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Equality…

…somebody wrote the rule book 50 years ago and never bothered releasing a second edition! This morning on the radio I hear that the equality authority, whom I have had the pleasure of dealing with in a professional capacity once upon a time, are putting out to tender, a report to indicate how women are discriminated/stereotyped in the media. WTF?

No offence ladies but I think that the balance of power may have slightly shifted in recent times with respect to certain areas and it is indeed men who are suffering in favour of women in those sectors. Simple example, somebody show me one example of a motor insurance company who offers special deals for men. You’ll find plenty for women! Just like all women are not ditsy blondes, neither are all men the same. However, when a female cries foul play it’s sexual discrimination but when a male cries it, it’s deemed to be statistical evidence. I’ve been through those figures way too often to enter into it again but here’s that link once more.

I would like to suggest/implore the equality authority conducts a study into the number of road safety ads that feature young males driving in a reckless manner. I would then ask if this number is proportionately representative of the road accidents on our roads. I would further inquire if the public monies being spent on these ads (always with the support of an insurance company) are being solely spent on targeting young males instead of aiming at all road users of whom no one group is exempt from accident statistics. I personally see this as an open and blatant discrimination against young men supported by the companies who make the most by portraying young men in this fashion. Where’s the equality there?

2 thoughts on “Equality…”

  1. Women cost the insurer less that men. Similarly, fat smokers cost a health insurer more than thin non-smokers, and having had a sexual health check indicates to a life insurer that you are more likely to die earlier. None of this is fair, but it IS backed by statistics. It is not an insurer’s job to be nice to people who are the exception to the rule; they really have no way of knowing. (Some insurers do, I believe, do deals for people with good records).

    The ads are simply targeting the highest risk group. This is _normal_. You don’t put up sexual health ads in a nursing home. They _could_ target, say, young women, or middle-aged bishops, or whatever, but if you do accept that these ads do any good (which is dubious anyway) then targeting the highest risk group makes a lot of sense; their aim is to save as many lives as possible.

    And yes, depiction of women in the media (especially television) is generally highly stereotypical. So, of course, is depiction of men, but the masculine stereotype could be said to be less demeaning.

  2. Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the feedback. While the points you make are generically applicable, they don’t apply to the motor insurance industry. If you read the link I provided in my post regarding some simple calculations I made at the time when these ad campaigns started to emerge, it shows that there is approximately 77% of accidents not caused by people between the ages of 17 and 24 in this country, yet almost 100% of the ads are composed from this grouping. Hardly seems like proportional representation to me. I don’t think that women realistically cost the insurer less than men as the young male bracket has been shown time after time through 2 separate MIAB reports to be one of the most profitable sectors of the insurance industry. Several years, as I alluded to, I took a case through the Equality Tribunal against an insurer who shall remain nameless for legal reasons. My angle was to acquire statistical data from them to support their claim that I as a driver with a perfect record was uninsureable because of my age and gender. I was eventually presented, after 18 months, with data showing two sample frames: one male and one female. The female sample frame was approx 10 times the size of the male sample frame and as any statistician will know, is completely inadmissible as proof because of the lack of accurate proportional representation. Even at that the claim difference was marginal.

    While I agree that you don’t put up sexual health ads in a nursing home this is hardly comparable to a nationwide campaign affecting all road users but only focusing on a group that is involved in 23% of accidents on our roads (figure again from my calculations). I’m not denying that some young lads are absolute headcases, my issue is that there is no representation of the accidents caused by people outside of this grouping; a quota that is considerably more when taken in terms of the entire population that are in receipt of the adverts on TV, radio and posters.

    You rightly state at the end that there is still stereotyping on-going in the media. Where we draw the line with this and uber political correctness I do not know exactly. However, clamping down on adverts that adversely effect people both financially and otherwise must be stopped. Maybe blindly but I don’t see that the portrayal of women in the media is the most serious equality issue in the country at the moment when men still don’t get decent paternity leave or shared quota of parenting leave split between the male/female couple and any other number of things that I could point out.

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