NZ Broadcaster Makes Ignorant Comments About Feminism

News. Posted 3 years ago


Paul Henry, controversial New Zealand broadcaster, has been called out by the Human Rights Commission for his attitude towards, and comments, about feminism.

According to the New Zealand Herald, while Henry was discussing the fact that Hillary Clinton is making her gender an important part of her bid for the US Presidency, he said: “Why, if feminism has come so far, does she feel the need to highlight the fact that she’s a woman? Shouldn’t she be selling herself on the fact that she’s the best person, the right person, for the job, no matter what her sex?”

Every person who understands that gender inequality still exists and that feminism is the political ideology to combat it, understands that this argument is ignorant and misogynistic. Including, it would seem, Jackie Blue, the Equal Opportunities Commissioner, who issued an open letter to Paul Henry, that called him out and thoroughly denounced his logic. Basically, Paul Henry: “You are wrong.” Hear, hear! Read the full letter below.

Considering #EqualPayDay took place only two days ago, and highlighted the fact that in the US women earn 77% of that of their male counterparts, Henry’s comments are all the more misplaced and completely inaccurate.

Dear Paul,

You are wrong. Feminism hasn’t come further than Hillary Clinton and Helen Clark, feminism will only ever go as far as they and other women go.

On your show today you argued that feminism has come further than Clinton and Clark, two women who are campaigning respectively for roles as the United States President and Secretary General of the United Nations. Clinton has voiced her ambition to become the first woman US President and you saw this as an outdated thing to say. It isn’t.

Feminism is a belief that gender should not limit anyone’s chances at life and quite frankly people are deluded if they believe women currently get the same opportunities as men to make it in business, politics and the like.

If we have come as far as you say we have why has female representation in our Parliament been stuck at around 30% since the first MMP election in 1996? Why did it even go backwards at the 2014 election? Why is the percentage of female directors on the NZX listed companies a paltry 14%? Why is it that there is a persistent mean pay gender gap in the labour market of around 14 %?

Only yesterday lawyer and international public servant Vicky Robertson was announced as the Ministry for the Environment’s new chief executive, however the headline just described her as a “Former Hockey Player”. I can’t help but wonder if this headline would have been the same if she were a man.

There is a lot of work to be done.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Jackie Blue

EEO Commissioner

Via the NZ Herald

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1) This Shop Charges Women Less to Reflect the Gender Pay Gap

2) How Instagram is Perpetuating The Beauty Myth

3) A Brief History of Witches and Why They’re Awesome

4) Emma Watson Says “If You Stand For Equality, You’re a Feminist” in IWD Q+A

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