‘Human beings have a demonstrated talent for self-deception when their emotions are stirred.’ – Carl Sagan
The Minister for Universities has made a statement today, based on social trends data, and a book he has written, about how feminism’s achievements in furthering women’s career advancement has had a detrimental effect on the opportunities and success of men from working class and socially deprived backgrounds.
‘The Government’s social mobility strategy, which will conclude that movement between the classes had “stagnated” over the past 40 years, will be published next week and Mr Willetts blamed the entry of women into the workplace and universities for the lack of progress for men.
“Feminism trumped egalitarianism,” he said, adding that women who would otherwise have been housewives had taken university places and well-paid jobs that could have gone to ambitious working-class men.
The minister set out his views during a briefing with journalists on the social mobility strategy, which will include a plan to test the population at seven ages, from birth until the age of 30, to measure whether life chances were improving for children from different backgrounds.
Figures to be published are expected to paint a grim picture of the prospects for advancement for children from the poorest backgrounds dating back to the 1960s. Asked what was to blame for the lack of social mobility, Mr Willetts said: “The feminist revolution in its first round effects was probably the key factor. Feminism trumped egalitarianism. It is not that I am against feminism, it’s just that is probably the single biggest factor.”
“One of the things that happened over that period was that the entirely admirable transformation of opportunities for women meant that with a lot of the expansion of education in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the first beneficiaries were the daughters of middle-class families who had previously been excluded from educational opportunities,” he said’.
Feminists and liberals are up in arms of course. Look at this exchange between me and Gary Younge, the journalist as an example of how they see Willets’ position as obviously ‘against reason’ and common sense:
But I think it is the feminists and liberals who are not thinking clearly here. I think Willets has made some interesting points. I feel their reactions to his article are emotional rather than intellectual. Take Josie Long, the comedian, for example, and her reaction on twitter, which has received over 100 precious ‘Retweets’…
Sometimes when I argue with the ‘common sense’ positions of feminism for example, I feel like I am going insane. And people who argue with me are keen to present me as such. But I am clinging onto a belief in questioning, and thinking about things and keeping my mind open to all possibilities. For if I don’t there lies true madness. I would like to read a more full account of Willetts’ standpoint. But so far, he seems to be making some sense.
And somebody agrees with me. Here is an FT journalist, referencing research by a professor of education and economics at LSE (Anna Vignoles):
And here is the paper which informed the position of Willetts with regards to class, gender and educational/economic attainment:
Thankfully, the marvellous Heresy Corner has blogged about this. And with more insight than me:
And as if I didn’t need any more evidence to back up my point, here is a handy venn diagram, drawn by a feminist and shared via twitter. As you can see there are two sets, ‘people who’s world view is founded on ignorance and bigotry’ which is a sub-set of ‘anti-feminists’. But the two sets are very nearly identical, suggesting that *almost* all ‘anti-feminists’ are ‘people who’s (I think she means whose) world view is founded on ignorance and bigotry’. Clever isn’t it? There’s *almost* no room for any position other than a feminist one to be given any credence whatsoever. Oh.