I am a feminist, if only because many women don’t think it’s important enough to bother about. Let me qualify that; I am for complete equality, in all practical regards, and against illogical inequality. I grew up in a house with three sisters, and my mum earned more than my dad.

In the early years of the third millennium it is grotesquely weird and quite perverse that 52% of all mankind (see what I did there?) are discriminated against. In many cases it’s not possible to point out how, or why, but it’s there all the same. 

Of course many men (and even women) will assert that the female of the species suffer no discrimination at all, and even that they are put on pedestals and exalted. It is quaintly considered “old fashioned” and therefore respectable, to deny woman all the rights that men enjoy, including not only the right to career freedom, power and authority, but also the entitlement to get it just as wrong as the rest of us.  Women are often considered too delicate and feeble to be nasty, malicious and criminal, and those who are, are seen to be letting down their sex.

The bald facts are that all women, in their entirety, are just as intelligent, determined, innovative, cunning, manipulative, good and downright evil as men are.  We wouldn’t dare suggest that any other race on the planet was either more or less capable than another, but every race, colour and creed have seen fit to not only build their respective cultures around such discrimination, but to even codify it into law.

The Guardian recently ran statistics on the male dominance of British public life.  Over a month, they painstakingly recorded that 78 per cent of newspaper articles, 72 per cent of Question Time contributors and 84 per cent of the presenters and guests on Radio 4 were men. Ninety-three years after women got the vote, they still aren’t saying very much.

When you consider the representation of women in mainstream politics, their invisibility at policy debates and on current affairs programmes comes as no surprise. Nan Sloane, director of the Centre for Women and Democracy, points out that the current figures are easy to remember: 22% of MPs are female, 22% of peers and 22% of the cabinet. (After the election, only 17% of the cabinet were women, but that number edged up with the recent appointment of Chloe Smith as economic secretary to the Treasury.) Interestingly, when the figures for women’s representation across the newspapers and the Today programme are averaged, they produce almost exactly the same result – 22.6%.

Female managers are now paid an average £31,895 per year, compared with £42,441 for men doing the same job, according to the Chartered Management Institute. Despite the rate of women’s pay rising faster than men’s, the CMI said it would take 98 years to gain parity at current rates. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14721839

The bottom line is that women have allowed the world to be built around the male of the species.  Now that many of the legal impediments have been moved, it’s really up to women themselves to do something about it.  If it is left to the men in power, nothing will change very quickly at all.

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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