What do people think of positive discrimination?
I have the same objections to ANY form of positive discrimination because of gender, religion, sexual orientation (why there have to be any gay orchestras or choirs is beyond me!) or other possible 'ghettoisation' the 'PC' brigade might decide to inflict on people.
I was once asked in a professional capacity why there weren't more works by women composers played at the Proms (the world's largest music festival, promoted by the BBC and held over two months every summer in London (http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2010/)). My initial answer was very simple: "Because there are a lot fewer women composers than men - especially if one looks back in history." The answer came back "But don't you think we should be setting-aside a percentage of performance time in concerts for women composers?" My reply: "Even if that percentage is completely misrepresentational? Even if the music isn't very good in some cases? Isn't that a but patronising? Where do we stop? Should we have quotas for gay composers? For Jewish ones? For Muslim ones? For disabled composers as well?" "Of course not", they said "Then why do women need special help just because they are female? Femininity is neither an illness nor a disability, is it?"
My very non-PC answer (regulars here will know I have no truck whatsoever with 'PC') rendered my colleague into bemused silence.
I know that in many walks of life and in some professions, men are still dominant. Sometimes this is because of the perpetuation of discrimination. Sometimes it is simply because a job/task might be unsuitable for most women (let's not kid ourselves - men and women ARE different - that's why the human species is still here).
In music, there is very little discrimination. Outside the world of conducting (where I admit women still have to prove them selves to some), women are doing very well in music and surely need no patronising effotrs at all.
So why do we need special pockets of money put aside for women? I would, of course, be particularly interested to get the view of women contributors here.
And, of course, separation in sport is essential ("let's not kid ourselves - men and women ARE different").
I'd still like to see more female perspectives on this.