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ValentinD:
And I am certainly more for freedom than you, who seem to want to push swathes of population into roles they don't choose, and punish those who choose them and are good at it.

That is not an accurate representation of my views. I have repeatedly said that I do not want people to be pushed into roles that they would not choose, and I do not want people to be discriminated against.  Nor do I want to punish people who are good at and choose to do more 'traditional' jobs or roles in society. It is about breaking down the stereotypes that prevent people from doing what they want to do across all groups and within all groups. I've repeatedly said that.

What I have discussed is where there is an imbalance and it is an important one to try to address, then I agree with trying to change attitudes and break down myths and stereotypes and to encourage those groups that are under-represented to become more involved.  I personally don't like the concept of having quotas but sometimes that kind of action has proved necessary in order to shift the balance. Denmark removed their quota on women representatives and it has continued to work with more women being involved in public life, but maybe having the quota was the catalyst that was needed for people to make more effort to create an environment where women who wanted to put themselves forward were able to succeed in doing so.  

I am deaf.  I have been denied access and opportunities and I have been directly and indirectly discriminated against because of that. I have also been discriminated against for being a woman.  Ditto for being young.  I have personal experience of the issues that discrimination within society has caused, throughout my life - in education, in accessing healthcare and employment and training and using services. As a union rep, I've seen the realities of discrimination on people in workplaces. That is where my motivation comes from for trying to understand and seek ways of tackling discrimination and inequality. I don't blindly follow essentialist feminist views or any other - I am trying to learn about the whole range of approaches which is exactly why I put my citizenship diary together.

In the citizenship diary I tried to explain different ways in which different countries approach citizenship and resultingly, equality issues.  You brought out a series of questions and criticisms regarding the British model and it's been a really interesting discussion.

Perhaps in the process of me trying to explain how the British view of tackling equality and discrimination has come about, I have not clearly separated my personal views from that.  I by no means agree with everything about the British approach and it is why I am glad that we are beginning to move to an approach that recognises that not everything or everyone fits into the categories that have dominated the equalities approach so far.

But for the record there is a huge body of research around gender and race, less so on disability and other areas.  Some research you can question the motives and methodology of (as with anything) but there is plenty of long term and robust research with findings that point to discrimination being a key issue for inequality.

TBG has on a number of occasions made the very valid point that in many areas of life men are also discriminated against and in the way we discuss equalities in the UK, these issues are invisible and they are not acknowledged. It's quite right to be angry about that.  But I do believe it is beginning to change a bit.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:11:40 AM EST
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