Archive for the ‘Equality’ Category

The same ticket but not the same

April 16, 2017

We were on the North East Corridor train heading out from Penn Station in New York to Metro Park in New Jersey to spend a few days with my brother Colin and his family.

On a commuter train to suburbia it’s hard not to observe the other passengers and wonder about their stories and their lives.

There was a guy sitting across from us, I’m guessing in his twenties dressed all in black with headphones on – every now and then he would sing along in Spanish. Many of the public signs here are in English and Spanish, which surprised me.

There was an African American guy, again in his twenties wearing a green hoodie and a baseball cap under that, also listening to his music.

An older guy sat alongside us wearing grey tracksuit bottoms and a grey top and an unusual pair of Crocs on his feet. He also had a crutch so this probably explained the footwear. He looked a little dishevelled so maybe he wasn’t having the best of days.

The ticket collector came around – he takes your ticket, then produces another ticket, punches a hole in this and then clips it behind you under a little metal clip. He does this for each of the people around us.

He comes to the guy next to us, the grey tracksuit guy, who takes his ticket from under his sock and produces it for inspection.

Tear it in half” the ticket officer tells him. The passenger looks confused.

Tear it in half” the ticket officer repeats, this time with a little more intent.

He looks confused and asks “Why?”

I’m not touching that, it’s been in your sock” he says.

The poor guy in the tracksuit never felt better I’m sure. His bad day, week, month, year or decade was confirmed in front of his fellow travellers and he quietly accepted this instruction and tore his ticket in half.

The ticket officer was able to go ahead with his job without having to touch the offensive ticket.

This was an unpleasant and unnecessary exchange between two strangers and at what cost?

Would it have been so hard just to take the piece of paper from this fellow human being and treat it like all those other pieces of paper, equally and with respect?

However, we are not equal.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Time to Prioritise Caring

December 30, 2016

Caring

As we roll into another year we inevitably start thinking about the things we have achieved and the things we want and wish for in the new year.

If I was to express my wishes for next year in one word I would choose the word “Caring“.

I’m not sure if it is just now that I feel there is a real deficit of caring in the world, if it is just what I am seeing and reading or whether it is a reflection of my age and if I am starting to think and observe things differently?

I am worried that there is not enough caring in the world and I feel that this year has plummeted with awful incidents in Nice, Berlin, Aleppo and some of the horribleness that we witnessed in the United States by the President Elect, Donald Trump in his campaign.

Lessons in how to win elections were absorbed by a new generation and “caring” isn’t quite the word that comes to mind when you reflect on what we saw being played out for months and months in the lead up to the awful result.

Closer to home our year ended in Ireland with the homeless coming together under the simple ‘Home Sweet Home‘ banner and they occupied an unused office building, Apollo House to put much needed roofs over heads and put a public spotlight on this big issue, which is getting worse and worse. The homeless need this as they can’t go on strike to get attention.

We heard the involvement of high profile Irish musicians including Glen Hansard and Hozier being sadly criticised by some in the media as being a stunt by them to raise their popularity!

What has happened with the way we think about things?

The courts moved in double quick time (they can when they want to) incredibly to process an injunction against the occupants.

The very sad “win” was that the homeless were allowed stay in the disused office building until January 11th – Merry Christmas!!

When living in a disused office block over Christmas is considered a win for those poor temporary residents we have arrived at a very poor state of affairs. Unfortunately this was a win for them – can you imagine?

My wish for the new year is that we start genuinely caring for each other, that we teach our children the importance of caring and let them witness it everyday, that we teach caring in our schools, that we make caring a priority in our workplaces, that caring becomes part of the values that companies live by and that we put caring for people in our communities, on our roads, in our cities and countries before any other criteria.

Let’s start caring.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all the readers of my blog posts – see you next year!!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Strategic Communications, Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Why a scheme just for female entrepreneurs?

May 26, 2016

Female entrepreneurship

A particular tender caught my attention today.

The organisation/body were looking for a provider:”to develop and implement a tailored work programme to address the skills, enterprise and capability gaps of rural nascent female entrepreneurs

Any scheme that encourages entrepreneurship is a great thing but specifically creating an initiative that only people who have certain “physical attributes” seems to be unfair and in my opinion reeks of inequality.

Is it even constitutional?

I don’t think it’s right – what do you think?

Encourage entrepreneurship in everyone!!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Macho politics and the need for femininity

April 8, 2016

Enda Kenny and Micheal Martin

If you mention gender quotas to me you will probably sense my temperature rise and start to notice the steam emerging from different parts of my body!

I want the best person to get the job but I do absolutely believe that we need to do everything to make sure this can be a woman or a man with no disadvantage to either.

However (this is huge coming from me!) watching the political standoff between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the independent candidates and the other parties as Ireland struggles to form a government reminds me of some of the key messages I heard recently at the Network Ireland, International Women’s Day event.

At the conference Gabrielle Motolla (a very impressive American photographer who lives in Iceland) spoke about the worldwide economic crash and a profound comment that was made at the time that “the banking systems lack of femininity caused many of the problems

It wasn’t that there were too many men involved but the point was there was too much “masculinity” in the mix – too much testosterone, too much macho stuff, too much bravado, too much risk taking, too much ultra competitiveness and too many egos recklessly driving the banking system off the cliff.

All of these characteristics can be demonstrated by men or women but they are typically masculine traits so a gender balance could provide some protection against the potentially dangerous excesses of these traits.

This point really impacted on me – I understood exactly what she was saying and I can see the danger myself of too much of any particular trait in an organisation.

I met a Canadian woman at the same conference who operates a large energy company in Canada and we spoke about this issue. She’s not in favour of quotas but she explained that in her business it would be virtually impossible to manage a team of all men and it would be just as difficult with a team of all women.

In her experience the guys are just too macho and the women are too passive and cautious – she reckons a balance works best and in her industry she reckoned 60/40 works best and this is what she strives for when assembling teams.

With our political impasse at the moment I notice that nearly all of the posturing, which is getting us nowhere is very masculine.

We desperately need to sort this out and get our country back on track – maybe we should introduce some femininity and get this process moving?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Gender equality and losing our cobblers!

March 30, 2016

Gender Inequality

A disturbing image appeared in my twitter feed – How is it that I am likely to live nearly five years less than my female equivalent …outrage!!

This blatant inequality is a total disgrace and why aren’t us boys kicking up a storm about this injustice?

Why is it happening, what do I have to do different to sort it out? – I’m guessing if the shoe was on the other foot there would be riots in the streets but us boys have been way too passive and just putting up with it!

I asked my buddy Mr. Google for some answers. He’s normally quite helpful with these things.

It took me to an article on Psychology Today written by Christopher Bergland entitled “Why do women live longer than men?

According to this article and related studies: Women live longer than men primarily because of modern lifestyle factors, rather than any biological difference. Statistically, women are less prone to heart disease and smoking related illnesses, which are the leading causes of death due to making healthier lifestyles choices.

Ok..In the world we live 4.5 years on average less than women but if I make healthier life choices I could beat these numbers and besides I don’t smoke. That doesn’t sound too bad!

I found another article on a BBC site with exactly the same title written by David Robson.

In this article he talks about: One early idea was that men work themselves into an early grave. Whether working in a mine or ploughing the land, they put extra stress on their bodies and amassed injuries that caught up with them later in life. Yet if that were the case, you might expect the gap to be closing, as both men and women converge on the same, sedentary jobs.

So gender equality might level the life scores as we will live longer and women will live shorter..hmm.

However changing lifestyles hasn’t changed the ‘life’ gap so this isn’t the answer.

In his article he does explore lifestyle choices, which he feels is a factor but he feels there is more than that: The fact is that female chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons also consistently outlive the males of the group, and you do not see apes – male or female – with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and beer glasses in their hands.

So it’s more than healthy lifestyle choices and work patterns?

In this article some other quite painful research might point towards an answer – imagine the following headline on the front page of your daily newspaper!

Eunuchs are 130 times more likely to reach 100, compared to other men 

The very thought of it makes me wince in pain and brings many tears to my eyes but apparently the answer to this ‘life’ gap question could be testosterone:

euneuch

Evidence comes from an unexpected place: the Imperial Court of the Chosun Dynasty in Korea. Korean scientist Han-Nam Park recently analysed the detailed records of court life from the 19th Century, including information about 81 eunuchs whose testicles had been removed before puberty.

His analyses revealed that the eunuchs lived for around 70 years – compared to an average of just 50 years among the other men in the court. Overall, they were 130 times more likely to celebrate their hundredth birthday than the average man living in Korea at the time. Even the kings – who were the most pampered people in the palace – did not come close.

The article explores other evidence about the presence of our ‘cobblers’: In sad cases of mental health patients, institutionalised in the USA in the early 20th Century. A few were forcibly castrated as part of their “treatment”. Like the Korean eunuchs, they too lived for longer than the average inmate – but only if they had been sterilised before the age of 15.

More pain and even more tears..

It goes on to say that the female body could have advantages due to the sex hormone oestrogen, which can protect the woman’s health leading to longer life.

His article is inconclusive about why exactly us boys are expected to be around for shorter:  Scientists admit that we need to keep on looking for a definitive answer.

I tend to agree!!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Promoting female entrepreneurs in rural areas

February 24, 2016

Wonder womenI was checking through my emails this minute and I was looking at the e-tender notifications about new projects etc.

One particular post caught my attention, which concerns me, which annoys me, which makes we worry that we are taking certain agendas to a stupid extreme.

Development programme targeted at female entrepreneurs in Irish rural areas

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland, intends issuing a public tender in 2016 for the provision (by one single service provider) of a national development programme targeted at nascent female entrepreneurs in Irish rural areas

Programmes that encourage entrepreneurship in rural areas is a fantastic idea.

Programmes that encourage entrepreneurship in any areas is a fantastic idea.

Programmes that promote female entrepreneurship specifically are wrong, silly, discriminatory and it strikes me that we are totally losing the run of ourselves with the gender equality agenda.

The fantastic women that I work with every day don’t need any special “pass”.

It’s about ‘equality’ folks, not the opposite.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Paternity leave, gender equality and the changing role of fathers

January 28, 2016

Greg Canty and Brendan Canty

I listened with interest at the discussions about the new proposals regarding paternity leave and I fondly remembered (not!) how it was when my kids were born.

It was August, 1991 and Ellen, our second child was due. It was a busy time in work at that time of the year with my role as Financial Controller as I had to get all budgeting finalised for the following year. We were part of Guinness so it was a complex process.

I knew that when Ellen was born I wanted a little free time to enjoy the moment(s) and to be there to look after my son, Brendan who was two and a half at the time. I worked day and night and weekends leading up to that time so that when she was born there would be no issue and I could take a few days off.

Ellen was overdue and a date was set for her to be induced. I informed my boss,  Charlie of the date and he wasn’t very pleased as he was planning a management meeting on that date!

What could I do?

The hospital had a gap in their scheduling and Ellen was induced a day earlier ….my beautiful daughter arrived on the 21st August!!

My childminding role kicked in for the next few days. Two days later I popped into the office to check a few things and I was stupidly expecting a round of “congratulations” from all of my workmates.

Instead I got a serious look from the Sales Manager..”You’re in trouble“. I was dumbfounded at what I heard.

What the hell could I be in trouble for and by the way it was a girl!!” I responded.

It turns out that because Ellen was born a day earlier everyone reckoned I could and should have made the “crucial” management meeting. I grabbed Brendan and we left.

A day or two later I was back in work and was summoned to Charlie’s office ..I don’t think I even gave him a chance to open his mouth.

He got it full belt “I always put this stupid place first and this time you can well and truly f**k yourself as it is one time I am putting my family first” and stormed out. I don’t think we ever spoke about the incident again.

Two years ago in Fuzion we had our first ‘baby‘!

A few months before that one of our team announced that she was pregnant. While it was fantastic news for her and her husband, it did cause an issue for the business. She was a senior member of the team and now we had to plan about replacing her with a quality replacement.

She would be out for 6 months and she also planned on taking the extra two months. I also learnt that while she would be out she was entitled to holidays and bank holidays, so effectively she would be out for 9 months. This would be disruptive to the business as well as costing us – it was the most expensive baby I ever had!

This is life and our business had to make arrangements and cope but it did strike me that this ‘issue‘ was one that we had to solve with her. Where was the guy in this equation? Was his work disrupted or would it carry a cost for them?

Maybe she was more than happy to put her career on hold for a while and take off that precious time with her new baby but maybe she might have liked to share this gift with her husband? No one had a choice.

I imagined a different world where her husband announced to his boss that “they” were pregnant and that he was opting to take half of the parental leave. This is how it works in Denmark so it isn’t such a stretch.

I’m a dad and I’m a parent and I would have loved to have those precious days when Ellen was born back again to enjoy…maybe more than a few days?

If we are serious about the guys role as a parent and we are really serious about gender equality then us fellas need to be treated as equals.

Two weeks paternity leave..nah!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Gender Quotas or real change?

November 17, 2014

Working mother with child on couch

It drives me nuts whenever I hear it mentioned ..

New legislation in Ireland means political parties are required to ensure at least 30 per cent of their candidates in the 2016 General Election are women; any party that fails to reach the target will have its State funding cut by 50 per cent. 

Parties will also be required to have 40 per cent or more female candidates after a further seven years.

My first thought is how is this ‘rigging’ possible in a modern society where we all enjoy equal opportunities and there are no real ‘blocks’ to men or women achieving what they want?

We hear about the ‘old boy’s club‘ in politics – when you probe this it is more about dynasties of political power that will keep me on the outside just as it would any woman that I know. However if I want to run I can just the same as any woman can.

The solution to the “problem” of the numerical gender imbalance is to ‘rig’ the situation by forcing female candidates in and male candidates out until the magic numbers are achieved.

Are you there on merit?  In a rigged situation you will just never know, which for me will do a huge disservice to every woman in politics.

And then we have the boardroom..

The European Commission pushed a proposal forward in November 2012. At its heart lies a requirement for 40% female representation among non-executive directors in publicly listed companies by 2020. 

Once again the solution to the “problem” of the numerical gender imbalance is to ‘rig’ the situation by forcing females in and males out until the magic numbers are achieved.

Are you there on merit?  Again, a huge disservice to every woman in business.

Are we really serious about gender equality?

I believe if we really want to achieve this gender equality then we need to radically alter our social structures and change how we look at the roles of men and women in society.

This starts with the issue of parenthood, which seems to be the key moment that derails careers for many women.

If we are equal there must be no difference between a man and a woman when little Johnny has a fever. It must be as normal for the father to run home to look after him as it is for the mother.

If we are equal there must be no difference between a man and a woman when it comes to leave after a baby is born (other than the natural time a woman needs for physically preparing and recovering from birth).

When an employee announces they are having a baby the scenario and the disruption to the careers of the person and to the workplace should within reason be the same for both the man and the woman.

Father with baby

If this happens employers will be less concerned about disruption due to maternity leave with female team members, which is always a huge challenge for both the woman and the employer with the men blissfully pushing on with their careers uninterrupted.

For example Denmark make some attempt at equality here. Parental leave is a whopping 52 weeks in total with the woman taking 18 weeks, the man 2 weeks and both sharing the remaining 32 weeks as they wish.

Can you imagine a man announcing to his boss that “we are having a baby so I will be taking 6 months paternity leave as my wife has chosen to get back to work as soon as possible“? ….congratulations!

The Huffington Post covered this topic recently: In the Nordic countries they have made it possible for parents to combine work and family, resulting in more women in the workplace, more shared participation in childcare, more equitable distribution of labour at home, better work-life balance for both women and men and, in some cases, a boost to waning fertility rates.

Policies in these countries include mandatory paternal leave in combination with maternity leave, generous, state-mandated parental leave benefits provided by a combination of social insurance funds and employers, tax incentives and post-maternity re-entry programmes. Together, these policies have lowered the opportunity costs of having children and led to relatively higher and rising birth rates, as compared to other ageing, developed economies.

As long as having a baby can disrupt the career and workplace of the woman and have virtually no effect on the man and as long as the woman is always seen as the main child carer then we will always struggle to achieve true equality.

If we are really serious about gender equality we need to fundamentally change how our society operates and forget about unfair, risky and potentially damaging  ‘rigging’ tactics when the dye has already been cast and it is just too late. 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

 

What is it about Cork and Dublin rivalry?

October 21, 2014

welcome to cork

Recently I was at the inspiring IGNITE UCC graduate innovation programme launch event whereby this years participants were introduced to the attendees.

One after the other. each of the enthusiastic new entrepreneurs stood up and very quickly pitched their business idea to the audience.

Hi, my name is Greg and I am developing an APP that records receipts for valuable things you purchase just in case they need to be returned at a later date” (not a bad idea..huh!! )

The simple routine was, ‘My name is ..and my idea is..‘.

We heard one good idea after another and then it came to Eileen Weadick’s turn.

Hi, my name is Eileen Weadick, I’m from Dublin and I hope you don’t hold that against me!” She went on to tell us about her company, eXtensicon that offers a technical content service for companies mainly in the Information Communications Technology sector.

Eileen was one of the only people to mention where she was from.

I chatted to her after and asked her why she felt she had to mention where she was from in such a way – no one else did. Even though she has been living in Cape Clear for years she explained to me that she still gets stick from some people for being a ‘Dub‘ or a ‘Jackeen‘.

Often it is harmless but sometimes there is a little bit of an edge to it she further explained.

While it seems odd and makes no sense that anyone would feel negatively disposed towards her there is a clear and real ‘truth‘ in what she was saying.

In Cork being very honest we do have an issue with the ‘Dubs‘ and the normal, friendly welcome that we are well known and much loved for, can be put firmly to one side if we hear the wrong accent.

What is that all about?

Do we think they feel superior to us and do we feel inferior to them?

Do we feel they get the breaks that we never get?

Do we feel they think we are all from the ‘country‘?

Is it so engrained in our history that these feelings are automatically passed down to us?

Maybe we feel they might know more then we do and it is our automatic defence mechanism?

I spoke to a guy from Dublin last week about the whole Cork/Dublin dynamic and he said he spent three years trying to ‘crack’ Cork but he never succeeded – he reckoned being from Dublin was the reason for his lack of success.

When we worked on the Cork Marketing project we found there was no reason to compete with Dublin – we are a modern European city with plenty to offer in our own right. If truth be told and we were to compare we have the distinct advantage of having a more relaxed and better quality of life.

When I worked with Guinness in Dublin I was surprised how enjoyable the whole experience was and how the anti-Cork feeling that I was expecting before I joined never, ever materialised.

We work a few days a week in Dublin and I do find myself stressing to anyone we meet that we have a real office there and often I wonder if my Cork accent is a disadvantage to doing business.

Based on my experience I genuinely don’t feel there is a similar prejudice against Corkonians but they do want to know that you are physically there and that you are up to the job in a larger market. Once you convince them of that you get business on merit.

While local knowledge is valuable and priceless, so too is a fresh perspective.

Why not enjoy both equally and have the best of both worlds?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion who have two Dubs working for us in Cork!

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

Nature, Nurture and all things Equal

February 9, 2014

Men's 100m final Usain Bolt

All of the finalists in every men’s Olympic 100 meters from 1984 onwards have been black. Not only that but all have had their family origins  in sub-Saharan West Africa, whose inhabitants are genetically programmed to run fast.

Speed over short distances comes from fast-twitch muscle fibres, which contract twice as fast as slow-twitch. Calf muscles of elite sprinters have 75% fast-twitch. Half milers have 50-50 fast, while long distance runners mostly slow. Although slower they can endure longer, which might explain why Jamaica produces elite sprinters such as Usain Bolt but no long distance stars.

The fastest Jamaican 10,000 meter runner would not have qualified for the London Olympics.

The Sports Gene David EpsteinI was fascinated by the subject matter in the review of a book by David Epstein called “The Sports Gene” in a magazine called Oldies, on our way to Munich. (Oldies !! I know what you are thinking – what was Greg doing reading that? It just looked like the most interesting magazine on the shelf at the airport newsagent. Some fabulous articles in it.)

One of the central themes in the book was: Are we purely a product of our genes or can we shape our destiny by dedication and hard work?

This is a difficult topic as it forces you into areas such as race, genetics, gender in our politically correct world.

There are definite conclusions in the well researched book such as  “sporting prowess is in fact, usually down to your genes plus plenty of practice“.

Michael Shermer in his review of the book in the Wall Street Journal commented  “it was bound to put the cat among the pigeons with the blank-slate crowd who think we can all be equal as long as we equalise environmental inputs such as practice“.

There are things that some people due to race, gender or genetics are just better at and instead of fighting this we should understand it, appreciate it and even embrace it.

Whether it is sport, work or life instead of arguing and getting all riled up about the imbalanced percentages we should try better to understand why this is the case and explore if it is nature causing the differences and nothing else.

The most important thing for me is that if I want to run the 100 metres, become a ballet dance, operate a crane, play the drums, become a nurse, become a politician, or start a new business I can.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin