The debate around gender equality has been a hot topic for years, often leading to polarised opinions. While the diversity industry claims to champion gender equality, a growing body of evidence suggests that its approach may be doing more harm than good.
The diversity industry has been influential in shaping public opinion and policy, often advocating for equal outcomes rather than equal opportunities. But this approach has been criticised for promoting mediocrity and undermining meritocracy. Studies have shown that the focus on equal outcomes can lead to unmerited rewards and penalties, which ultimately harms both men and women.
The meritocratic system has its merits
Meritocracy, the principle that people should succeed based on their abilities and achievements, has been a transformative force in society. It has led to unprecedented opportunities and prosperity for both men and women. In hist book, Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World, Adrian Wooldridge highlights how meritocracy shattered old myths and transformed the world with innovations in various fields.
Gender differences are not necessarily a bad thing
Men and women have different priorities and preferences, which is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, women often value work-life balance more than men do. These differences should be acknowledged and respected rather than suppressed in the name of equal outcomes. Research has shown that when these differences are acknowledged, both sexes can flourish.
The unintended consequences of the diversity industry’s approach
The focus on equal outcomes has led to unintended consequences that harm both men and women. For instance, the #MeToo movement – while important for addressing sexual harassment – has also led to a decline in professional relationships between men and women. A study analysing junior faculty in economics found that fewer research collaborations occurred between male and female professors after the movement began.
The need for a balanced approach
While the goal of achieving gender equality is noble, the approach needs to be balanced and nuanced. The diversity industry’s current focus on equal outcomes undermines the very principle of meritocracy that has brought unprecedented opportunities to both sexes. A balanced approach that respects individual preferences and abilities is crucial for fostering a society where both men and women can thrive.
The diversity industry’s focus on equal outcomes is fraught with problems. It undermines meritocracy, promotes mediocrity, and has unintended consequences that harm both men and women. A more balanced approach that respects individual differences and focuses on equal opportunities rather than equal outcomes is needed to truly achieve gender equality.
Elara Whitman is a freelance journalist specialising in social issues and gender equality.