According to the internationally-renowned expert on work-related gender discrimination Penny Vincenzi (snark, yes, that’s the novelist Penny Vincenzi), the glass ceiling is nothing more than a figment of some women’s over-zealous over-active rad-femnazi imaginations.

Women don’t fail to get into top jobs because the system is inherently biased in men’s favour, Vincenzi points out in today’s Mail, but because basically, when it boils down to it, they’re just crap at their jobs.

“In our politically correct times, it’s taboo to suggest women lose out in the workplace simply because they aren’t up to the job.” She says, choosing to ignore all and any research that might indicate the situation’s a bit more complex than that, “I just think that as a woman, if you want to succeed in whatever field you choose, you can  –  and you always could.”

In a classic example of how to miss the fcuking point entirely, Vincenzi then goes on to explain that part of the problem is that women often want to go off and have babies, which in itself isn’t an issue obviously, because that’s what women were designed for in Penny’s cosy white middle-class heteronormative world , but which becomes an issue when they then whinge about the long hours culture and not getting home in time to see the kids:

“I think this is an important factor: very few women are actually comfortable working 12-hour days while their children are very small. Most of us go for a softer option  –  but that’s not because we face male oppression, it’s because we want to be home for bathtime.

We put our careers  –  or the higher reaches of them  –  on hold. But it’s down to us”

Yes indeed: God forbid that employers should be asked to consider adopting more family friendly policies or that they should be asked to think about making some adjustments to their working practices; the problem of women’s underrepresentation in the upper echelons of the business world, or in politics, or indeed in any traditonally male dominated workforce is not theirs to deal with, it’s ours. Apparently if women want to get on, we can, we just need to do what Penny’s friend does:

“A fearsomely successful female lawyer who just happens to have young children. She goes home at six whenever she can, for bath and bedtime, and then goes back to the office. She does it because she wants to and wants to carry on succeeding (granted, she has an incredibly good husband).

As far as I know, she doesn’t feel particularly discriminated against. And as far as I also know, nobody’s forcing her to work that hard.”

And as far as I know Penny, the term structural discrimination probably means about as much to you as patriarchy-collaborating-gender-traitor does.

The esteemed author of a series of highy regarded and well-established feminist tomes then goes on to share with Mail readers her enlightened and progressive philosophy on workplace sexual harassment:

“The point, it seems to me, is that nobody forces you to go into an environment that is male-oriented.

I am completely baffled by these women who win zillions of pounds’ compensation because the men on the trading floor make sexist remarks to and about them, and supposedly ruin their lives.

There have been enough women before them, telling it how it is. It’s not rocket science to work out what the environment might be. Either grow a thick skin and fight your way to the top on talent and hard work, or don’t bother going there in the first place.”

So there you have it sisters: put up or shut up! Or, if you can’t stand the heat blah blah blah blah….

Ms Vincenzi appears to be completely oblivious to the contradictions within her piece, for example the way she’s argued on the one hand that there’s no such thing as male oppression within the employment market and therefore nothing holding women back besides their own innate incompetence, while on the other she’s tried to make the case that the more sensitive among us, ie those women who aren’t prepared to be bullied, insulted, demeaned and degraded by their colleagues, shouldn’t even bother applying for jobs in male dominated workplaces because of the sexism and harassment they’re liable to face there.

It’s surely not rocket science to work out that sexual harassment, and women being given the message that they should either toughen up or not bother applying for the more traditionally male jobs, reinforce the very system of male oppression Vincenzi is so keen to deny exists.

But then judging by this effort, I’m guessing Penny Vincenzi is no rocket scientist.


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