So Murray McCully is overseeing a halving of women employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in frontline diplomatic roles. It’s down from 30% under the last Labour-led government, to just 16% under this National-led government.
This isn’t surprising, given this government’s laissez-faire approach to women in paid work – scrapping the gender equity unit, paying female public sector workers 15% less than male public sector workers, and reportedly putting blocks within their own party to women representatives.
What is new is the reason Mr McCully has struggled to appoint women, according to Matthew Hooton. He says Mr McCully is manfully fighting “the most conservative of departments,” MFaT, by “aggressively promoting” Gen X talent:
Vangelis Vitalis, 43, has been appointed ambassador to the EU and Nato; Taha Macpherson, 40, to Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority; Reuben Levermore, 36, to the Philippines; and Justin Fepuleai, 38, to Afghanistan. Ben King, 39, is John Key’s new chief foreign policy advisor in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
So this isn’t about “aggressively promoting” Gen XY after all. Mr McCully isn’t a discriminatory employer. It must just be there are no women in their thirties and forties available for employment. Otherwise, I’m sure, with his fight against entrenched and conservative existing power structures, he’d be “aggressively promoting” Gen XX. Right?