Thursday, November 08, 2012

Nothing changes

There is a very funny Harry Enfield sketch that I suggest you all go and look up on YouTube now. 

The sketch, which claims to be a public service announcement, is filmed in flickering black and white, and is narrated by a man with the diction of a Fifties BBC radio announcer. “An ordinary dinner party,” he says, opening the scene. 

The sort of occasion we all enjoy. 

The men are exchanging witty stories, and look at the women.

 Aren’t they pretty? 

Look at the way they laugh. 

Aren't they delightful?
The men at the party discuss the gold standard; the women look on adoringly. 

Then one of the females pipes up with her economic theory, and the whole dinner party is thrown into disarray.
The lady has attempted to enter the conversation with a wild and dangerous opinion of her own! says the panicked announcer. 

What half-baked drivel! 

See how the men look at her with utter contempt!
Viewers are shown evidence of how over-education in women “leads to ugliness, premature ageing and beard growth”, before the narrator concludes the so-called public service announcement with the following withering words: 

Women, know your limits. 

In thought be plain and simple and let your natural sweetness shine through.
Funny, because many decades ago that used to be true. 

Not today, of course. 

No, no, no. 

Now we can all have a laugh at the little woman role that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were cast in. 

At dinner parties and other gatherings of both sexes, women are just as vocal as their male counterparts – if not more so. 

We have opinions, not all of them are particularly nice, and we are not afraid to use them.



A study published in the American Political Science Review has found that women speak “substantially less” when outnumbered by men in group discussions. 
In fact, when observing 94 groups of at least five people, the political scientist Chris Karpowitz found that “the time that women spoke was significantly less than their proportional representation.

Amounting to less than 75 per cent of the time that men spoke.
The research, conducted by scholars at Princeton and the Brigham Young University’s centre for the study of elections and democracy in the US, also found that women were less likely to speak up when a matter was decided by majority rule. 

Tali Mendelberg, who teaches politics at Princeton, concluded that in school boards, governing boards of organisations and firms, and legislative committees, women are often a minority of members and the group uses majority rule to make its decisions. 

These settings will produce a dramatic inequality in women’s floor time and in many other ways. 

Women are less likely to be viewed and to view themselves as influential in the group and to feel that their 'voice is heard’.

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