California is moving towards requiring her publicly traded companies to enforce gender quotas on their boards. I am against quotas in general and find that, as with most social manipulation, the results are rarely those that are promised by their promoters. While I think there is every chance that this legislation will move forward, I worry that the biggest outcome will be more California businesses relocating to Texas. Unfortunately, the relocated management will then probably retain its destructive voting habits and continue to support the types of politicians and policies that made California uninhabitable. However, despite my usual wariness of quotas, and my concern that Elizabeth Warren is pushing for this on a national level, I am wondering whether my own family needs to use strong-arm techniques to get more equitable representation on our family What’s App chat.
My mind is thinking back to an incident that occurred a few months ago. It was a regular work day. Actually, it was more pressured than usual given that a number of us had extra activities over the coming week. Yet, our family What’s App group was active, as it almost always is. Considering that there are many of us, including children who at that time lived in Israel and a son who frequently works the night shift, What’s App is a great way for my husband and me and all our children and their spouses to stay in touch. Some of us monitor it almost all the time while others resolutely only check in at day’s end. The problem is that more than one son-in-law—and we know who you are—thinks that we are way too chatty. Showing a complete lack of appreciation for the fine wit and sophisticated banter on the group, a few of the boys have unsubscribed. With six sons-in-law and only one daughter-in-law, that makes our chat weigh heavily to the feminine.
There we were on that day, with more than enough on our plates, when one culprit posted a clever logic puzzle. By the time I saw it, there were thirteen—THIRTEEN!—replies parsing the problem and building on each other’s comments to move towards the solution. All the responses were from the male side of the family, although two females interjected comments along the lines of, “Doesn’t anyone other than me work?” and “You have way too much time on your hands.”
For a moment, I cheered the hardworking, distaff side. Then I realized that had a cute niece/nephew/grandchild video been posted, we would have been just as easily distracted. (Though experience has shown that the men would jump into that exchange as well.) A request for a recipe would get an equally strong feminine response no matter how busy a day the women in the family were having.
The strange thing is that many of the females in our family, including me, enjoy logic problems. We just don’t find them intriguing enough to distract us from priorities. We do them for relaxation, but have no problem putting them aside. For the men, it seems that not solving the problem was the equivalent of having one’s masculinity challenged. This wasn’t an amusing lark; it was a test of virility.
The logic puzzle was resolved and everyone went back to work. Yet, in the intervening months no more problems of that sort have been posted. Considering the male/female ratio of the participants in the chat, that isn’t surprising. Things would change if we could force more sons-in-law to be involved. So, I am keeping a close eye on California because nothing screams fairness and progress like coercion.