First and foremost: I am probably the wrong bloke to be writing about feminism. In many ways, I’m very stereotypical in my male-ness. The way men are accused of talking over women – yeah, I do that with alarming regularity. I may distinguish myself from other men by kicking myself about it later, but so far I haven’t improved on the behaviour.

I talk the talk however about the radical notion that women are people and oh my gracious, have we still not evolved beyond notions of the glass ceiling? No, we really haven’t. I recently read a blog entry (and I really need to improve my bookmarking of these things if I’m going to cite them myself) about the number of females achieving CEO status in US corporations. Yes, that number has grown in recent years, and so has the number of female CEOs booted for not being able to turn the messes of their predecessors around on a dime.

Bloomberg’s article on the recent study is here:
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-04-29/why-women-ceos-get-fired-more-often

Oddly, the money quote isn’t “To be exact: Over the past 10 years, 38 percent of female chief executives of the world’s 2,500 biggest public companies were fired, compared to 27 percent of their male counterparts.”

The meat of the issue is that women and minorities are hired into senior positions when corporations are in crisis. If turnaround isn’t swift, the boot is, and these crisis hires are generally replaced by white males. Again.

It’s heartening occasionally to note that there are more female prime ministers than there ever have been, but discrimination is still rampant and we still have BS like the current NFL scandal (which Rachel Maddow is covering quite well). There was a bloke on Friday’s show who laid it out. Commissioner Goodell makes something like $44 million per year to keep the scandals at bay and keep the NFL the multi-billion dollar franchise it’s become. There have been three or four domestic abuse cases to come out of the NFL in the last week or so, which of course begs the question: how many have been effectively shoved under the carpet in the last ten years? When this kind of thing goes public in other realms, policies go into place right quick to show that the company in question is serious about addressing the problem. The first thing that came to my mind on hearing about these NFL cases was: why isn’t there an abuse clause in all player’s contracts? Accused of domestic abuse? Benched for an entire season. At least. Convicted? Out. The Ray Rice case is such that a conviction isn’t really necessary: He’s never denied he’s the man on the video. Is it really something we can stand to see or hear equivocated?

Goodell’s lies about when he and the league knew about the tape were almost enough to make me lose my lunch this afternoon.

Jena MacGregor who blogs for the Washington Post argues (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2014/09/19/indra-nooyi-the-nfl-and-the-responsibility-of-female-ceos/) that the female CEOs of Pepsi, GM, and Campbell’s Soup would show great leadership in speaking out, but contrary to the demands of some leaders, they don’t have “a special responsibility” to do so. MacGregor doesn’t name the people calling for female CEOs to speak out, but points to (another) Bloomberg article (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-17/nfl-sponsors-staying-mum-on-abuse-crosses-ceo-gender-line.html), which names two: Donna Lopiano, the former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation and Pat Cook, president of Cook & Co., a boutique executive search firm in Bronxville, New York.

I suppose I agree that female CEOs have no special responsibility to speak out, but stakeholders in general – all CEOs who sponsor the NFL, for example, should stop covering their asses and look only to the moral high ground. Tracy Chapman once sang “all that you have is your soul” – well, I’m an atheist. If you believe in your soul, support its well-being by telling the NFL that your $100 million in sponsorship money might be better spent elsewhere. Or simply be honourable and do the same.

Mind you, the boards of Campbells, GM, and PepsiCo will gladly show the CEOs MacGregor cites the door as soon as such a decision is shown to affect the holy bottom line. Such are the times we live in.