Equality is Not Easy to Come By

Did you know that there are politicians in the USA who would like to remove the vote from women?  I guess the argument goes that “they are such busy people looking after homes
that they should not be bothered by voting and politics.”

A certain African parliament tried to pass a law making it illegal for husbands to beat their wives. The law did not make it onto the statute book. It was opposed by women MPs who explained that being beaten was a sign of love. Seems strange to me.

There are all sorts of ways of not acting equally. It could be the colour of a person's skin, accent, or known economic position. Then there is language, whether it is their second or third language or their perceived education. 

I feel as though I am on a mission to bring about greater equality for foster carers. For those who are not involved in the sector, let me tell you about some of the reasons for the lack of equality. 

There are foster carers who have fostered children for eight or more years, with the same child or children.  I heard of one foster care being told that there was to be a meeting to decide what would happen next to the children they were fostering.  On responding with, “Oh, I don’t have that in my diary when is it?” The response was “Oh! It's not for you. This is a professional meeting.”  Is that sensible to exclude someone who has been looking after those children for eight or more years 24/7? Maybe the put down of, “You are not a professional,” is a good way of avoiding
equality.

What Is Professionalism?

One clever and, I think, correct description says, “Professionalism is not the job you do; it's how you do the job." 

Professionalism involves consistently achieving exacting standards, both visibly and "behind the scenes," whatever one's role or profession.

Characteristics of Professionalism:

 1. Competence

2. Knowledge

3. Conscientiousness

4. Integrity

5. Respect

6. Emotional Intelligence

7. Appropriateness

8. Confidence

Fortunately, this foster carer was quick to respond with the right answer: “I needed that
date, and I will be there as I am a professional foster carer.” 

When I worked as a foster carer for a Local Authority, I chaired their Foster Care Association.
It seemed to me that to increase that level of equality it would be good to have training alo
ng with the social workers. I spoke with management, who agreed that this is good. We managed to get one training session together, but then the social workers announced they would come to no
more.  “We are social workers, and we should not be expected to do training alongside foster carers.” I wonder if those foster carers were somehow lesser individuals, certainly not equal.

Now I am trying again, but guess what I am hearing? “You do not understand. Foster carers are too busy.”  Sure, they are busy, but they are required to attend all sorts of training.

 Or another one: “Maybe they are not academic like the social workers.” Really?

 Or how about the old chestnut, “It's about language, and with some of them, English is their second language.” In my book, this makes them clever and maybe academic.

 We need to remember that when women were trying to get the vote in the UK, all sorts of reasons were put forward to deny and denigrate the idea.

 Here are some of the five most bizarre and ridiculous ones:

1. The mental exertion of voting would cause infertility in women.
2. Women’s brains were inferior to men’s, and so women were incapable of participating in politics.
3. Many women did not want to vote.
4. Women would neglect their homes and families, causing society to unravel.
5. Women were too good for the dirty nature of politics.

Perhaps it is the same slant: they are too busy, do not want to, or are not academic enough.

 Nothing changes much, does it?

 I guess it's my age, but it seems that people think that Europe has had universal suffrage for ages. Here are some surprising dates for when some European states introduced equal female
suffrage: 

 Switzerland (1971).

Portugal (1976).

Liechtenstein (1984).

 

We need to keep pushing!

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