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Can Equality be Achieved with a Male Dominated Supreme Court?

‘Male hegemony’ is not a phrase that is likely to come up at many family gatherings! It refers to the social, political and cultural dominance of men over women. In fairness, it is probably the biggest single issue that has allowed domestic violence to be tolerated and largely sidelined, if not totally ignored, until say the beginning of this century. This is exemplified by Lady Astor’s comment that in her father’s view, the reason why her first marriage failed was because she didn’t wait wearing a black negligee, with a martini in her hand, for her husband to come home!

It is therefore ironic that recently one female commentator has eloquently argued that for women to achieve equality, ‘men must be included in the conversation’. This is an interesting approach as, of course, it assumes that men will actually listen to the arguments and not dictate the terms of the conversation, solely by reference to their own values and needs. The omens are not good!

Since the appointment of the country’s most senior female judge in 2004, all 13 of the subsequent appointments to the Supreme Court have been men! This is hardly compelling evidence that there has been a growing and increasingly, mutually respectful dialogue between the sexes about power, equality and meritocracy. On any view, the situation is epitomised by the fact that more and more women in their fifties are making the running in a growing number of divorce cases. They no longer tolerate ‘good enough’ marriages where their views are not respected and properly debated or acted upon, much less not heard.

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