It would be remiss of me as the criminology student blogger not to briefly discuss the developing MPs sex abuse scandal. To put into perspective how big this scandal is threatening to become, the impossible has happened…this is a political issue gaining more coverage than Brexit!
In case anybody has not been following the mainstream news, here are some links to stories about the scandal:
I’ve heard and read a lot of very logical points concerning this issue. Some of them are as followed:
- These stories are not primarily about sex but about power.
- Men are also victims of sexual harassment, including at the hands of women.
- If people believe laws have been broken, they must report things to the police as the police are solely responsible for reporting criminal offences.
- The UK, as with most civilised democracies believes in the presumption of innocence. Just because an allegation is made does not mean that an allegation is true.
- Men have a responsibility to help educate fellow men about what is and is not acceptable.
In academia, we are in an interesting environment in which to overlook this scandal. By that I mean that the majority of students at most (though not all) UK universities are female. In contrast, the majority of senior academics are male, although the gap is closing.
My main point for your consideration concerns diversity. Of course the biggest change needs to be in educating people to change their behaviour. But I believe that one main reason for historic sexual harassment/inappropriate behaviour is based on pre-historic attitudes as men being the superior sex, the breadwinner, the sex that gets the most senior jobs. Such attitudes, you may think, belong to a previous era. But the diversity of workforces still presents a major problem.
- In 2014, only 27% of police officers were women, including very few top ranking officers.
- In the 2017 general election, only 208 out of 650 elected MPs were women, despite this figure being higher than previous elections.
- Only 30% of judges in the UK are women.
Those are only three examples. There are dozens, if not hundreds of others.
Just to be clear, I am NOT saying that any of the above statistics are as a result of discrimination or bias. That is a debate for another time. Nor am I saying that this lack of a diversity is any excuse for criminal behaviour, because there is no excuse. But I am saying that one factor that is likely to help bring about a huge shift in attitudes and change of culture that is so desperately needed is if more women are promoted to senior positions.