Women disagreeing with each other is NOT a civil war

Women disagreeing with each other is NOT a civil war

Given the numbers, it takes a degree of wilful blindness to argue the Liberal party doesn’t have a problem with women and something closer to rancour to blame it on women themselves.

And yet they are the suggestions columnist Janet Albrechtsen makes in a comment piece in The Australian under the headline: ‘Libs’ women problem turns out to be liberal women’. 

While the commentator is unsure whether the Liberal party has a problem with women or indeed a ‘women problem‘, (which is rather extraordinary given the desperately low number of female MPs from the party), there is one thing which she describes as “certain” and it’s this: there is a simmering civil war among Liberal female MPs.

The proof, we are told, lies in the existence of a WhatsApp group comprised of Liberal female MPs and the fact that this group of women have not – at all times – agreed with one another.

Their views have diverged at several points about how best to manage allegations of bullying which we are instructed amounts to them being intent on ‘whipping up a crisis at any cost’.

Now to some, twenty individuals not agreeing on absolutely everything at all times might be unsurprising, expected even. But to others, and crucially, when those individuals are women, it’s apparently tantamount to a damaging civil war.

Folks, hold the conversation about quotas or boosting the representation of women in parliament. Unless and until every single thinking woman agrees wholeheartedly with every other thinking female on the planet, on every issue, we will not have a seat at the table.

If it seems a little tough given male MPs are, you know, entitled to quite publicly ‘whip up’ storms in which Prime Ministers are actually toppled without having their entire gender assigned as the culprit, it’s because it is.

Men – in business, politics, sport, entertainment- are not expected to conform and perform as a perfectly homogenous, harmonious group. They are entitled, and even expected, to have different views and quirks and styles as a matter of course. Women, however, are not.

The fact a commentator can, in all seriousness, consider a group chat between 20 women in which different views are expressed as ‘civil war’ is proof of it.

It serves to perpetuate the tired and ridiculous argument that women are their own worst enemies, a proposition that presupposes women are a uniform group.

The truth is – in business, in politics and life itself – women are individuals. Is it really so hard to see them – and treat them – that way?

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