The BBC just can’t help itself. Impervious to the criticism that Evan Davis’s non-interview with the verbally incontinent Russell Brand drew from all quarters, this morning brought forth another example of the BBC’s trademark grovelling – when it comes to matters PC that is.
This time it was feminism’s turn to win the BBC’s special attention award – the one shared between the proponents of those well established anti-capitalist causes: climate change alarmism and anti-politics agendas.
Just case any of us reading the saner national newspapers were lucky enough to have missed the latest complaints of the equality fascists, no worries, the BBC was waiting to oblige and to earn some Brownie points to boot, with a feminist finale to its Today programme.
They’d been busy, John Humphrys told us, on the case of that impenetrable old canard, oops sorry, the glass ceiling. Yes, he intoned, the world disgracefully is still run by men. But never fear, for last year the BBC addressed this problem on a global scale no less. It had identified 100 women from around the planet who have been working hard with their hammers to shatter it.
At its second annual 100 Women event, the BBC had named another set of wonder women (sorry, emerging opinion-formers) who had made ‘a significant contribution to advancing the status of women’.
Anyway, on account of this noble exercise, which conveniently chimed with the shocking findings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (yes you heard me – Global Gender Gap Report) Today gave over its last ten minutes to the results of this survey, to the continuing iniquities of the gender gap and to the cure-all solutions of childcare and sex education.
It was down to the poor septuagenarian Humphrys to show how terribly modern he remains – and to discuss all this with three of the said female elect.
If you imagined for one minute that their focus of concern might be the very real plight of women in Iraq, Syria or the brutal Islamic State, forget it. Not even the posturing ‘Save our Girls’ from Boko Haram hash tag campaign. Never mind these poor creatures are still the sex slaves of marauding Islamic thugs.
Over an unconscionable ten minutes, the listener was subjected to the upside down world of global gender gap rankings of Saadia Zahidi, a Senior Director of the World Economic Forum, and to the little girl voice of Laura Bates, the very important ‘Founder’ of that so very important Everyday Sexism Project. (The very same woman who blithely asserts that ‘over two women a week are killed by partners or ex-partners in the UK,’ although ONS data report only 75 women were so killed in the last year, making the ‘Laura Land’ year have only 36 weeks).
Such exaggeration apart, neither of these women reflected on their good fortune, as women, living in advanced Western democracies based on the rule of law. An alien woman arriving from Mars could have been forgiven for believing that the UK was as culpable of gender crimes as ISIL.
To anyone else, it sounded like a cruel parody of reality.
In all seriousness, Ms Zahidi lectured, globally we are still 90 years away from closing the gender gap. In Britain, young Laura added, wheeling out another old canard – the gender pay gap has shamefully widened. What’s more, it has sent us plummeting down the world rankings, from 9th to an embarrassing 26th, according to the WEF ’s mind-boggling new analysis.
And while Britain has tumbled, that global example of humanity, compassion, freedom and equality – good old Saudi Arabia – has flown to the top, exhibiting the fastest pace of change
How can all this be? queried poor old John, slightly confused and clearly terrified of slipping out an unguarded comment or sexist remark.
Well, it’s all very clear, Ms Zahidi explained. If you take health and education standards for a particular country (never mind how awful they might be objectively ) if there is no gender gap, then the country rates fine, according to the WEF. In fact, up the rankings it zooms.
Never mind that the average age of death in some fly-blown dump might be 34, that’s OK provided it’s 34 for both sexes.
That, I assumed, could be the only possible explanation for her absurd contention that health and education inequality has miraculously been resolved in third world countries and therefore does not account for, or contribute to, the gender gap.
No, the only gender gap the WEF is worrying about regards work and politics – never mind health or education. Establish work parity across the world and hey presto all economic problems will be solved.
Not a challenge, not a question, not a hint of scepticism issued from John Humphrys’s lips.
He invited Laura to hold forth on sexism and discrimination in Britain. What a dreadful place she was describing, that Martian alien lady would have been inclined to think, with 85,000 rapes and 400,000 sexual assaults every year.
Now that wonderful Saudi Arabia, the home of civilised and enlightened progress, must be a far preferable destination for the discerning space traveller.