Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Non-Reciprocal Value Subtraction Of #HeForShe

I had my attentions drawn to Emma Watson's latest bloviations about her #HeForShe program, and in particular, this:
On Jan. 23, the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador took the stage in Davos, Switzerland to speak about the HeForShe campaign, the influence it has had on her own life and the new initiative Impact 10x10x10. "Women share this planet 50/50 and they are underrepresented -- their potential astonishingly untapped," she told the crowd.

The HeForShe campaign encourages men to join the movement towards achieving gender equality. As the campaign's website reads, it "brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all."

So, questions:
  1. Why is it that women need outside help to achieve their potential?
  2. Isn't this just a recasting of chivalry using modern, dead, and bureaucratic language?
  3. What benefit, specifically, do men receive for assisting women?
As an adjunct to the third question, I found myself curious to read her website's "Strategy" menu page, which, if you go to the PDF for corporations, includes this sleep-inducing passage:
  1. Women’s Empowerment Principles: As an initial step, these CEOs will sign the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The WEPs are the result of collaboration between UN Women and the UN Global Compact.1 Companies will establish targets and benchmarks aligned with the 7 Principles and will commit to publicly report on their progress by September 2015. 
  2. Launch and Leadership: IMPACT 10x10x10 corporations will launch HeForShe mobilization activities within their organizations, including the use of tools such as the ‘HeForShe Commitment API’ (a geo-located intranet app allowing men to register and visualize in real-time the number of male activated on the map globally within their organization) as a performance indicator for male engagement. 
  3. Commitment: Within each corporate structure, a commitment will be made to make a difference to gender equality and women’s empowerment. That might mean making a commitment to make an internal change or to create programs that empower women employees or customers, or to encourage male employees and customers to better understand what gender equality means and what their role is in achieving it; or it could mean an externally facing commitment to support programming that advocates for women and girls globally.
So, in other words, this has nothing to do with offering companies value, and everything to do with creating parasitic agencies within them. (The link to the UN piece on Women's Empowerment Principles is even more idiotic and bureaucratic.) How these agencies will serve the employer, and more importantly, the customers of the companies is omitted entirely. That, of course, is because we are to assume all their conclusions, i.e. that women provide valuable services for which they are obviously undercompensated. One wonders — I suspect the answer is, "no" — whether Ms. Watson has ever run a company, and what benefit such a department might bring to the bottom line. As with all such nonsense, Watson's prescriptions are entirely ego-driven; she considers neither the investors, nor the customers, nor (arguably) the employees, substituting her judgment for their interests. Such a program might produce landing places for the army of feminist studies majors who would otherwise be waitressing, but it is wholly toxic.

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