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Nuttall: Women thrive on merit not patronising gender quotas
Date 13/03/2012 15:22  Author webmaster  Hits 3773  Language Global
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Euro-Parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly today in Strasbourg to pass the Gender Equality reports.
This legislation aims to tackle gender inequality in the EU and introduces gender quotas to boost the number of women on company boards and in political bodies.

Speaking yesterday during the debate, UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall lauded former PM Margaret Thatcher and said quotas should have no place in a meritocracy. He said that discrimination was never positive.
Paul Nuttall said:
"Your own figures show that the pay gap between men and women is still large.  After all these years of EU gender equality regulations, targets, initiatives, the situation is still pretty poor.

And now you want to introduce quotas for women in boardrooms. This is so patronising that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

If a woman is dedicated and good she can get to the top.  Did Margret Thatcher need quotas to get to become the British Prime Minister? No she did it based on raw ability, iron will and because she was the best person for the job.

When you bring in quotas you lessen quality, you promote mediocrity and I contend that businesses should hire the best person for the job, no matter if they are male or female, black, or white or anything else. It's called meritocracy and it something Britain and the English speaking world have been pioneering for centuries. 

How would you feel if you were a woman that had worked hard, made it to management only for a token woman to be handed a similar job?

If anything this will create a culture of discrimination, as colleagues will constantly ask, did you get here because you're good or because a few boxes needed ticking?

You call this 'positive discrimination', but I would argue that discrimination is never positive. "

So here we have it: In a desperate bid to sound popular you are not only patronising women, you are promoting mediocrity and hampering business, and I would urge members to reject this report."

The two reports in question:

First Report

A7-0041/2012 - Report on equality between women and men in the European Union - 2011; Rapporteur : Sophie in 't Veld Sophia [Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM)]

Free Access to Condoms - passed

48. Expresses concern over the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmissible diseases, in particular amongst women; points out that 45% of young women and girls who are newly infected with HIV are between the ages of 15 and 24 years old; urges the Commission therefore to place increased emphasis on prevention in their strategy for the fight against HIV/AIDS, to increase general awareness about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases through the inclusion of sex education, free access to condoms and HIV tests, and to reduce the number of new HIV infections;

Banning Page-3 Pictures

49. Calls for a debate at European and Member State level on how to combat stereotypes relating to the respective roles of women and men; stresses, in this regard, the importance of promoting the representation of the female image in a way that respects women’s dignity, and of combating persistent gender stereotypes, in particular the prevalence of degrading images, whilst fully respecting freedom of expression and freedom of the press;

28. Calls on the Commission to present, as soon as possible, comprehensive current data on female representation within all types of companies in the EU and on the compulsory and non-compulsory measures taken by the business sector as well as those recently adopted by the Member States with a view to increasing such representation, following this exercise, and, if the steps taken by companies and the Member States are found to be inadequate, to propose legislation, including quotas, by 2012 to increase female representation in corporate management bodies to 30% by 2015 and to 40% by 2020, while taking account of the Member States responsibilities and of their economic, structural (i.e. company-size related), legal and regional specificities;

Passed. UKIP deletion defeated with only 152 votes

Second Report

A7-0029/2012 - Report on women in political decision-making – quality and equality; Rapporteur: Pietikäinen Sirpa [Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM)]

24. Takes note of the importance of media and education in promoting women’s participation in politics and in reforming societal attitudes; underlines the importance of raising the awareness of the media, and of public broadcasters in particular, of the need to ensure fair and balanced coverage of men and women candidates during elections and of monitoring the media to identify gender bias and means to address it and thus to promote efforts to eliminate stereotypes and encourage the portrayal of positive images of women as leaders, including women politicians as role models, at national, regional and European level;

Passed with 633 for

15. Calls on the Member States to promote positive action measures, including binding legislative measures, with a view to ensuring parity in all governing bodies and public appointments and to develop tools for gender monitoring of nominations and elections;

Passed with 535 votes for

2. Welcomes the parity systems/gender quotas for elections introduced by legislation in some Member States; calls on the Member States to consider introducing legislative measures, such as positive action measures, to make progress toward parity and ensure the efficiency of these measures, when compatible with the electoral system and when the political parties are in charge of the composition of the electoral list, through zipper systems, monitoring and effective sanctions in order to facilitate more balanced participation of women and men in political decision-making;

Passed with 469 positive

European Parliment press release:

Parliament calls for quotas to step up women's participation in politics and business