Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Remember the old saying, "Faint heart never won fair lady."

I'm seeing  a bit of red over this front page story in today's Globe, particularly the beginning of this sentence:
"But more specifically, insiders said the Liberals will abandon nanny state proposals like universal child care and put forward boutique proposals that would cost relatively little and target areas where many Canadians are hurting – such as their family-care plan, which would give family caregivers a six-month employment-insurance benefit similar to parental leave and a family-care tax benefit for low- and moderate-income earners modelled on the child tax benefit."
Insiders say the Liberals will abandon universal child care do they?  On a day when I'll be attending an event for Liberal women with members of the Liberal women's caucus and former female Liberal luminaries, billed as an opportunity for women to participate in the Party's policy development we read this?  
It is also rather galling coming so swiftly after Person's Day when at a panel discussion following the ceremony we heard the Governor General's Person's Award laureates speak about the importance of universal child care to the cause of women's equality.
Although I am sometimes referred to as an "insider", and it can certainly be a useful moniker from time-to-time I'll admit, in reality I am not.  As a member of the LPC, I shouldn't have to be, or become, an "insider" to effectively influence policy. 
It will be an interesting discussion tonight, no doubt.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Rome was not built in a day."

If you want collective smarts, include women in your group.
If you want collective smarts, include women in your group.
If you want collective smarts, include women in your group.
If you want collective smarts, include women in your group.

Sorry to shout at you House of Commons and Canadian political parties, but sometimes you can be a little thick headed.  No matter how you read it or where you put the emphasis, this headline (and article) in today's (New and Improved!) Globe and Mail contains an important message for our democracy.  To make the Canadian Parliament(s), political discourse and decision-making work better, we need more women - preferably in equal numbers to men at the table.

The aspect I find most interesting in the article and the referred-to study -- one which I myself have pontificated upon -- is the concept of decision-making and the impact of gender on it. (Of course as the study is published in the journal, 'Science', I predict one party to ridicule and dismiss it, quickly, harshly and often. But that would be a partisan aside.)

Here are some relevant quotes from the article:

"“The individual intelligence of members is not a very strong predictor of collective intelligence,” said lead researcher Anita Woolley, of Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.
Researchers divided 700 people into groups of two to five, and set out to measure their ability to perform tasks such as brainstorming, solving puzzles and making moral judgments. The goal was to assess collective intelligence, dubbed the “c factor.”
They found that groups that worked well were ones where members interacted and participated equally. They tended to include more women.
“We didn’t expect that the proportion of women would be a significant influence, but we found that it was,” Prof. Woolley, an organizational psychologist, said in an interview. “The effect was linear, meaning the more women, the better.”"
"Tiffany Paulsen, a Saskatoon lawyer and city councillor who sits on numerous working groups and committees, has found that women tend to take a collaborative approach to decisions and weigh issues from different perspectives.
“When you have more thoughtful and intelligent discussions, the quality of your decision increases,” she said. Men tend to be more aggressive in their statements and interactions, she said, while women tend to be more “reflective.”
“It does increase the group intelligence. The more thought you put into what you say, the more likely it will improve what comes out of your mouth.”"

My view is that it is literally only natural that men and women, who (without other societal impact) exist in equal numbers and who are obviously different, complement each other in the system sometimes referred to as humanity.

In other words "the system" works best when we work together, the way we were intended.