB and team Malaysia (my motherland) at the Commonwealth Games



- getting very excited about the return of Scandal (Season 3) with the amazing Kerry Washington (read her keynote at #blogher14)

- getting a first look at Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman outfit in Batman (Ben Affleck) vs Superman (Henry Cavill): Dawn of Justice released in 2016 (yay!)

- laughing at our favourite cat pictures on the parody tumblr site "Confused Cats Against Feminism"

It's a man's world - maybe we aren't so different after all 

New face of diversity

A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado and the University of Texas found that women and non-white executives who pushed for diverse hires may suffer for it in their own performance reviews. However the opposite is true for white men.

 


Students who took part in the study reacted negatively when women and minority actors pushed for diverse candidates. Women in the audience winced when they saw a woman pushing for another woman candidate to get the job.

David Hekman who conducted the study believes the negative stereotyping is a result of perceived self-interest.

He suggests instead that people be judged not on how much they promote diversity but on how much they hire and promote people demographically dissimilar from themselves, what he calls being "demographically unselfish".

Mr Hekman also proposes putting white men in charge of promoting diversity at companies as currently 65% of diversity officers in the Fortune 500 are women and 37% are African American which he says serves to reinforce the negative stereotypes. As he concludes
"Nobody can attack a white man for being selfish if he's promoting diversity".
Mr Smith's corner

Mr Smith gives us his thoughts for the week.
 
Highlights: I have been taking some light relief in the form of the #Glasgow2014 Commonwealth Games this week as an offset for my lack of gym activity (see below). England are top of the medal table for a change and even the Scotsmen in the office seem less grumpy than usual - no minor miracles there. They must have been cheered by that heady mix of tartan, Rod Stewart and Scottie dogs in the opening ceremony.

Does the Queen (@Queen_UK) (personal friend of Miss F and avid tweeter it seems) get to keep the Commonwealth Scottie dogs if Scotland votes for independence? Needs considering... right of first refusal at least I think.


 
Lowlights: Failed to achieve last year's press-up tally in annual work medical. I did ask for an independent review of the final 3 press-ups although it seems they were not qualifying. Only saving grace is that there's no chin up test...

Lesson learnt: It's illegal to transport me in the summer on the tube... 'Livestock cattle wouldn't travel on London underground as temperatures are above the EU legal limit'. I shall be writing to my MEP to demand intervention.
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