Wendy McElroy on equality of access and equality of outcomes

Wendy McElroy argues in this excellent piece that equality of access is what all anti-discrimination programs should be about, and not about equality of outcomes. She argues that if the barriers to running for public office are the same for men and women, then there is no discrimination against women, even though in such an election, far fewer women may be elected to public office.

She gives an example of how, under the guidance of the International Women’s Rights Action Watch, the UN Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women was implemented in Kosovo, so as to insist that every third candidate running for office was a woman. The Convention justifies this by arguing that to achieve similar outcomes (notice that this is no longer about access) men and women can be treated differently (which now becomes an euphemism for discriminating against men).

To steal a line from her article:

But, as the notoriously corrupt 19th century politician, Boss Tweed once declared, “I don’t care who does the electing just so long as I do the nominating.”

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