Debunking the Myth of a Mythical Gender Pay Gap

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In this April 30, 2012 file photo, Lilly Ledbetter speaks in Concord, NH. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

In this April 30, 2012 file photo, Lilly Ledbetter speaks in Concord, NH. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

Every year on Equal Pay Day, while some Americans lament the fact that in 2014 women still earn around 20 percent less than men, others perform intellectual gymnastics to deny that a gender pay gap exists, or to blame women themselves — and the “choices” they make — for its persistence.

Today, Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs, two scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, got the assignment for The Wall Street Journal. After acknowledging that, yes, women working full-time earn about one-fifth less than what men take home, they write, “but every ‘full-time’ worker… is not the same.”

Men were almost twice as likely as women to work more than 40 hours a week, and women almost twice as likely to work only 35 to 39 hours per week. Once that is taken into consideration, the pay gap begins to shrink. Women who worked a 40-hour week earned 88% of male earnings.

Then there is the issue of marriage and children. The BLS (US Bureau of Labor) reports that single women who have never married earned 96% of men’s earnings in 2012.

The supposed pay gap appears when marriage and children enter the picture. Child care takes mothers out of the labor market, so when they return they have less work experience than similarly-aged males.

Let us first note that explaining why a phenomenon exists is not the same as demonstrating that it doesn’t exist. It’s not a “supposed pay gap” just because women pay an economic price for having kids.

Its here that the AEI fellows readily acknowledge a huge factor in the gender-gap: the biological reality is that women give birth, and the social reality is that women still bear a disproportionate share of the burden of caring for sick kids or elderly parents. When they take time off to do those things, they lose seniority and often end up looking for a new job after a period of time outside the labor force — neither of which is good for your paycheck.

In 2001, Karen Kornbluh estimated that women’s earnings drop by 7.5 percent with a first child and 8 percent with a second. It also explains why the wage-gap starts out small when men and women first hit the labor market and then grows significantly when they start having families.

So our economy punishes women for the biological reality that they bear children. The AEI guys are apparently fine with that — and want you to believe that it somehow renders the pay gap a “myth” — but it’s important to understand that it doesn’t need to be this way. The US is one of only three countries — along with Liberia and Papua New Guinea — that doesn’t require employers to offer maternity (or paternity) leave. When American women have a baby, their jobs often aren’t waiting for them to return; in most other developed countries, they are. This is a big reason why only four high-income countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have larger gender pay gaps than the US.

Perry and Biggs go on to argue that women are paid less because they choose to pursue degrees that result in lower earnings and work in fields that pay less than those dominated by men.

There are two problems with that. First, as Bryce Covert pointed out in The Nation, men performing what have traditionally been seen as “women’s jobs” make more than women do, just as women make less than men for doing traditional “men’s work.”

Among the BLS’s thirteen industry categories, women make less than men in every single one. What this means is that even in “women’s fields,” men are going to rake in more. In fact, men have been entering traditionally female-dominated sectors during the recovery period, and as The New York Times noted, they’re meeting with great success—“men earn more than women even in female-dominated jobs.” Women can enter engineering all they want, but their pay still won’t catch up to men’s.

There’s also a chicken-and-egg issue here: do jobs seen as “women’s work” pay less because they’re inherently less valuable to society, or do they pay less because they’re dominated by women?

The gender pay gap is very real, and there are complex reasons for its stubborn persistence. But even accounting for all the differences in childrearing, career choices and education doesn’t explain away the entire difference in earnings. While it’s no longer socially acceptable, old-fashioned, Mad Men-style sexism is still around, and it still hits women in the wallet. Perry and Biggs use a paper — one often cited by conservatives — by two of their AEI colleagues to dismiss this reality, writing that when all other factors are accounted for, “labor market discrimination is unlikely to account for more than 5% [of the gap] but may not be present at all.”

That finding, however, is an outlier. As Pamela Coukos, a senior program advisor at the Department of Labor, wrote in 2012, “studies consistently conclude that discrimination is the best explanation of the remaining difference in pay.”

Economists generally attribute about 40% of the pay gap to discrimination – making about 60% explained by differences between workers or their jobs. However, even the “explained” differences between men and women might be more complicated. For example: If high school girls are discouraged from taking the math and science classes that lead to high-paying STEM jobs, shouldn’t we in some way count that as a lost equal earnings opportunity? As one commentator put it recently, “I don’t think that simply saying we have 9 cents of discrimination and then 14 cents of life choices is very satisfying.” In other words, no matter how you slice the data, pay discrimination is a real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.

Unfortunately, the “fact-checking” organizations, as they so often do, are seizing on statements that women earn less “for the same work” to conclude that the gender pay-gap is an “exaggeration.” Of the claim, made by Obama in a campaign ad, FactCheck.org states flatly that it’s “not true.” (They also say that he “implied” that “discrimination by employers is responsible for the difference,” but there’s nothing in the ad implying anything of the sort — they just inferred it.)

Their fact-check is “mostly false” — women working the exact same jobs are paid less than their male counterparts every day, for various and often complicated reasons, and those claiming it’s all a myth offer nothing to dispute that reality.

Joshua Holland is a senior digital producer for BillMoyers.com. He’s the author of The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy (and Everything Else the Right Doesn’t Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America) (Wiley: 2010), and host of Politics and Reality Radio. Follow him on Twitter or drop him an email at hollandj [at] moyersmedia [dot] com.
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  • Sum1

    Haven’t seen how Holland debunks Perry & Biggs’ arguments. They are not arguing that there is no pay gap, but rather that the pay gap isn’t a result of gender discrimination, as we are often told, but it is due to other factors – legitimate factors that are largely a matter of choice. Only a very small percentage of the gender gap can be attributed to gender discrimination.

    They essentially argue that focusing on the fact that in the aggregate women earn 77% of what men earn is highly misleading, since that isn’t comparing apples to apples. Men work longer hours per week, in far more dangerous jobs (in fact, the most dangerous jobs are almost exclusively male), they generally have more experience in their particular field, they travel longer distances to their jobs, they take fewer sick days (and yes, they rarely take paternity leave), they work under harsher and more stressful conditions, in less desirable jobs, in jobs that offer less job security, they pose less of a threat of lawsuits, they tend to take greater risks, and so on. All these are legitimate factors that have nothing to do with gender discrimination.

    For starters, even without looking at the various studies on the matter, there is one question that Holland needs to address: If it’s true that women are a form of cheap labor, why would businesses hire men? If by hiring women they can get the exact same job done by paying 77% of what they pay men, why would they hire men? By employing women instead of men, they could instantly reduce their labor costs by 23%. And aren’t companies all worried about their bottom line? The fact that we don’t see any mass movement to hire this “cheap labor”, tells us that Holland, and all those who perpetuate this “77% myth”, are hugely mistaken. Companies aren’t hiring only women because they aren’t a form of cheap labor.

    The fact that many “women’s jobs” aren’t highly paying isn’t because “they’re dominated by women”, as Holland asks, but because they are highly desired (by women, mostly), so the law of supply-and-demand kicks in, and leads to lower pay. The more a job is desired, the more applicants per job, the less it pays.

    Holland suggests that maternity leave contributes to the shrinking of the gap, but the graphs he links to don’t show that at all. There many possible reasons to explain why European countries have a lower pay gap than the US – for example, the fact that they tend to have very small families, far smaller than in the US, and that frees women, who generally tend to stay with their kids, to pursue their careers.

    Holland also does not address the fact that in a variety of professions women earn MORE than men. If the American society is so infected with gender discrimination, why do we find professions in which women earn more?

  • Anonymous

    I thought that argument was too weak to require rebuttal. First, because it’s premised on the idea that most of the gap is a result of conscious, thought-out and overt gender discrimination, and second because it assumes that businesses always act rationally — the AEI guys said “logically” — which is transparent nonsense informed by their “pro-business” ideology rather than real-world experience.

  • Sum1

    I’m not sure I understand your reply. How is the argument I described “premised on the idea that most of the gap is a result of conscious, thought-out and overt gender discrimination”? The argument is that there isn’t much gender discrimination at all, conscious or not, and that the notion that the pay gap is a result of gender discrimination is based on a deeply flawed analysis that does not take into account many facts. It’s not based on the premise you stated.

    As for your second point, I guess you’re responding to the fact that businesses aren’t hiring women exclusively. I don’t see how your response addresses that. Are you claiming that businesses are so deeply discriminatory that they behave in a completely irrational manner and are willing to forego a 23% reduction in labor cost, just to keep the good ol’ boys club? Is that your claim? If so, do you have any evidence that businesses behave in that manner? It seems to me highly implausible that businesses will behave in a manner that is so contrary to their best interests just to keep their “boys club” intact, and the fact that the gender gap exists in companies run by women, belies that argument as well.

    In sum, you have yet to debunk the “myth” of the myth of the gender gap.

  • Anonymous

    I dealt with the claim that “there isn’t much discrimination at all” in the piece and don’t see much value in restating it in the comments. I was just responding to the rather silly argument that the fact that businesses don’t adopt overtly discriminatory hiring practices against men disproves the gender gap. Again, it would be blatantly illegal to do so, and of course men are disproportionately represented at the management level.

    In sum, you have yet to debunk the “myth” of the myth of the gender gap.

    Other than an outlier study commissioned by a think-tank that opposes fair pay legislation, I haven’t actually heard an argument that the gender pay gap is in fact a myth, As I said on Twitter the other day, “basically, people write posts explaining some (but not all) of the reasons for the gender pay gap and then think they’ve debunked it.”

  • Anonymous

    Mental gymnastics? I’m so tired of people like this author. Disingenuous to the core. What he’s really saying is that he realizes women take time off work to have children, he realizes that this reduces their future earning potential for each child they have, but he still believes they should somehow be compensated by society at large for their natural biology, as though this is something that men do to women, not something nature does to women. He probably also realizes that men and women, on average, choose entirely different fields of study. Psychology (a low paying field) compared to engineering. Elementary education compared to computer science. I didn’t see a single mention of these differences that make up a huge chunk of the pay gap, instead, he sweeps it under the table at the very first of his article by downplaying women’s choices as a cause of the gap.

    It most definitely is a “supposed” pay gap, since it varies drastically depending on how you look at the data and what data you use. To even use the phrase “pay gap” is to make this out as a problem that needs to be addressed, otherwise, why even bring it up?

    I’m curious if the author has come across the studies that say when you compare a man and woman, unmarried, with no children, with the same work history, same college degree, that these young women are being paid up to 18% more than men in the majority of major US cities. I didn’t see a single mention of that…. I wonder why? Care to explain why you didn’t mention that study, Holland?

    Care to explain why you are pushing the narrative that young girls are pushed out of the math and sciences? There’s not a single credible study that can justify that statement you’ve made. Women are not pushed out of math and sciences. It’s not typical for women to be anti-social once they hit puberty, which is usually a prerequisite to be good with math or computers. Those fields are nothing but in-depth problems that require hundreds of hours of work sometimes for something as simple as a proof, or an algorithm. I personally have not met many women willing to put that kind of work into a problem. Are there some out there? Of course. Are they reflective of average women? Of course not, and we all know they aren’t. They’d much rather go out and shop, gossip, lay by the pool, be taken on a date, watch their favorite TV show, etc. They’d much rather be at home with their children rather than staying up until 4 A.M. finishing up a coding project. Again, choices women make. This is not society forcing women to be behave this way. By your logic, the peasants forced their monarchs to behave a certain way, instead of the other way around. It’s completely bass-ackwards, and I think you realize as much, you’re just not willing to be completely honest with yourself.

    Your sources are nothing more than opinion blogs written by a former lawyer of NOW. Her twitter account is @femlaw. She worked for the NCADV. So her ability to remain unbiased should definitely be scrutinized. She does cite many facts in her blogs, but how she interprets that data is the problem. And looking over her work history, I’m willing to be she is a social justice warrior, who already decided there was a problem before she even looked at the real data. The fact she is working in a government position makes me shiver a bit… to know that such a one-sided person is in a position of power like that… I lose a few minutes of sleep each week.

    “and those claiming it’s all a myth offer nothing to dispute that reality.” Interesting you end with that after not offering your readers anything but other peoples’ opinions to dispute that ‘reality’.

  • coltov mocktail

    horse-crap. having children is a choice and so is taking care of the elderly. i did both and was left-behind while my soon to be ex-wife pursued her career. Maybe the complainers need to learn to live with their choices and stop expecting the world to wipe their asses.

  • Anonymous

    Having children is a choice for individuals, not half the population.

  • Anonymous

    “So our economy punishes women for the biological reality that they bear children.”

    OMG – how can any publication be so biased.

    Yes, on average women who leave the workforce for a period of time – for example to have children – have lower earnings than a WOMAN OR MAN – who stayed continuously in the work force.

    Guess what? Men who choose to stay home to take care of kids, while their wives work – and later re-join the work force, also end up with less pay.

    Punishment? Really?

    And, on top of that, the article completely discounts the fact that, when women stay out of the workforce to care for children, they are in-fact, being 100% supported financially by their working husbands or partners.

    Punishment? Really?

  • Sum1

    Let’s see if I understand you. You’re arguing that businesses do not give women preference in hiring, even though they are cheap labor, because that would be overtly discriminatory and illegal. Instead, businesses adopt covertly discriminatory and illegal practices, by paying women less? What sense do this make? The law prohibits both discrimination in hiring and in pay, so why do you assume that companies violate this law but not that? You seem to want to eat your cake and keep it too.

    Furthermore, if you are correct, why then aren’t we seeing companies hiring more women in areas that are disproportionately male, to at least reach parity? That would be 100% legal. Surely, if women’s labor cost the company 23% less than men’s, companies would be seeking to hire as many women as they can without breaking any laws?

    But companies AREN’T doing even that, because women are NOT cheap labor.

    “Other than an outlier study commissioned by a think-tank that opposes fair pay legislation, I haven’t actually heard an argument that the gender pay gap is in fact a myth”.

    *sigh*. Do you even read what people write? No one is claiming that the gender pay gap is a myth; they’re claiming, and rightly so, that the cause for this gap isn’t discrimination but other factor that I’ve outlined above. By claiming that people are claiming that there’s no gender gap, you’re creating a straw man, and then you’re knocking it, but you’re not addressing what they are ACTUALLY claiming. You have therefore yet to debunk their claims.

  • Sebastian

    The “gender pay gap” is a useless political term meant to evoke emotion and feelings of injustice and to rally the offended party into whichever political racket is willing to take up the cause. The “gender pay gap” makes about as much sense as a “taxi driver-surgeon” pay gap or a “part-time full-time pay gap”.

    The myth of the pay gap isn’t in its existence but in its name and the manner in which it is being used. Everyone knows that earnings gaps exist in society. It’s one of the reasons we tell our kids to go to college and finish high school; so that they don’t end up in a low-paying job for the rest of their lives, such as a custodian or fry cook. On a demographic level, this is also true: most people know, for example, that Asian Americans have a higher average income than White Americans. The name ‘Gender Pay Gap’ is itself also somewhat misleading because most people interpret ‘pay’ to mean ‘wage’, when it really in this case should mean ‘earnings’. Men or women may earn more than each other in a given job, but controlling for other factors, it’s not because their wages are different.

    Recently, however, the Gender Pay Gap is being wielded as a tool by politicians and feminists in order to garner support because it supposedly demonstrates widespread, thorough discrimination throughout our society – even a conspiracy – that causes women to be paid less than men. This is what has been repeatedly debunked.

    I realise I’m rambling here, but I hope I was somewhat coherent.

  • Andrea

    Thank you, Joshua Holland, for this well-written and informative article. Based on the ignorant and ridiculous comments following your words, you must be doing something right…

  • Nathan Merrill

    The idea that math and sciences requires people to be anti-social is simply false. Many scientists and engineers are actually quite gregarious people – it is true that introverts are more drawn towards these sorts of things, but the truth of the matter is that in the real world, scientists and engineers work on teams and being excessively introverted OR extroverted is a liability. Moreover, while there are studies which suggest that women are more extroverted than men are, there is also more social expectation of women being extroverts – which might explain the difference, as we are somewhat malleable, it isn’t a wholly intrinsic trait, and a lot of it probably has to do with the social expectations when young.

    I think the real issue lies in the fact that little boys are given legos and are expected to do these things, while little girls are given barbie dolls and are not. Expectation helps drive success – the more you expect from your kid, the better they tend to do on average, and if the social expectation is that the boy is a breadwinner, that makes a big difference in their outlook in life.

    It also is an issue of parental emulation.

    You want to fix the problem, start changing your expectations for your daughters.

  • Nathan Merrill

    All you would have to do is offer lower wages, which men would not accept but women, used to said lower wages, would. How would anyone prove discrimination? By your company being all female? Good luck with that. You don’t even have to not hire guys – offer guys jobs for the same subpar wages you’re offering women. If they accept, bully for you; if not, then you have something concrete to point to if anyone ever sues you for discrimination. It is VERY hard to sue someone for discrimination if they offer you a job but offer you too little money, and then hire someone else for that same amount of money that you declined – you’d be laughed out of court.

    Indeed, one would think that people would selectively try and hire women who are returning to the labor force after having kids, if they were indeed as skilled as their colleagues and can simply be underpaid as a result. But we don’t see that in the real world, any more than we see people clamoring over guys who are returning to work from a lapse. Why?

    Because people are reluctant to hire such folk in general because they frequently have trouble adjusting back to working again.

    Even if the real gap was smaller – 5-10% – they would still have great economic incentive to do so. But we don’t see this in real life. This suggests something is wrong with your model.

    We SHOULD see this behavior, because not everyone thinks the same and there ARE companies which DO push very heavily towards hiring more women. Indeed, many companies are desperate to find qualified minority workers – women, blacks, whatever – so that they don’t look discriminatory, even if they’re not, because they are worried about lawsuits and under representation. Nobody wants to be sued for discriminating against black people/women/insert group here; it is always awful press, even if the allegations are untrue.

    But in the real world we still observe overwhelmingly male, white (and to a lesser extent asian) tech companies.

    When only 20% of engineers and 12% of CS majors are female, these companies simply cannot get good numbers on them. And many of these companies are notoriously progressive, and very aware of the issue of female under representation. The idea that they are systematically discriminating against women as an entire industry is ridiculous.

    This is not to say that there are not people who do so – I am well aware of some of the more socially inept folk who are involved in tech, who are well-meaning but have absolutely no idea how to interact normally with people, who are absolutely awful to be around for women (and who frankly aren’t always a joy to be around as a guy, either). But they are a minority, and the people who are in charge of said companies very frequently get extremely upset at people doing this, because, let’s face it, when your workforce is 90% men you’re a discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen and driving away women is just not okay.

    Plus how are the nerdy guys going to get dates? They all want nerd girls.

    There are isolated pockets of sexism left in the world, despite its social unacceptability, and it does cause problems. But it isn’t acceptable culturally, and the idea that we can blame said lower wages on workplace discrimination is incredibly dubious because the real world data does not appear to back it up.

    You said that “life choices” are an unsatisfying explanation, but let us face reality here – life choices are an unsatisfying explanation because they don’t allow you to blame someone else for making less money.

  • Anonymous

    How about this fact. Most women would rather work for a man. One could argue from this that on average a male manager will get more out of his workers than a female manager would.

  • Anonymous

    So Joshua if a woman who was a columnist like you and not as good -
    but still had the same title – you wouldn’t mind her making what you make.

    This has happened to me at least 4 times in my career -
    and even thought the bosses said I deserved more – they could not
    get it past HR because it looked like discrimination.

  • Anonymous

    Damn, your article is even dumber than AEIs. Nothing like ideologues to ignore the facts to push a narrative.

  • Anonymous

    What I’m really saying is that this argument is so transparently silly that it’s not worth having. Men make up around half of the labor force. If businesses decided not to hire men, entire industries would shut down. The wages of the remaining half of the labor force would skyrocket.

    It’s like saying, ‘if raising the minimum wage to $10 is such a great idea, why not raise it to $100?’ — a ridiculous red herring.

    And nobody said anything about “covert discrimination.” Yes, there’s sexism, but much of the difference is structural.

  • Anonymous

    You keep using that word, “bias” — I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a topic that causes a lot of cognitive dissonance.

    I used to write frequently about immigration policy — this is nothing :-)

  • Anonymous

    Only 50-60% of the workforce are covered by the FMLA, and it doesn’t mandate any paid leave, so you have to be able to afford to take it.

    More here: http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/03/family-values-us-has-the-worlds-least-flexible-workplaces/

  • Anonymous

    Catalyst study: “When women did all the things they have been told will help them get
    ahead—using the same tactics as men—they still advanced less than their
    male counterparts and had slower pay growth.” That included asking for more money.

    Link: http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/myth-ideal-worker-does-doing-all-right-things-really-get-women-ahead

    Then there’s a study out of Emory of “184 managers involved a scenario in which they were told they
    had a set amount of money to distribute to employees, who had identical
    skills and responsibilities.” It found, “This group of managers, both men and women, consistently gave much
    smaller raises to female employees. In fact, raises for men were nearly
    2.5 times larger than those for women.”

    Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/life-at-work/women-may-have-deck-stacked-against-them-when-its-pay-raise-time/article4428087/

  • Anonymous

    I would appreciate if if you would post my response to Nathan Merrill so I can continue my conversation with him.

  • Anonymous

    Why would you premise your question on a woman who wasn’t as good earning the same? That seems sexist.

    The proper question is whether I’d want a woman who is as good but has a year less seniority because she took that time off to have a baby to be paid the same. And the answer to that is: of course I would.

  • Carol

    Why should your boss pay for you not to work again?

  • Kevin

    Why do people assume that everyone is exactly equal and exactly the same?

  • Kevin

    It boggles the mind how people want to deny basic evolutionary biology. They would prefer to take the exception to the rule and present it as if it were typical.

  • Kevin

    Because down is up, left is right, night is day, and black is white. “How come after taking 5 years off, I don’t get my job back with a raise?” Let’s keep splitting hairs until we’re bald.

  • Kevin

    So I suppose all of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. help poor, black citizens get jobs and keep wages high for all?

  • Kevin

    Righto, you are exactly the same as a man! Anyone who tells you differently is ignorant. You should be able to work as few hours as you choose and take as much time off as you’d like and be entitled to the same pay as someone who doesn’t do these things. You should expect state support for your children, and child support from the father. You should expect a helping hand and special programs to get you into the job you feel that you deserve. Just don’t expect anything from yourself. It should be given to you. You’re the best!

  • Kevin

    How is it a punishment to not pay someone who has chosen to take extended time off from work? They chose to do that. Doesn’t paying them the same punish the person who was at work the whole time, producing and gaining valuable experience? If you want to reach the top of your field, and have nothing standing in your way, than maybe raising children can’t take priority in your life. Work isn’t a charity for the employees. Maternity leave is mandated for employers. Beyond that, what more should a person expect?

  • Kevin

    Yeah, I guess we just aren’t constantly running “women in science,” “women in business,” and “women in engineering” campaigns. It couldn’t be that men and women aren’t the same. Everyone is exactly the same and we all brainwash them into being different, just like in prehistoric times. We don’t constantly push women to excel, nor do they get any special help in school, nor are they graduating from college at a much higher rate than men. They all desperately want to be engineers, but “society” keeps not letting them. Why do we have to make up stories to explain away the obvious?

  • Nathan Merrill

    The problem is that by the time we’re running these campaigns it is probably too late. Trying to recruit women into engineering after high school is probably about six years too late; I think the real problem starts in elementary school, as it becomes visible in middle school, which is when kids can first actually choose their classes to some extent, more so in high school – and girls don’t choose to sign up for the same classes as boys do.

    Women are graduating from college at a higher rate than men, but the problem is that they’re not getting the same degrees that men are getting – a lot of them are getting liberal arts degrees.

    Which is funny, because you’d think the worst degree would be BS. :D

    Thing is, I agree that men and women are not identical. However, I don’t think that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that our separation in terms of engineering and science male:female ratio is a “true” ratio, but rather the result of society and culture.

    I think if you change the culture, you’ll get different rates. It is worth noting that women in CS has actually DROPPED over time; back in the early 1980s, there was actually a BETTER ratio in CS (about 30% female) than there is today. That suggests that back then, it wasn’t seen as something exclusively for men culturally, and that cultural preconception came into effect later on and drove the drop. This suggests that the true ratio is unlikely to be 12:88, and is probably closer to 3:7, if not even better – it should be remembered that many, many typists were female.

    It is important, however, not to hurt men in your attempts to recruit women. But I think driving different cultural norms is important towards fixing the difference.

  • Kevin

    But see this is the impasse that creates the entire argument. You assume that women MUST have the same careers in the same proportions as men, and that they WANT the same careers in the same proportions as men. Worse, you feel it is NECESSARY that these proportions are realized, and by any means necessary. My question to you is, why? Why can’t you trust women to make their own decisions?

  • Sous Jersey

    What if you took a 1-year sabbatical to sit on a beach and ponder? Would you then want to be paid the same as your co-worker who stayed in the office?

  • Nathan Merrill

    You’re upset because I’m planning on destroying the last remnants of a garbage culture that you have some investment in. That’s entirely natural; look at all the people who cling to dead cultures.

    But it is time we move on.

    Do you think that women in the Middle East really choose their roles in society? No?

    People are stupid and will tend to go with the flow more often than not. People are capable of making choices, but many will never even think about whether or not they could make a different choice, they simply see a way and continue on forward.

    That’s just the way people are.

    I don’t think that women MUST want the same careers in the same proportions as men, but I find it highly unlikely that present day gender ratios are in any way natural, especially given the fact that CS majors dropped from 30% female to 12% female in 30 years. That is absurdly strong evidence against the idea that these ratios are natural and not culturally controlled.

    I don’t want the ratios done by “any means necessary”; as I have said before and will say again, discriminating against men in favor of women is always a bad idea, in the same way that discriminating against white people in favor of black people is always a bad idea. You won’t succeed at what you’re trying to do and you’ll encourage the people to resent those who are discriminated in favor of, and anyone who achieves legitimate success in the field will still be viewed with suspicion because of affirmative action or what have you.

    The goal is to change culture at a very basal level, as I noted. Changing how we treat little girls and little boys will have an impact down the road. Changing society’s views, cultural presentations of masculinity and feminity, will change how people behave and what choices they make.

    It is just reality.

    Cultural change is inevitable; I just want the culture to shift in a more positive, egalitarian direction. The thing is, it is going to pretty much result in the destruction of the old female culture, and some portions of the old male culture, and some people will resist that change, just as people resist all change.

    I think that if you’re going to do it, though, you need to do it from an early level. That’s why our high school recruitment programs don’t work – the girls just don’t see it as talking to them, because they weren’t given legos when they were three and were sat down in front of crappy “girl’s shows”.

    I don’t think active discrimination by businesses is what drives the differences in what women do for a living; I think that it is a cultural issue, and thus the only possible solution is to change that culture. And the truth is that it is changing slowly. But the truth is that when you are in an egalitarian culture, it is going to more strongly resemble men’s culture than female culture, though it will take aspects of both.

    I knew I wanted to make new things since before I can remember. That isn’t something that ever really changed. And I know a lot of other people are the same way who go into STEM stuff. People told me I would have been a good lawyer, and some folks encouraged me to go into law, but I was uninterested, despite the fact that yes, I would be good at it (and I actually do study laws casually). But it isn’t want I want to do.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Well, I would definitely WANT to be paid the same.

    But that other person wouldn’t like it one bit.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Well, yeah, but 20% of workers are part-time workers. The average person switches jobs 11 times in their lifetime. If you assume they work from age 23 to age 65, that works out to changing jobs on average once every 4 years or so, so in any given year, 25% of workers will be changing jobs. So the remaining 80% would be cut by 25%, which would mean you’d be looking at only 60% of the work force being eligible.

    So yeah, a lot of people are ineligible for it, but that doesn’t mean that it is slanted against them – it is just reality.

    And yes, it is unpaid leave. Too bad for you. Some employers DO offer paid leave, but most do not because they don’t see you as holding sufficient value to be worth retaining in that fashion – and quite frankly they’re probably right. Almost everyone is replaceable, and I need someone who works, not someone who isn’t. People aren’t hired out of charity, they’re hired to get useful work done.

    The government should not be in the business of subsidizing baby-making, and neither should private corporations. That’s just reality. If you want to have a kid, you need to be able to afford to do so. If you can’t, well, you shouldn’t have it.

  • Kevin

    I’m 28 years old. I’m not clinging to anything. Like you said, you knew what you wanted to do, and now you do it. What more should we be doing to encourage women to pursue their dreams? Don’t we also need to inform them of the potential cost of their choices? It’s tough to be a true full-time parent for any length of time and still reach the top of your field. Who is standing in the way of women? Should we start telling them in kindergarten that they should want a high-earning, long-hours, traditional male job? If not, what would help? What if this still doesn’t work? How do we know when the ratio within any given field is the “right” ratio? Are you guys sure you aren’t over-thinking this? Phrased differently, are you sure you well-intentioned folks aren’t being sexist by assuming that women aren’t capable of choosing their own path in life? Why do you think that jobs traditionally performed by men were and are still largely performed by men? Are you sure that you know what’s best? You know better than millions of women? Are women in the Middle East happy? They don’t have the freedom to choose. Women here do. Again, what more should we be doing to convince them to do jobs that they don’t want to do, in general?

  • Kevin

    When you call for a change in how we see masculinity and femininity, what does that mean to you? Where do you think masculinity and femininity come from? Why might we have carved out the gender roles that so strongly influenced our culture? Again, no one is prohibited from pursuing what they want in this country, but why should we be telling people what we think they ought to be doing? Why do you assume that the differences between men and women are all or even mostly cultural? You understand how phenotypes vary due to genetics as well right? You know about the endocrine system? Testosterone? Estrogen? The ability for only one sex to carry and give birth to children? Sexual dimorphism? Differences in brain chemistry, structures, thoughts, feelings, etc.? Differences in tendencies, expectations, abilities, and what have you? Allowing women to do anything they please isn’t the same thing as insisting that they ought to do what you want them to do. I notice you aren’t keenly pushing women into business, medicine, law, music, athletics, or dentistry. Perhaps it’s because women have already found a more pronounced niche in these areas. What sort of toys did they or didn’t they play with as children to trick them into this? You’d think staunch conservatives controlled schools and had the biggest media influences the way you tell it. Why is it that you need more women to be in science, technology, math, and engineering so badly? I’m not opposed to it, I just want to know what you feel it is your duty to make sure it happens. How do you know this is what’s best for anyone?

  • Anthony Gilbertson

    So you write an article with no substantive statistical evidence to attack an article which doesn’t provide much in the way of raw data either…frankly you’ve done just as badly, if not worse at arguing your position as the original AEI article.

  • Anthony Gilbertson

    ignoring his reality driven scenario to substitute your own fails to address the point he’s making…

  • Anthony Gilbertson

    What kind of stupid intellectual navel gazing is this response? It’s not anyone else’s problem if you choose to have a child, period. Plenty of women choose not to and consequently do not suffer from the loss of pay that their choice would bring about. Individual choices are not societal mandates, please stop trying to create a link where it does not exist.

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  • Kit Kimberly

    They don’t.

    Everyone IS equal.

    Everyone is NOT the same (and that’s not because of gender or race or ethnicity; that’s b/c we are ALL different from each other).

    Equal does NOT mean same in this context.

    When the founding fathers [sic] said, “All men [sic] are created equal” they most CERTAINLY did not mean that all men are created the same.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “and not as good”

    By whose criteria?

  • Kit Kimberly

    Evidence please.

  • Kit Kimberly

    There is only ONE thing that both genders are not equally capable of doing:

    Bearing children.

    Evolutionary biology =/= biological determinism.

    Women and men are almost exactly the same, biologically– in fact, ALL foetuses are female to begin with.

    So in fact, women are the norm, not men, by “evolutionary biology”.

  • Kevin

    So why do we expect every demographic of obviously very different people to have the same jobs, wages, and work experience? Why do we think very different groups of people, who on the average, make very different career and lifestyle choices, ought to be paid exactly the same, on the average? Equal pay for equal work is one thing. That’s not what’s going on here. The author seems to think women should be able to walk away from a job for as long as they want, be able to come back whenever they want, experience no lost wages, and have a pay increase to bring them in line with their colleagues who have been there working and producing the entire time. “Progressives” have lost their mind as badly as the religious right, and they can’t see the horrible irony of their religious zealotry. I’d scream if I weren’t laughing so hard.

  • Kevin

    I’m not concerned with petty semantic battles that feminists and liberal progressives get caught up in. Since as you are well aware, women bear children, and this greatly affects their career decisions, it should be no surprise that they are, on the average, less likely to reach the pinnacle of their chosen profession. As a result, they will not be paid as much money, on the average. This isn’t tough stuff. Women have every special protection imaginable, yet all they do is complain. Nothing will make you happy. Nothing.

  • Kit Kimberly

    That’s a BIOLOGICAL FACT, mate.

    If it’s all about biology, women should be the ones setting the standards, choosing the mates, ruling the kingdoms, heading the churches, et al.

    CHILD BEARING should be seen as the most sacred thing you can do; a woman who chooses to bear children should be fed and feted and treated like royalty (based on biological determinations).

    After all, it’s really the only legitimate reason to exist, biologically.

  • Kit Kimberly

    Not to mention the US is the ONLY industrialised nation not to have it (didn’t South Africa even institute paid parental leave?).

    Part of what makes this problem particularly irksome in the US is that the US already treats its lower middle and working poor classes like servants or indentured labourers, so women in the US are even WORSE off than women in, say, Australia, New Zealand, Czech Republic and Scotland (those are the only other places I’ve lived so they’re the only ones I know about for sure. I’m sure Scandinavian countries are also much better.)

  • Kit Kimberly

    What part of

    “Pamela Coukos, a senior program advisor at the Department of Labor, wrote in 2012, “studies consistently conclude that discrimination is the best explanation of the remaining difference in pay.”
    “Economists generally attribute about 40% of the pay gap to discrimination – making about 60% explained by differences between workers or their jobs. However, even the “explained” differences between men and women might be more complicated. For example: If high school girls are discouraged from taking the math and science classes that lead to high-paying STEM jobs, shouldn’t we in some way count that as a lost equal earnings opportunity? As one commentator put it recently, “I don’t think that simply saying we have 9 cents of discrimination and then 14 cents of life choices is very satisfying.” In other words, no matter how you slice the data, pay discrimination is a real and persistent problem that continues to shortchange American women and their families.”

    were you unable to comprehend?

  • Anonymous

    I have empirical evidence. I am a woman who has worked in blue collar jobs for over three decades. Most of them were in a male dominated profession. Around 2003, I asked a regional manager why he paid all the women and black people less than the white guys. He looked around to make sure no one was in hearing range except us and said, “Because you’ll work for less.”
    So I got myself and a bunch of my co-workers all different jobs at a new place with better pay, benefits and tools. And, yeah. I took all the white guys, too. I took everybody.
    I’m like that.
    It only takes one person like me to end it at some place or other. That’s why it’s a big deal for people to be able to compare their paychecks with each other.
    Somehow this has all gotten to be about women. What if you’re a Jew at an Evangelical Christian place? Black at a white place? White at a black place? Old at a young place? Young at an old place? What if you’re gay? Or the only straight person or one of a few?
    There are a lot of subtle reasons people discriminate against each other. Comparing paychecks is the only way to check it. As ;it stands without this law, it’s grounds for getting fired a lot of places.

  • Anonymous

    Sabbaticals on the beach aren’t required for the survival of the human species. Pregnancy and childbirth are.

  • Anonymous

    Offering a hypothetical with someone who is not as good at a job as someone else elides the topic at hand.

  • Anonymous

    Again, an individual woman can choose whether or not to have a child. Women — the female 50% of the population — cannot. It’s just a biological reality.

    And I’m pretty confident there wouldn’t be much debate on this point if men got pregnant and were responsible for a disproportionate share of child rearing responsibilities.

  • Anonymous

    You’re really beating this introvert/extrovert topic to death, aren’t you?

    The best scientists throughout history have been introverts, that is a fact. Simply read through some biographies about them, you’ll find out how they lived their life and worked. I couldn’t care less if you’re an engineer and an extrovert or not. No, they do not have a harder time with teamwork, they just work differently than extroverts.

    Yes, if you go look into those scientists at the Manhattan Project, practically all introverts. Introverts can team up just as easily as extroverts, their methods while in a team though are completely different. Anyways, you’re taking this topic way off on a tangent.

    Good lord, man. I’ve never seen a person write so much without actually saying anything. Do you have any data to back up a single thing you just said? Or am I just supposed to take all of your opinions on faith?

    Were you high when you wrote the last half of that?

    Women make less when they have children. There, simple, right? There’s no reason you or I should be punished for her choice to have children. That is her choice, not mine.

  • Anonymous

    You didn’t address a single point in the post I sent you… pretty much on either reply you sent. This is not a therapy session here for you, ok? If you’re going to reply again, please reply to points in my last first two replies to you. Again, this is a discussion, not therapy.

  • Anonymous

    He probably believes that his parents or someone else directed him into his field of study due to sexism. It’s not something he was naturally attracted to, in his opinion, it was something he was socialized to enjoy and that women were socialized to stay away from. …. with no data to support that reasoning at all… how scientific.

  • Kevin

    Right, and women are afforded maternity leave and child care options. If you choose to take say, multiple years off, why is it reasonable to expect your job to be waiting for you, and a pay increase and/or promotion in line with your colleagues who didn’t leave work? Do women expect to be paid the entire time they are away as well? If men got pregnant and did the lion’s share of child-rearing, they wouldn’t be men, they would be women. I’m not sure why this is confusing. You can call either gender whatever you’d like, it isn’t relevant, the point is, somebody is going to be working less as a result of the inevitable process of reproduction. Regardless of who this is, why should this person think they are entitled to the same lifetime compensation as someone who has been working the entire time? As a progressive, surely you are aware of men who are homemakers. Where is their free money? You aren’t concerned with them. When you say that 6 in 10 households are now headed by women, what you are referring to, largely, is single women on welfare, innocent victims of a patriarchal society, no doubt, who had no choice in the outcome of their life. If biological reality dictates that one gender is less capable of productive work over the course of their lifetime, how is it making it “equal” to give them something they haven’t earned? Surely their are men who would choose to give birth to children and stay home with them for a time, if not indefinitely. What are you going to do to “level the playing field” for these people, who “unfairly” are denied this opportunity due to biological reality? Wake up, bud, women have it every which way imaginable in this country. Go fight your battles in the Middle East, Africa, and the far East.

  • Kevin

    Indeed, for people so committed to “science,” they sure do tend to ignore things like genetics and sexual dimorphism.

  • ShitTownMan

    When did Moyers fans become so obnoxious? If one has issues with this article’s critique on the pay gap they may wish to check out Freakonomics radio podcast. It might get their thoughts fluid again without all the stubbornness and respond with reason and respectability.

  • Sous Jersey

    So who gets to determine what’s required? Is it only pregnancy? That smacks of gender discrimination. Why should SHE be allowed to take a year off just because she has ovaries? What if you took a sabbatical to study and be a better (Columnist/Brain Surgeon/Crossing Guard/Railroad Engineer)

  • Tom

    It seems sexist to assume that a woman could miss a year of work and still be just as good as the man who did not miss a year of work. Are men so stupid that they will not learn anything new of value during the additional year of work?

  • Tom

    But this is about pay and the amount of value one brings to an employer. So, you don’t think a man who took a on e year sabbatical should be paid the same as someone who did not? Well, why not? Is it because the person who has more experience is more valuable? Then what your pregnancy argument boils down too is that a woman who took a year off due to pregnancy should be paid more than a man, because even though they may be less valuable after a year off they should still be paid the same as someone who did not (be that a man or a woman). That’s what you are saying, so just admit it. Women should be paid more than men.

  • Nathan Merrill

    If you can’t tell that I addressed your points, then why are you responding?

    Maybe you should read my posts. I understand De Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt, but come on man.

    Your argument was “Women make different choices than men do.”

    As I noted, however, you are assuming that this is not the result of sexism and being raised in a sexist environment which encourages women to make said decisions.

    There are women in the Middle East who deal with all of that garbage voluntarily, but western women think it to be insanity. Your argument is that those women are doing it by choice, but the fact that women from a different culture see it vastly differently and as the result of oppression suggests that the true rate of women willing to subject themselves to such nonsense is vastly lower, and that the reason that women in the Middle East do so is cultural oppression by men.

    You cannot pretend it is the “woman’s choice” when culture has such a large impact on what choices people make, and that it is an innate difference when we treat people vastly differently.

    You are making the assertion that it is women’s choice to “lean back”. I am saying that the reason that this happens with women more frequently than men is because the culture encourages women to behave in that fashion.

    How is that not addressing your point?

  • Anonymous

    Explain to me why there are hardly any females on the backs of garbage trucks. Is this cultural oppression? Explain to me why there are very few homeless women. Again, is it cultural oppression? Why have we never heard of women being trapped in a coal mine? Cultural oppression?

    Seems to me you have the ideas of oppression and entitlement a bit backwards in your head. Women in our society are entitled and cared for from the moment they are born, until the moment they die. That’s why you rarely see a woman panhandling, and when you do see one, chances are she’s not homeless at all. The ugliest woman in this country can still find a guy to take care of her. That is not oppression, that is gender entitlement.

    Your thoughts?

  • Nathan Merrill

    If they were worthless we wouldn’t be paying them anything at all.

    But the reality is that primary education is easier than secondary education; it requires a lot less training and is a lot less difficult, and as a result there is a lot more competition for said positions. This results in lower wages both because of less skill being required and because of increased competition.

    Likewise, while nursing is certainly important, nurses make pretty good money – the average RN makes $68k/year! That’s WELL above the national average. However, when you compare that to doctors, who make north of $200k/year on average, that’s a lot lower. But of course it is! Becoming a RN is vastly easier than becoming a MD is, and requires less training, and requires less skill. As a result, they are paid a lot less than doctors.

    Primary school teachers make less money than high school teachers for a good reason; likewise, nurses make less money than doctors for a good reason.

  • Nathan Merrill

    This is simple nonsense. Child bearing requires two people – a male and a female – and in the nearish future we’ll probably be able to grow babies in artificial wombs. Without males, females would be incapable of fertilizing their eggs, and sex is very important from an evolutionary standpoint, proving extremely large advantages, which is why sex is so common in nature.

    As for the rest of it: for women to set standards they’d need to be better than men are. They aren’t. Historically, men set standards because they were better than women are – they were physically larger and stronger, which gave them a very large social advantage. Over time, the social advantage from being physically powerful has diminished, which has allowed women to gain more power.

    Also, the idea that fetuses are “always female originally” is actually quite false and is rooted in falsehood. The reality is that becoming male is caused by the activation of the SRY gene, but becoming female is also caused by the activation of other genes – if you are lacking these genes then you become an infertile individual entirely. There are many genes which are involved in being both a “proper” male and a “proper” female and missing genes can mess you up regardless.

    You really don’t have much understanding of biology to claim that biology says that women should be in charge – males have been dominant over females for entirely biological reasons, at least from a social standpoint.

    And the truth is that women encourage it – men are supposed to be super awesome *flex* and whatever, because it helps them attract mates, and females are drawn to success. If you aren’t awesome, you are less likely to attract a mate and reproduce.

  • Nathan Merrill

    The best scientists have been introverts?

    Like Albert Einstein, who loved to play pranks on people and troll people?

    Or Richard Feynmann, who was a very socially dominant personality?

    Look at the behavior of the physicists on the Manhattan Project – does their behavior well match introverted behavior? Not really. They were quite socially gregarious.

    Sure, there were many introverted scientists historically, but there were many extroverted ones as well, and as time has gone on science has become an increasingly cooperative endeavour – teamwork has become more and more important as the problems have become too big for one person to easily solve.

    The scientists of today are better than the scientists of a century ago – they are more knowledgeable and can do more. But they’re also working on harder problems.

  • Nathan Merrill

    I will note that people who leave the workforce to acquire more training do end up getting compensated for such. If you go get a master’s degree, you’re qualified for higher paying positions.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Equal pay isn’t required for the survival of the human species, either, nor is taking six months or a year off work.

    This is a wholly invalid argument, and in any case, soon we may be able to grow babies in artificial wombs. At that point, would you say that women should never get pregnant?

  • Nathan Merrill

    The problem is, how would you know?

    If I’m trying to differentiate between two people, they interview as well as each other, they have the same degrees, but one has worked one year longer than the other, all other things being equal, I would expect the person who has worked longer to be better at their job. Assuming I can pay them the same amount, I’m going to pick the person who is more likely to be better at their job.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Where do I think masculinity and feminity come from?

    Two major sources: culture and biology.

    Both play important roles. The idea that our culture plays no role in it is just completely wrong, because we’ve seen significant changes over time, which are definitive proof that culture plays a very major role – in fact, the dominant role – in women’s place in society today.

    This was always the case to some degree, but the further back you go, the more important physical prowess become – men were historically dominant precisely because they were physically more powerful, as well as due to sexual selection by women for competitive males. This resulted in competition between males for the affections of females, and these continue on into today in our culture.

    Biology does play a role, don’t make the mistake of believing that it does not, but our culture plays a larger one.

    As a biomedical engineer, I am well aware of the hormonal and physiological differences between males and females. However, their explanation for the gender gap in many non-physical professions is underwhelming, and the fact that different cultural norms vastly influence human behavior suggests that human behavior is very, very strongly controlled by our culture – we are still made out of meat, but we can make choices and our environment strongly influences our behavior.

    Witness the vast decline in crime over the last 20 years, the Flynn effect, the general tendency towards peaceful conflict resolution over time scales too short to be explained by evolutionary pressures, the vastly changed role in society of women in the 20th century, and you have to recognize that biology’s control over us, while present, is overwhelmed by culture.

    Why do I feel it is my duty? Because women will only ever truly be equal when they take upon themselves equal roles in society, and having 50% more equals is a good thing. It is just that simple. The more awesome people there are, the more people who are striving for excellence, the better your society is. Women make up 50% of the population, and if they strive for excellence at a 50% lower rate, we could be significantly more awesome than we are today as a society.

    Creative jobs – including STEM work – are the future. So getting more women involved in the future is for the good of everyone – men and women alike.

  • Nathan Merrill

    We will never know for certain that the ratio in any field is right. It is impossible to tell.

    I just sorely doubt a 9:1 or even a 4:1 ratio is ever realistically likely in a profession where physicality is not a major attribute, because in other attributes men are not THAT much better at things than women are.

    We should encourage women to be more competitive and discourage them from not being awesome. We should reward them for striving for excellence and show them role models of excellence. We should attempt to be as gender neutral as possible in our expectations of our children and of each other.

    Women are no more capable of choosing their own paths in life than men are, which is to say, not very. Most people don’t ever really look for their own path in life – they follow the channels in front of them instead of trying to ever explore more widely. Cultural changes are necessary as a result of this.

    Culture strongly influences career choice, as proven by the massive changes in female workforce participation and their role in society over the course of the 20th century. That is absurdly strong evidence against the idea that female choices are independent of culture, just as male choices aren’t truly independent of culture.

  • Kevin

    Well, like you said, they are the ones who need to take these roles. No one is stopping them. Do you feel as strongly about males being homemakers, servers, flight attendants, beauticians, elementary school teachers, etc.? If a strong, empowered female engineer wants me to stay at home and vacuum, hit up the grocery store, do the laundry, and wash the dishes, I’m on board. For some reason, I don’t think it’s male insecurity that’s preventing this on a large scale. Successful, powerful women, on the average, tend to want men who are at least as successful career-wise as they are. Whether this is cultural, biological or both is largely beside the point. It’s reality.

  • Kevin

    You’ve got it, things are rarely fair, especially in the short-term, but if you keep at something long enough, eventually your productive capabilities will be undeniable.

  • Kevin

    I agree, so why are women the only ones being apologized for and catered to?

  • Anonymous

    Isolated sexism in parts of the world? Have you ever traveled outside the US? Sexism is the norm both from a legal and economic perspective in much of the world today.

  • Kit Kimberly

    Actually, teachers are leaving the field in droves all over the country because they’re being paid badly and treated worse. So no, there’s no competition in public education for jobs.

    And sure, playing with cyber $$ on computers is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than caring for children or the ill– yet investment bankers and stock brokers get paid (or rather steal) $100s of $1000s.

    Please. Teachers and nurses make less b/c it’s “women’s work”. When men are teachers and nurses, they make MORE than women in the same jobs.

    Are you wilfully ignorant or deliberately obtuse?

  • Chris Allen

    Perhaps your question should be, “Why is it always assumed in our country that only one parent should get parental leave, and that parent is always the mother?” In other countries, fathers are also given parental leave. In other countries, parental leave is *paid* leave with your job still there when you return.

    And why hasn’t anyone ever explored the idea of parental half-days, where two working parents can arrange their schedules so that one parent works in the morning, and one in the afternoon for their child’s first year? (After the basic time off for *both* parents when the child is born, at least the first 6 weeks if not 2 full months.)

    When a country commits to the idea that family time matters, that parenting is an important job, they aren’t just doing it to benefit the families at the time it happens—they’re also committing to a more stable society, where family ties and family support and children actually *matter*. They’re wise enough to know that the psychological support this engenders results in better balanced adults, which is good for the whole society.

    Here, it’s still *expected* that the woman will take the “time beyond childbirth” off to parent, and that fathers don’t want it. Having a daughter who’s the family breadwinner and a son-in-law who’s the stay-at-home parent, I can tell you fathers enjoy raising their kids and caring for them, too. Fathers can be nurturing.

    And yet, when a young woman takes over as CEO of some big company, the press is full of questions about “what will they do when she wants to take a year or so off to have a baby? How will that affect the company?” You never see them asking that about young *male* CEO’s. It’s a disservice to both women and men, to fathers and to mothers, that it’s simply *assumed* males won’t need (or even want) time off to caretake their children, won’t need sick days to take care of a sick child, etc.

    I have to wonder how hard that is for gay couples with kids—with both of them being male, how do they ever manage to get their bosses to give them time off to caretake their kids? And trust me: men getting up 5 times a night to tend to a hungry, wet, and/or colicky baby are just as groggy the next day as women in the same boat.

    I’m a woman and all for women’s rights—but I’m *also* for correcting the wrongs that genderism saddles *men* with, especially in the work place, and especially in the concept of parenting roles, duties, and responsibilities. I’m also 100% for our country moving to a model like Sweden and other countries where both parents get paid time off when having a baby, and both can return to their former jobs afterward.

    Perhaps part of the problem is that American business rarely looks to the future, to the long haul, to eventual rewards and eventual consequences. That’s why we have such a problem with companies who don’t care about how they pollute: it’s get in, make the most money you can, get out… and by the time the area is too sick to live in, we’ll either be dead and gone, or retired to Barbados. *rolleyes*

  • Chris Allen

    Employees who are valued tend to perform better. Employers who remember their workers aren’t just cogs in a machine but are also human beings with families, engender greater loyalty and tend to have happier workers. Happier workers tend to do better work, get less stressed and don’t get sick as often.

    My husband finally works for a company with these kind of “old-fashioned” values: they value their employees. They reward hard work, creative ideas, a good work ethic. They understand that the family is the support structure behind the employee, that the families contribute too. They support all their employees in taking time for family. As a result, the families are enthusiastic about the company, too. They, too, are “behind the dream” and helping to make it happen.

    No company is 100% perfect… but if the majority of American companies were like the one my husband works for, America would be a lot better off.

    My Dad used to work for a manufacturing plant. When I was a kid, they’d do Christmas parties for the kids at a skating rink, and Santa would come give out a gift to every child. In the summer, they’d buy day-passes for the entire family at a local amusement park, cater in a BBQ lunch, hold a big bingo game with prizes, etc. They paid a fair wage for honest work.

    Then the owning company sold it, Then it was sold again. The final owners cut out all of that as “non-essential.” They got into battles over wages. Finally they shut down the plant, using it as a tax write-off. It went from being a community with loyal employees to a drudge job to nothing for a lot of out-of-work people.

    In most places in Corporate America, we’ve truly lost something.

  • Chris Allen

    Perhaps part of the problem is that “it requires a lot less training” to be a preschool worker than a high school teacher. I have substituted for Pre-K on up, and I can tell you, trying to reason with and get young children to behave and actually learn, is a lot harder than reasoning with and teaching older kids. High school teachers may have to learn more of the “book knowledge” they’re meant to teach—but those who deal with younger kids, especially the youngest, truly need to learn behavioral psychology, child psychology, to understand the development levels of a child’s brain, behavior, and comprehension… as well as dealing with the crucial early stages of problems like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, etc.

    Pre-school and early grade teachers “set the tone” for learning, as well: good, well-trained teachers in this age bracket can create either a love (and ease) of learning… or they can create children who are totally bored with school, disruptive, children who think they *can’t* learn or that it’s “too hard for me,” etc.

    As for RN’s vs. Doctors, I’ve seen a lot of really smart RN’s and a lot of really stupid Doctors… you were saying? Let’s see: because we require less time in school for nurses than for doctors, that inherently means doctors are better trained, right?

    So if my nurse studied hard, continued learning on the job, went back for extra certification courses (as many places require of them—no one does that to doctors)… and my doctor’s daddy made a big donation to his (or her) college and medical school, my doctor cribbed off others, barely passed their classes, and spends all his (or her) spare time on the golf course hobnobbing the social circuit and *never* bothers to do one iota of continued study, never bothers to acquaint him or herself with new research and/or depends on the weekly visit of his/her pharmacy reps to “update” him/her on the latest in medicine (from the vested view of the pharmaceutical company at any rate)… then the doctor inherently has greater knowledge and skill and deserves more money? Even when the nurse is the one who recognized the signs of a patient going into a diabetic coma and got them help while the doctor was on the 15th hole and ignoring his/her pager?

  • Chris Allen

    I will make sure to never work for any company *you* run.

    As to the “average person switches jobs 11 times in their lifetime,” how many of those, “on average,” are from company closings, employee layoffs, etc.? I think you left that out of your calculations.

    How many of those are because an employer fired the person for taking a single day off to be sick, or had to be out a couple weeks for surgery? It happens all the time in the restaurant industry… and increasingly in other positions as well.

    How many of those job changes are caused by companies letting go of full time employees and replacing them with workers from temp companies (who they don’t have to cover for benefits, sick leave, etc.)?

    And of the 20% you say are part-time workers, how many of those are people whose employers cut hours to part time to avoid paying full-time benefits? How many of those are people working for temp agencies who, again, don’t schedule them for full hours so that again, benefits and full-time requirements don’t have to be met?

    I think you need to go back and gather more data, and re-work your numbers accordingly.

    I’d also like to thank you for giving a wonderful illustration of one of my points above, about the “now is all that matters, workers are replaceable cogs” corporate American mentality. It’s exactly this short-sighted attitude that’s wiping out our middle class, driving more and more people into poverty, and fueling the dismantling of worker rights and protections from the SCOTUS and Congress on down to various state legislatures.

    Why don’t you just say you want to see feudalism reinstated and be done with it?

  • ShitTownMan

    While your story shows two things we must keep in mind the first. Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.

    Secondly, assuming there is worth to the story, your single experience is not the end all experience for every female nor male. It is a personal story. Regardless, it does reveal an interesting point, How much of the female workforce is asking for larger pay vs how much are men? As important, why do they not ask, why do they not receive the pay? Where do these social normals begin?

  • Keith

    Even if they are undeniable they still may not get paid for it.

  • Kevin

    Yep. It’s called life. “Progressives” think that they can somehow manipulate everything into absolute “fairness.” It’s not going to happen. It can’t happen. Oftentimes, negative consequences arise from the attempt to make everything “perfect.” Nice people…overly idealistic, often to the point of absurdity.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “All embryos are identical in external appearance for the first eight weeks of gestation, and then several factors nudge the infant toward male or female development. In the seventh week, the embryo has both male and female primordial ducts. In the normal female fetus, the millerian duct system then develops into oviducts and a uterus. In the normal male fetus, the wolferian duct system on each side develops into the epididymis and vas deferens. The external genitalia are similarly bipotential until the eighth week (The reproductive organs and genitals associated with “female” or “male” arise from the same initial (fetal) tissue). Thereafter, the urogenital slit disappears and male genitalia form or alternatively, it remains open, and female genitalia form. If the egg was fertilized with the x chromosome then the female structures continue to mature, the default system.”

    The female is the DEFAULT.

    So your biology argument is rubbish.

    Next.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, this concept of “time spent” in a position, correlating with increased ability to do a job, and thus value of the person doing the job, is the most disingenuous argument I have ever heard on this subject. On the surface, it sounds like a good argument but when you start dissecting it, it is silly.

    For MOST jobs nothing really changes from day to day or year to year. Pay increases at that point, are not necessarily “merit” based, but are “traditional” and based on what the powers that be dictate will be the yearly increase for the organization or the department. Those increases can be based on the overall success of the organization, or about some desire by executive management to “reward” employees. However 3-5% yearly increases (based on performance) are often the norm…and have very little to do really with “merit” of the individuals. On the whole, the average employee will get a percentage somewhere in the middle, regardless of gender, predicated on whether or not their manager likes them or feels they are doing an adequate or above average job.

    Generally speaking a manager only has so much to work with, in so far as raise increases are concerned. Thus they will divvy out the funds based on their budget…and NOT because a particular individual is so stellar. If a “stellar” individual gets a larger raise than everyone else…it’s still only the top of the rate the manager is allowed to give. FACT.

    Thus “raises” are generally given as a percentage of one’s already set wage…so if a person comes in at a lower set wage than another…the 3-5% will be a different dollar amount. DUH.

    Thus a person who was out of a job for a year, for whatever reason…could negotiate a higher wage than someone ALREADY in the position. Which again is based on what the organization is willing to pay for THAT position. Things could change in that year…whereby the New hire’s skills are needed where before they weren’t, thereby the new hire can negotiate a higher rate.

    There is so much MORE involved in how wages are given than so many are willing to admit. It’s not as simple as some of you try to portray.

    In addition, as for women given birth…that is a biological FACT…and women should NOT be economically disadvantaged for their biology. That is ridiculous. To imply that a woman is less capable of doing a job, because she took some off from paid work thus making her LESS able to do the job well, that she did the year before or two years before, makes nosense. AS stated, most jobs (of the same grade) RARELY change much in a year or even two (not really)…and if they do, it doesn’t take long to catch up to the few new changes that took place. So the whole meme about “time in” falls flat on its face. For example most clerical jobs don’t change much from year to year, neither do, most customer service jobs or accounting…(again basically the same…maybe a few new laws to learn), sales…the concepts are the same from year to year, job to job…the only difference there is the networking, and that too can be made up quickly, if the individual chooses to do so.

    In reality, if one really looks at the responsibilities of every job out there, most aren’t rocket science and aren’t hard to “catch up” with time off. After about 6 months everyone is usually able to be back to the same level of ability as they were before.

    In addition, I have often seen that many people who are in a job a long time are LESS productive than newbies…as they take a lot of things for granted and may not take the initiative to learn new things

    Capabilities and value of the job to the organization should be the main determinants in how a job is valued and the pay given for that position. Not arbitrary concepts such as seniority, tradition or if a boss likes you or not.

  • Anonymous

    Your experience shows a positive change but honestly how many years were you short changed by your employer? I mean you are talking tens of thousands of dollars they kept, or I would say stole, from you.

    Women feel like they have to work harder and ” prove” themselves and their employers take full advantage of it and ride it for as long as they can.

    From my business experience women always staredt out lower in management positions. It is up to the next level of management to level the playing field and pay them equally, and believe me this is not encouraged by Fortune 500 companies LMAO, but honestly if you start behind you will never catch up, so I have to say your experience is an exception not the norm.

    What if every women in your company tried to do what you did collectively?
    It clearly did not happen nor would it happen. Corporate American make sure of that by promoting this Sheryl Sandberg “lean in” narrative which is a complete disservice to workers of both genders.

  • Kevin

    Sounds like you are referring to a low-skill union job, like the one that I have. The “most jobs,” that you are referring to, isn’t where a pay gap persists. It is the top-level, high-paying, high-skill jobs, where experience is very much a factor, where the pay gap exists. You seem to be confusing the “average employee,” with skilled professionals.

  • Anonymous

    I think being in a union used to help do this just fine.

  • Anonymous

    The comments on this board are making one thing perfectly clear: this is a complex issue that begins with the socialization of children from infancy on. Attemps to address it at the corporate end without changing the way we raise boys and girls to think about each other is not going to address the underlying issues. For example, we need to stop teaching boys that the worst possible thing to be is a girl (“Stop crying, you sound like a little girl,” “You throw like a girl,” or “All, right, listen up, ladies!” [an implied insult when addressing a group of boys]). I have heard all these statements made by men AND women when talking to children.

    And until we stop teaching girls that it isn’t “ladylike” to beat boys at games, or to be smart; until we stop telling them that boys don’t like smart girls; until we stop pushing them into pretty pink dresses and calling them “princess” while they are still in cribs; until we stop treating them differently from boys, as if they are inferior to boys – from the cradle up – this problem will persist, and manifest itself in many ways beyond wage disparity.

    But even that wouldn’t be sufficient. We also need to reconsider our “values” as a culture. We venerate money, and all endeavors that lead to the making of more and more money. But we cast aside and denigrate those professions and vocations that help people, that educate and nurture them, as inferior and not worth paying for (the current war on teachers exemplifies this). Until we change our collective attitude and start respecting human values over financial ones, our society – our men and women alike – will continue to fall.

  • Sum1

    I wrote a very lengthy response, it was posted, and now it’s gone. What happened?

  • Anonymous

    Again with the ridiculous concept that hours worked = better salary. UGH. Depending on the type of job (whether hourly or SALARIED) the hours worked is moot. Many jobs (I know this will come to a shock to you…aren’t paid as an hourly wage). Most white collar jobs are salary…so hours worked doesn’t equal more money in the pocket.

    In addition, some people are paid for their ideas…not their time. AGAIN effecting their wages. An engineer or scientist is paid for his/her ideas…not hours on the job. Same with most upper level managers. Same with writers, artists, actors…athletes. Some jobs are paid based on results of their work…sales people, for example.

    However, that does not negate the fact, that women are still (on average) being paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. Why is that?

    Also, regarding the types of work that are valued by corporate America vs those that pay less..YOU honestly believe a nutritionist or a child care worker, or a personal care aid, is LESS valuable to society than is a sales rep at a pharma company? Or a pro athlete is worth MORE to society than a lab tech or a teacher? (eyeroll) No those jobs are worth MORE to the owners of those industries as they (the owners) make MORE from those positions than do owners of those that society needs. (Ever look at what owners of professional sports teams make from their “hobby”?)

    As to supply and demand, I grant you, that will affect wages…however, there are MANY jobs that don’t require special skills NOR where the pool is NATURALLY limited, which pay exceptionally well (high paid entertainers, CEO’s, Executives, etc.) However, the pool is limited UNNATURALLY by design in those particular fields (the talent pool is systemically kept limited). (Not what you know…who you know). There are also many jobs that DO require very special skills, that are paid very low. I don’t know about YOU, but I couldn’t handle taking care of a sick elderly person…it takes a special skill to do that well. Sorry and that skill is innate NOT learned. You have to have the ability to CARE and want to HELP others for next to NO pay. That is a very RARE skill indeed. Dealing with the general public WELL…is another very tough job, that most people don’t do well…hence the awful customer service available at MOST low level customer related establishments. Servers, waitresses, food workers? Again LOW paid, but a really tough job. Most people really don’t succeed at those jobs…hence why turnover is extremely high. But companies and people like you think that is ok…you don’t mind that your server just spit in your food…because YOU don’t value them…or that the cook, dropped your food on the floor and served it to you anyway…he/she isn’t “worth” more. (eyeroll)

  • Keith

    They can legislate fairness, they can not guarantee equality of outcomes.

  • Kevin

    “Fairness” is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Anonymous

    As a woman, I wouldn’t say women “lean back”…they just don’t value the same things that men do, and that is true throughout their lives. I think the phrase “lean back” is inane. If anyone thinks pregnancy,labor, child rearing, and working (as 75% of all mothers works) is leaning back..they are nuts.

    When a woman is in her 20-30′s, she may be contemplating a family. A woman has a biological expiration date for procreation (FACT). A man does NOT…that is going to effect decisions a woman makes in her fertile years (which also correlate with her early career years) than it does a man.

    In addition, if you think 9 months of pregnancy and child birth are fun times…I suggest you never went through it. As such it is quite the trauma on the body and there is a lot of emotional things going on too. Not to a say a woman going through it…can’t do a job too. Of course she can (most jobs aren’t in the over all scheme of things aren’t all that difficult or demanding…other than the TIME they take away from other life issues). Of course a woman can have a family and work…it’s just time consuming and she (just like men) only have 24 hrs a day to work with. To think she can’t work and be successful or productive at work (because she has a family) is an inane proposition, however it does effect her values and what she values and why. A women usually doesn’t define herself as much by her job as do men. For most women the job is a PART of their life..it isn’t their ONLY focus though. Most women, if a mother, with identify herself as a mother first and as a her job/career second.

    Women, more so than men, seem to “:get” at a much younger age…that life is MORE than a paycheck and more than their job. Earning a living, is NOT the same as making a life. However, our economic system does NOT seem to recognize that. I suggest the problem with our systems is that we are too masculine based…to patriarchal rather matriarchal. Perhaps MEN should VALUE women MORE and value what women bring to the table rather.than WOMEN valuing MEN and their ideas or ways, as much as our culture does. The problem as I see it, is the whole situation is tilted more towards MEN’S view of life and paid work…rather than in equilibrium with women’s views of life and work.

    Here is a thought for you to ponder, when going through a “mid life” crisis…what do many men do? Do they go buy a sport car? or other expensive items? Do they take up motorcycling? Do they leave their wife for a younger woman, and father a child?

    What do women do, when facing the same thing? They may leave their families, or seek a divorce to get away from their spouse, but rarely do they (statistically speaking) start a new family, or even get married again. Women, in their middle years…have to deal with menopause…men do not. The physical and biological changes a women goes through are quite different then what men go through. As such, AGAIN at that time in their lives, women look at their lives and career quite differently than do men in the same situation.

    BTW…women live longer (on average) on men, regardless of class or economic health…doesn’t it make sense then that women should in the long run make more than men? But that isn’t the case.

    The whole system is messed up. .

  • Anonymous

    Actually Kevin, I was not referring just to low skilled jobs, but rather most jobs…other than maybe doctors or IT people. The “most jobs” to which I referred, pretty much covers everything. Truth be told, very few jobs really require that much NEW skills or constant real major updating in knowledge to perform the basic day to day work. Clerical jobs, manual labor, as well as professional jobs (such as Accountants, (not cost accounting) but actual CPA’s, engineers, lawyers, supply chain professionals, HR, sales, administrative, managerial, teaching, etc…rarely really require NEW skills from year to year. Not much REALLY changes…once you have the base knowledge. The base knowledge, once learned, is always there…and easily updated.

    As an example, I am an international trade expert. I have an unusual skill set and some rare credentials. I have taken time off many times in my career to pursue other things. The other things, range from taking care of family obligations to going back to school, as well as pursing totally different interests, including starting a company. However, while I was out of the “trade” I still kept abreast of what was going on in my primary field. And I didn’t “forget” the concepts of the laws or the knowledge of the countries of the world or of the way they do business. When I wished to return, I did…and usually at more money than I left at…because my credentials didn’t change I was able to return. Just because I left for awhile, doesn’t mean my base knowledge is forgotten or has changed much. When I have returned, it took me a month or two to get back to where I left off.

    For most professional careers, that is the same, nothing REALLY changes that much. Accounting is accounting. The general accepted accounting principals don’t change from year to year…maybe a few laws get updated, but that is it. For an HR manager, the laws don’t change, nor does how to treat people change…the metrics used to evaluate performance might change…but that is it…human nature doesn’t. The only thing “lost” in that time was the networking and kissing up to the higher ups. Sales is the same, so is management. Once the knowledge and skills are learned they are learned, child rearing or other out of work pursuits don’t change that.

  • Anonymous

    In addition, Kevin, for most upper level jobs….the experiences and “skills” people require for those positions are not just technical in nature. “Soft skills” are important too…such as being able to effectively communicate both in person and in writing, how to “schmooze” and how to work with or lead a team. Those skills aren’t lost with time off either. So again, the meme that “time on the job” is relevant to why there is a pay gap between men and women…doesn’t stand up.

  • David Hoyt

    After reading a bunch of the comments here, I think many DO want it both ways…that’s the “cognitive dissonance”. My opinion, for what its worth, is that women pay a high price for being the child bearers. A guy can work all day come home and have a few beers and feel good about himself. A woman carries a baby for nine months 24/7. She cant “come home and drink a few beers” and forget about it. Men have job hazards sometimes, but every pregnancy is a potential threat to life. The fact that women throughout history are perceived as a precious gift to man is there for a reason, they are! That’s why this whole debate is disingenuous, its apples and oranges. Looking at it another way, affirmative action was/is a way to achieve parity for Africans that were brought here against their will. I know, that’s a debate for another day, but the IDEA is a good one. In the same way, we need to give women a break. Men are the ones that must bequeath this unto women as the present “masters of the plantation”. Its only right that we do this, unless, of course YOU want to be the ones that get pregnant and be responsible for child rearing, hmmm? Don’t laugh, science could make it happen.

  • Kevin

    The skills aren’t new, your ability to perform said skills is what improves, declines, or stays the same. If you reach a point in your career where your skills decline, you will be replaced with someone younger and cheaper. It sounds like you have had no trouble maintaining your skill set, and have been properly rewarded by the marketplace. What are you complaining about, exactly?

  • Kevin

    Surely, not all professionals are created equal. Surely experience is considering when naming someone to the head of a department, or choosing someone for partner, or a c-level position. Your skills might stay the same, and you can get your old job back, but why should you expect the same chance at the type of promotion that leads to the inevitable pay gap between men, people less likely to take significant career time off, versus women, people far more likely to take significant time off. It’s not that you aren’t effective at your job, it’s again, that being there less makes it far less likely that you’ll be advanced at the same rate as someone who is. It’s really that simple.

  • Anonymous

    No it doesn’t Kevin. It truly doesn’t…the ability to sell a product or service to a customer or create a new marketing campaign or new design a more efficient space or vehicle…doesn’t change with time away. Actually it makes people more productive (especially in the professional realm) as they get time to recharge.

    As to my complaint…this subject isn’t about ME…I am an outlier. I don’t expect what I do, or how I to behave or live to be the same for everyone. But it does bother ME that others are suffering or not able to rise to their potential or have economic problems due to antiquated ideas and lack of empathy to their plight. It also bothers ME greatly that we are doing nothing to reverse these problems and are using baloney arguments to further the status quo.

  • Kevin

    You don’t think soft skills can be developed or deteriorated through use and disuse? If you and I have a similar skill set, and produce similar work, yet you take 1/5 or more of your working years off, and I don’t, who is more likely to be promoted to a position with higher pay? You might be as good at your current job as I am, but if we are truly 100% equal in all ways other than experience, than don’t you want the person running the department to be the person who has had the greatest number and greatest variation of experiences while on the job? What factors would you consider when naming someone for a promotion? It seems, whether or not you consider it fair, being committed and present is important to many firms (for whatever crazy reason). I don’t want to work long hours or be married to my job either. That isn’t the career path I have chosen. I’m a talented, intelligent person with lots of wonderful skills, but again, I haven’t chosen to do what is necessary to get top-level jobs. Why should I expect the same treatment as someone who has been working hard for the company every step of the way, instead of at my own convenience, even if my skills are of high-quality? It’s not what you know, it’s how you use it.

  • Kevin

    Your ability doesn’t change, but this isn’t about who is doing their job better. It’s about who is more likely to be promoted to a higher-paying position and why. What do you think should be done? Can I work for 3years, take the next 5 years off, and then come back and say, see, I’m still good at my old job, promote me, immediately to a higher-paying position? Sorry, this makes no sense. You’re good enough to get your old job back, but you’re in no position to advance faster than your colleagues who have been there the whole time, with the same skill sets as you. Women have become too entitled to talk to. I try not to.

  • Keith

    measurable quantities.

  • Kevin

    Well, if two people have similar skill sets, I can measure who I think is better prepared to be promoted to a supervisory role based on the amount of time and output they have given me. Since I don’t think experience has zero value, I’ll choose this person for the promotion. As a result, this person will be paid more over the course of his or her career. Is this person more likely to be a man or a woman?

  • Keith

    depends on the type of work.

  • Nathan Merrill

    By population, arguably; less so by land area, and even less so by economic power.

    Africa and the Middle East are hellholes, sure, but they’re hardly the entire planet.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Because no one actually cares about poor people; we may pay lip service to it, but we don’t actually care.

  • Kevin

    It sure does. Why don’t we just pass laws that mandate equal outcomes? Who even cares anymore? People aren’t going to be happy until we do it. Even then, they’ll find something to complain about. Let women run the show for all I care. Just as long as I get special treatment and consideration when I’m at the bottom. I’ll need all sorts of special help, and time off, and free medical coverage, and equal pay, and a safe, secure workplace/life, guaranteed housing, free public transportation, guaranteed income, and constant support programs and campaigns honoring my plight at “the bottom.” I hope everyone understands why I deserve this, even if I don’t feel like working as hard as everyone else.

  • Nathan Merrill

    It is worth noting that many successful, powerful men want successful, powerful women as partners nowadays; there are lots of “power couples”, and I think the trend is becoming more common.

    One of the aspects of women joining the workforce is that a lot more men are kind of realizing it is a bum deal to do all the work, so the expectation for women is rising.

  • Kevin

    The point is, if culture is what the problem is, why isn’t it a big deal that men are being pushed in a certain direction by said culture? Feminists are nuts. I’m sorry, they are the most entitled, hypocritical, self-righteous nut-jobs around, with the possible exception of religious nuts. It’s a pretty close race for head nut.

  • Kevin

    I meant why are we catering to women, and not men as well? What more would you have us do for poor people? What designates a “poor” person? What sort of cultural changes can we make to improve their plight? Do we not have social programs? Charities? People handing them money on the street? Homeless shelters?

  • Kevin

    So men also want women to make more money? Where’s all of this opposition coming from then? It kind of sounds like you want everything and nothing. No matter what happens or how things are, it must be seen as “patriarchal culture exploiting women.” Either a woman is denied the opportunity to work hard, or she’s expected to work too hard. Either she should make more, or she shouldn’t be expected to have to make more. You guys, just wow. Wow.

  • Keith

    You know you are complaining and whining just like the racists did 40 years ago about the black people when they wanted to be treated equally. Are you so insecure that you are afraid if everyone gets treated fairly you will lose something?

  • Kevin

    How are women being treated unfairly? I would have been the most liberal person on the planet 40 years ago. Things have changed a lot, especially in the past 15-20 years. Insecure? I have no personal career ambition, in the traditional sense, and want women to go as far as they wish. Who and what is standing in their way? Only themselves. If you believe otherwise, please demonstrate this. Explain why.

  • Keith

    I do not need to demonstrate it, it is fact, presented clearly in so many articles over the last few weeks that there is an avalanche of information. The fact that you don’t accept the conclusions is evidence that you do not accept the truth.

  • Kevin

    I accept that on the average, women make less money than men. There are good reasons why, which I’ve explained. You guys are completely delusional zealots. American women are catered to more than any group of people on the face of the Earth. People who choose less rigorous career paths, work fewer, hours, and take more time off will not be paid the same over the course of their career as people who make different decisions. Men and women are not the same, and this is reflected in their choices. There is no common sense left to be found. No substance. Just, “Look, group ‘x’ is different from group ‘y’ by a factor of ‘z’. See, rampant discrimination! Obviously ‘x’ is exactly the same as ‘y’,’ both choose exactly the same path, therefore we should reasonably expect both groups to have exactly the same outcomes.” You guys are crazy. I mean wow. Republicans and their religious nonsense, Democrats and their crazy P.C. dogma. I just can’t believe how nuts 95% of the population is. Common sense, reason, balance, rational thought have all become evil and backward. Down is up, left is right, night is day, black is white. I can’t believe this is real. I’m only 28…I can’t even imagine what things are gonna be like by the time I’m 50.

  • Nathan Merrill

    That’s the thing though: you’re assuming that all industries are the same. They’re not.

    Take the restaurant industry. If you work at Denny’s, you’re completely replaceable – literally everyone at a Denny’s, including the manager, can be traded out for someone else. It is harder to find a good manager (and maybe a good person to be in charge of the kitchen) than anything else, but if someone is just waiting tables?

    Chances are good I can find someone as good as you are.

    If I’m at a four star restaurant, then things may well be different and I’ll be much more interested in retaining my employees, who not only are much more skilled, but also are much more able to go find someone from some other four star restaurant who will snap them up.

    The same applies elsewhere. Google has to worry a lot more about keeping their good engineers happy than they do about some third party contractor who they hire out to for something which is a lot of work but doesn’t require a lot of skill to do.

    Different employees are more or less replaceable, and if you get lucky and get a really high quality employee, you are more likely to make accommodations for them than an average quality employee, and especially than a low-quality employee, who they may take the excuse to get rid of because they want to get rid of them anyway.

    You’re complaining about workers being replaceable cogs, but you’re failing to understand reality:

    Reality is that workers have always BEEN replaceable cogs, and WILL ALWAYS BE replaceable cogs. You are not unique. You are not special. Well, unless you are. And if you ARE special, if you ARE unique – if you’re one of the best – you aren’t replaceable. So if you don’t want to be replaceable, you’d better be one of the very best.

    But the idea that being a replaceable cog is a BAD THING is actually quite silly – the fact of the matter is that people have been replaceable cogs since the dawn of mankind in many areas of labor. If I need another blacksmith, I hire a new one. If I need another construction worker, I hire a new one.

    Some say this is bad for the employee, but it isn’t so by necessity – being a replaceable cog means that you are likely to work at more places, bringing more variety into your life, and also means that the better you are, the more pay you can demand, as you’re a cog better than most of the ones they can fit into the spots. Being replaceable cogs means that there’s jobs opening and closing all the time, so there’s likely a spot for your gear to fit into some other company somewhere. And indeed, if there aren’t enough cogs that are shaped like you, you get more money as a result. That’s really what the “special” people are – either the cogs that work way better in normal slots, or most especially people who are cogs which are shaped like none other.

    The idea that being cogs wipes out the middle class is stupid – people have always been cogs. They were cogs in the past. They will be cogs in the future.

    If you don’t like it, then you need to build your own machine (run your own business) – but even then, you are still a cog, and if you sell your machine you yourself can be replaced.

    And if you can’t, then that’s your own problem; it isn’t anyone else’s fault. We have social programs to make sure you don’t starve on the street or die of diphtheria.

    But not everyone grows up to be an astronaut, and everyone cannot grow up to be an astronaut. But that doesn’t mean that smelting titanium or drilling for natural gas or running a local grocery store or whatever else you do isn’t something which is important, at least to some extent. But the truth is that you are replaceable, and wishing that wasn’t true doesn’t make it any less true.

    If you want to be irreplaceable, you need to have something that makes you irreplaceable.

  • Nathan Merrill

    I never said anything about not doing anything for men, did I?

    I think changing cultural norms will benefit them as well, but that is not the subject of this article.

    As for poor people: if I had a solution today, I’d execute it. People have tried just about everything, and none of it has really worked other than simply making everyone richer and social welfare, neither of which has SOLVED the problem, but mitigated it; there are still poor people in America, but the worst off people in the US is still in the upper third of people around the world.

    To be fair, more prosperity does create fewer poor people; every industrialized nation shows this, as almost everyone is poor in in Africa, whereas in developed nations, the poor are a minority.

    Increasing the minimum wage to living wage might help a little. Discouraging the poor from reproducing would also have a helpful effect; encouraging the poor to have no more than one child per family and to funnel their resources into that single child would probably increase their success. It worked in China to some degree, but in truth, the other reason it works is simply because the most likely person to be poor is someone with poor parents; fewer poor children means fewer people who grow up to be poor adults.

  • Nathan Merrill

    I never said that. This is what is known as projection. Or possibly a straw man argument.

    Escape the dichotomy of binary thought.

    The reality is that I am not an ultrafeminist, and I dislike them.

    However, the truth is that our culture is not truly equal. Nor is it uniform.

    But the problem is mostly not in the form of men keeping down women but in the form of unfair, different expectations. These do not all come from men; many of them come from women as well.

    The choices of people is shaped by the culture that they’re in. Change the culture, and you change the choices.

  • Kevin

    Yeah, I guess the biggest thing for me is things are never going to be “fair,” “equal,” or exactly proportionate. As a member of the Millennial generation, I was raised in a culture where all we heard about was how women could do anything, and were just as capable as men, and on and on, you get the picture. There’s not everything wrong with that, but my point is the culture has changed tremendously. If we want to split hairs for another 20 years, fine, I don’t really care, but I’m not sure that anything we are doing is really helping anymore.

    Raising the minimum wage to a living wage does a great service to those employed in the labor force, but not all of them would keep their jobs. Worse, poor, uneducated people are unlikely to ever be given a shot at a job at $15 an hour. I think I’ve heard through the grapevine once or twice that the U.S. and it’s employers are obviously racist against poor black people for not just running up to their doors and begging them to come work at U.S. firms. I’m not sure a living wage solves this. I’m not necessarily for or against it, just something to consider. Any “fix,” to the labor market will give anyone with a job an employer currently feels is absolutely essential a nicer time, but it will make it that much harder for the unemployed individual to have a job be created or open up for him or her.

  • Kevin

    Ok, forgive me….I’ll bite, what must we do in order to convince (brainwash) women into doing jobs that they currently don’t want to do? What sort of culture changes need to be made? My parents let my sister play with my Legos, erector sets, and Lincoln Logs, and I played Dolls with her with fair regularity. Public schools are dripping with female empowerment. Plenty of girl power on TV. Lots of strong female leads in movies. What aren’t we doing?

  • Nathan Merrill

    Why don’t women have to do the same for men?

    Sexism is prejudice based on a person’s sex or gender.

    Anyway, I never said anything about giving women gifts being sexist (though it can be an expression of sexism, I give people gifts because they are friends regardless of gender; if I was wooing someone, I might increase my gifting towards them, which is legitimate as that is an expression of romantic interest) so I’m not really sure what you’re going on about there.

    But when the expectation is that women stay home and take care of the kids while the male is the breadwinner, yeah, I’d say that is a sexist SOCIAL EXPECTATION. It isn’t bad on the individual level, but when you see it across a large swath of society, it starts to become more systematic and less individual.

    What choices you make are affected by the culture you grow up in. People from different cultures have different expectations.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Why are there few females on the back of garbage trucks? Why are there very few female miners?

    Manual labor. And indeed, it is partially for this reason that a pay gap is inevitable, and also why the very smallest area (Washington DC) has the smallest pay gap – resource extraction jobs are overwhelmingly male, and pay above-average wages precisely because they suck and you need to pay people to go out and dig through rock or sit in a field in the middle of North Dakota drilling for natural gas. It sucks, and no one wants to do it, so you have to pay people more money to get them to go out there.

    Naturally, Washington DC, being 100% city, has no resource extraction jobs (well, practically none – there probably are a handful).

    Why are there very few homeless women?

    This isn’t actually true. 40% of homeless people are female, 60% are male. It is imbalanced, but it is a much smaller imbalance than “very few”.

    The actual cause of this is a combination of many factors. Part of it is indeed sexism; guys are expected to man up and do it on their own, and thus end up homeless more than women, who are more “allowed” to ask for help.

    There are other factors involved as well, including recent male immigrants from Mexico looking for work (though this itself is caused by sexism) and the fact that veterans are about 20% more likely to end up homeless than the general population, and veterans are overwhelmingly male (this is caused by sexism as well, though we’re never going to have all that many female soldiers, I think). Male addicts are another cause.

    On the other hand, women are more likely than men to suffer from mental illness, which does correlate with homelessness; nearly a quarter of the homeless suffer from severe mental illnesses.

    So it isn’t all sexism, though sexism probably plays a role.

    And this is important to understand: sexism cuts both ways. Men are expected to be awesome and self-reliant and not need help from anyone, and thus, when things go badly for a guy, they receive less sympathy than women do and are expected to help themselves out. The same thing that makes men strive for excellence that much harder means that men who fail at it for one reason or another are that much more screwed, as they’re SUPPOSED to be awesome.

    The net effect of this is that the people who are most miserable in our society are likely to be male, just as the people who are at the very top are also likely to be male, and it is caused by the same phenomenon. It isn’t like racial discrimination, which was purely disadvantageous for blacks, because the role for blacks was always below that of whites. The role of women in society is less, and while it is unacceptable to treat women as poorly as you can treat a man (itself sexist), in many segments of society, women are not seen as true equals.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Telling someone who used to be in 4H that they have “spent very little time on a farm” is about the level of intellectual capability I would expect from someone who would make a statement this ridiculous.

    As anyone who knows anything about biology knows, the natural sex ratio for almost every animal population is 1:1. The reason for this is simple: if you ended up with a gender imbalance, then parents who were more likely to produce children of one gender than the other would be favored over them.

    Now, the “real rule” is equal investment in the sexes; that is to say, if you invest three times as much energy into a male as a female, then you would expect a 1:3 male:female ratio. There are other complicated factors which can be involved as well (bees, for instance, show a different pattern because most bees are infertile), but so it is with the world; things are seldom so simple.

    In truth, if you spent any time at all on a farm, you’d know that this is the result of artificial breeding, and that male domesticated animals don’t aid in the raising of their offspring, whereas female ones do. But in humans, as with many species of birds and many other animals, both males and females contribute to raising offspring, and ergo, having both parents present is a very large benefit – studies have shown single parents produce inferior offspring.

    Worse still, however, you’re forgetting that most animals in said herds end up being extremely delicious – there is breeding stock, and there is everything else. The reason we run things the way we do is that we keep the ones which are worth keeping and everything else becomes food; the ones worth keeping and breeding then go on to contribute to the next generation, ad infinitum. It is true that we keep more females than males, because having a bunch of uteruses running in parallel is handy for mass production, but as it turns out that is utterly unnecessary in humans; human offspring require vast amounts of resources, and as such we don’t need rapid, mass population expansion because we don’t eat 90% of our offspring.

    Indeed, modern populations show this same trend; people are decreasing fertility as childhood mortality drops. It is a massive change.

    And indeed, if you TRULY had spent a lot of time on farms, you would know that men are in fact better at farmwork than women are because of their superior physical prowess, and that men end up doing a great deal of very laborious labor. In fact, this advantage is so pronounced that in China and some other countries, female infanticide is practiced to reduce the number of less-valuable female children and increase the percentage of valuable male children in the population; having two sons and a daughter is better than having two daughters and a son, if you’re a farmer.

    Indeed, one woman can pop out a dozen babies in her lifetime, but one woman cannot easily provide for so many, so one could easily argue that the proper ratio was the opposite, and that having more males and fewer females would produce superior results. And indeed, the gay uncle hypothesis of homosexuality suggests that this may be why homosexuality exists – if you have a gay aunt or uncle, they don’t produce any offspring but they’re more likely to contribute to your well-being, having none of their own, and thus as a result the offspring of people related to gay people has a higher likelihood of success. Kin selection is weird like that.

    The reason that we aren’t all homosexual is that the opposite pressure – the pressure to have kids yourself – is probably strong enough to prevent it. Of course, it is just a theory, but it is an interesting one, and an interesting way to think about things.

    But yes, the idea that women are intrinsically more important than men is quite silly and is based in sheer ignorance, and real world population dynamics indicate the opposite – that men are more valuable than women. And to be fair, this is strictly the case if we assume that men and women are equally gifted intellectually; if you have two people, and one of them is stronger than the other and they are otherwise identical, then the one who is stronger is just better, because there is no way in which they are inferior and one way in which they are superior.

    But that is neither here nor there.

    In the real world, a 1:1 sex ratio is an ESS, and it is where humans are at, so the idea that you can really get rid of large portions of either gender without suffering for it in the long run is almost certainly false, as if it were possible, we would have most likely evolved that way.

  • Nathan Merrill

    I think there is a sufficient amount of evidence to suggest that more adults were raised in a sexist environment than not based on decision making mechanics exhibited in the population, as well as differences in behavior which cannot be attributed to genetics.

    I doubt most people did it on purpose. Most people who are sexist don’t think of themselves as such, the same as how most racists don’t think of themselves as such.

    As far as the rest of it goes:

    How do I justify “It’s not about money” being a cultural value? Because it totally is a cultural value. Some people will tell their children that they need to make as much money as possible. Other people will tell their children it is about having a job and then having a life outside of it. Some people will say the most important thing is to love your job, so that no matter how much money you make, you aren’t miserable because you’re doing something you love.

    I see this time and again. It is totally a cultural value. People say these things, people act these ways, and how they behave is influenced by how their parents and peers taught them to behave.

    Most people have very limited agency. It is not that they could not have more, but that they exercise very little of it.

    I am belittling nothing. What you are doing is grasping at straws and trying to create strawmen.

    It is a societal issue. It isn’t just parents. It isn’t just peers. It isn’t just teachers. It isn’t just children’s entertainment. It is a large number of factors added together. This is why I kept using the word “culture” time and again.

    But no, you have to be right. Guess what? You’re wrong. You’re wrong about what I think, you’re wrong about reality.

    You want to win an argument on the internet and are whining and arguing and yelling and making up strawmen.

    Your claim is that this is not cultural. I point towards incontrovertible evidence – the extremely large change in female employment, as well as choice of major, which changed within the space of a single generation – which says that this is something which is extremely strongly influenced by environmental factors, of which culture is almost certainly the most important.

    To claim that the present day imbalance in choice of profession is caused by phyisological differences between people in the modern era, you must prove this. And you have absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support this in general. In physical labor, yes, I get it, there are physical differences and due to the nature of said jobs we should expect there to be some sort of pay gap – and likewise, in areas where said jobs don’t exist (Washington DC) we should expect the pay gap to be smallest (and lo and behold, it is – women in Washington DC make the closest to male wages). We should likewise expect to see more egalitarian states to have smaller pay gaps than less egalitarian states, and lo and behold, only one state out of the top ten in terms of pay gaps votes for Republicans (Arizona), and only two out of the bottom ten vote for Democrats (Wyoming and Michigan – and Wyoming only recently switched over).

    This is the pattern we should expect if some portion of the pay gap was caused by cultural sexism.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Well, first off, talking about “strong female leads” is kind of misleading; there are plenty of STRONG women in movies, but not very many strong WOMEN.

    Or to put it another way, they aren’t very strong characters, and aren’t really a sign of female empowerment. Something like My Little Pony is, ironically, a much better form of female empowerment.

    I think that in the long term the changes are more or less inevitable, and the less people whine about the destruction of femininity and masculinity the faster it will tend to happen, but I can’t really say that for sure.

    Not everyone was raised in a sexist environment; just more people need to be raised in that environment.

    I doubt we will ever get rid of the pay gap entirely, but it could be better.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Well, it is often said that people are frequently caught fighting the last war, and I think this may be a major problem in the feminist circles of today, as they’re taking up the whole thing from the 1970s, where women really were getting shafted via very active discrimination, and bringing it into the 2010s, where said discrimination is very unacceptable and rare. It still definitely happens, and people get riled up every time it does happen (and frankly, that’s probably okay), but people generalize it to the whole population and that’s probably wrong.

    The biggest problem today is a difference in expectation by society, but I think that is fading; I know as a fellow millenial that our generation is much less dichotomous than those which came before. I know this because people find housewives to be a bit weird – like, not their parents being housewives, but their peers being housewives, that just strikes them as odd.

    But this isn’t true across the whole United States, and there are definitely places where it is more or less true than other places. The creepy chastity balls you see sometimes in some places in the South and Midwest are a great example of this.

    I think over time this will decline.

    And I know that a living wage isn’t actually going to completely fix things. It will make things better for some poor people. A few poor people will lose their jobs as a result, though the numbers will be pretty low – Australia has a MUCH higher minimum wage than the US but isn’t really suffering for it in any sort of obvious way.

    I see it in part as a means of preventing some corporations (most notably Wal*Mart, but others as well) of forcing the taxpayer to subsidize their workforce – that is just wrong. If you have workers, you need to be paying them adequetely, and not saying “Well, these guys are totally poor and need food stamps.” What Wal*Mart does in that respect is unacceptable. This is another reason why I am for socialized health care – it means that people can’t skip out on paying for it in various ways. If it is included in taxes, you just have to pay for it, and corporations do have a duty to keep the workforce healthy – it benefits them, too.

    And quite frankly, as far as uneducated people goes: I’ll be real honest here. I think that in the long term, uneducated people are mostly going to be screwed. There’s really no way around it. Every year, mechanization becomes more and more attractive, which means every year, automation becomes more and more prevalent. I go to the grocery store and I check myself out of it, with one guy watching 8 checkout stations. And people love it; almost everyone avoids the actual manned cash registers, and late at night, the lone person at the only register they keep open has no work at all most of the time when I go there; the people who are there that late all check out their Doritos and soda themselves.

    They’re screwed, and lowering minimum wage won’t really help, because eventually they’re just not worth keeping at any sort of wage which isn’t heavily subsidized by the government. We’re better off just having them on welfare and the companies do the automation and create the high end jobs and let the uneducated people be without value. The high end jobs are the ones that create the most wealth per capita, and thus are much more valuable than the low end jobs, and if that means in the long run some percentage of the population is unemployable, that’s the way it is. We’ll make sure they aren’t starving on the streets or dying of diptheria.

    We retrain those who can be trained into jobs that are more valuable, and we use policy to reduce the production of said people – encourage more people to go into college or trade school or what have you or otherwise gain skills that render them useful in some capacity or other. Discourage the poor from having lots of kids – provide free birth control and abortions if we have to, they’re both way cheaper than having someone else on welfare. Encourage them to have one kid, like the people in China did, and invest their resources in them in an effort to raise them out of poverty, but just having fewer poor kids will reduce poverty because the primary contributors to the poor population are poor adults having poor kids.

    Its the way the future is going to roll, and trying to resist it is pretty futile. If a business is employing people, then it needs to stand on its own two feet at least, not be doing so out of government charity. If the government wants to run big social employment programs, like, say, hiring a bunch of people to resurface all the highways, or build high speed rail (clearing tunnels, ect.) or setting up better internet infrastructure (I am 100% for this – I think we need a Rural Internet Act, like the Rural Electrification Act, and get everyone in America on fiber connections), I’m all for that. But we shouldn’t be subsidizing private businesses in this fashion; we shouldn’t pretend something is a private business when it is subsidized by government wages. If the government pays contractors to do that work, fine, but the contractors need to be paying their employees adequately directly.

    And honestly, if something isn’t worth having done at $10.10 an hour, I have to question why we are paying someone to do that work in the first place.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Incidentally, as far as further LEGAL remedies go, I am VERY skeptical. We already have some protections in place for women, and they act as a significant deterrent, I think.

    It should also be remembered what the Americans with Disabilities Act did – the purpose of the bill was to force employers to accommodate employees with disabilities. The RESULT was that employers just stopped hiring disabled people – people with disabilities are vastly more likely to be unemployed today than they were prior to the advent of the act. You never, ever want to do that when you’re trying to help someone.

    Honestly we probably need to get rid of parts of that act precisely because of the negative effects it has had – its heart was in the right place, but in the end, it screwed the disabled more than it helped them as far as work goes, so that bit, at least, needs to be rectified so that employers start hiring more disabled folks. After all, being jobless sucks.

  • Kevin

    That’s all well and good, and I don’t much care, but don’t you think that traditional masculinity and femininity rose out of very real biological differences? This is where I really have to shake my head. Where do you think marriage originated and why? Again, do you know about things like sexual dimorphism, the endocrine system, etc.? I’m not trying to insult your intelligence, but progressives seem not to understand that men are larger, stronger, and more aggressive on the average for biological reasons, and women are more passive, weaker, and smaller, on he average. Do you know what testosterone is? Do you understand how this might influence men to behave a certain way, and partake in activities that are different than what women might take part in? That these biological differences influence how a person is likely to feel and what they expect? I mean, I feel dumb having to say all of this, but people honestly seem not to be able to understand this nowadays. We’ve intellectualized away gender as anything more than a social construction. This is complete hogwash. Men and women aren’t the same, no matter how much you want them to be. Just as people who were and are members of an interbreeding population will have different proportions of certain genes than members of a different interbreeding population. This is what we call an ethnic group. Yet, it is merely “culture” that must have just been assigned at random to all of these creatures that are otherwise exactly the same biologically that influences all of their capabilities and behaviors. Basically, an alternative reality has been created. It’s called P.C. I’m sure that you’re aware of it. Do you think people looked at each other thousands of years ago and said, well we’re all exactly the same, so let’s create a bunch of cultures and trick ourselves into thinking we are a certain way when we aren’t. Where did the culture come from? Surely, you are also aware that not all people placed in the same environment will perform the same or make the same choices. You guys are delusional….creating problems where there are none, but that’s the whole schtick. Your only job is to point out “problems.” It’s up to everyone else to “fix” what is “wrong.” Since, for whatever CRAZY reason, things don’t get “fixed” to your liking, you can blame the people who think you are nuts for standing in the way of your “progress.” Men and women ARE NOT THE SAME. One group of people is not the same as another group of people, and should not be expected to perform the same. This isn’t nearly as complicated as you are making it. The gap could be “better?” How will you, oh omniscient puppet-master, string-puller, keeper of secrets know when we get there? What if we don’t? What if we can’t? What if running propaganda for your cause 24/7 still doesn’t get things done? Why do you care how many women are engineers? If you liberals really want to fix a problem, go clean up the oceans, they’re a mess. That’s a real problem, only the solution is concrete, not abstract, so it involves actual work, and no one wants to do it. All of the “problems” that you harp on are abstract and unsolvable. I have no love lost for religious zealots, true racists, homophobes, etc., but you lot are an especially contemptible bunch.

  • Kevin

    You’ve summed up your whole flawed ideology. Good intentions vs. bad results. Just get out of the way and let people make their own choices. They are capable. If you truly thought people were the same, you’d trust them to make their own decisions, but you don’t, you think that some groups are inferior and need your help and guidance. You don’t know what’s best for them, sorry. “Progressives” care so much it hurts. Back off.

  • Kevin

    So you’re suggesting that $10.10 is a living wage? Most progressives would disagree. I’m fine with a $10 minimum wage, though conservatives would find it too high, and progs would complain it was too low. Everyone’s a nut.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “why do we expect every demographic of obviously very different people to have the same jobs, wages, and work experience?”

    Who expects this? Where was this said in the article OR the comments?

    Strawman, no argument.

  • Kit Kimberly

    Working 40 hours a week to put money in someone else’s pocket isn’t required for the survival of the species either,

    YOUR argument is specious.

  • moderator

    Kevin,

    You have made your point of view quite clear, many times over. Please move on, as your comments are starting to come very close to breaking our comment policy.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Kevin

    Haha, men vs. women? You guys are so clueless and you don’t even know it. You guys think men and women should have equal outcomes. This is a ludicrous expectation.

  • Kevin

    Forgive me, this is fair of you to ask, however, I am only replying to people who reply to my comments who seem to need clarification.

  • moderator

    Kevin,

    I totally get it, and I will put out a general message to everyone. From experience, I like to jump in here so everyone’s message stays clear without personal stuff coming in. We encourage a strong back and forth, I just hate to see it go bad and then have to remove people from the discussion and delete comments.

    Thanks
    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    To the community,

    Just a reminder to please read our comment policy before commenting. We encourage discourse, but have no tolerance for personal attacks.

    Thanks,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Kevin

    No doubt, I said what I had to say and then some. Thanks.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “You guys think men and women should have equal outcomes.”

    Who said this? Cut and paste.

    Again, strawman, no argument.

  • Kevin

    Well, then what is it that you are after?

  • Kevin

    Isn’t calling for the same pay, regardless of experience or any intangible quality, asking for an equal outcome? If this isn’t what you want, you must just want to complain. I really need to stop responding, the moderator has asked me to stop, as I have started to slip into personal insults a bit, and he/she is right, I’ve crossed the line a bit. If complaining makes you happy, go on doing it. Perhaps it’s just time I stopped listening.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “Isn’t calling for the same pay, regardless of experience or any intangible quality,”

    Cut and paste where someone did this.

    More strawman.

  • Kevin

    I’m involved in other to-and-fros where it’s come up, but since I’m not willing to look for it, I’ll just allow that it was never said if you’d like. But again, if you don’t expect equal outcomes, what are you after? To me, it seems like you just want to be able to shout, “No fair,” and receive attention. What would make it fair? What aren’t we doing?

  • Kit Kimberly

    Equal pay for equal work, and recognition of the fact that, hey, bearing children and continuing the species IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN almost any job (especially in a patriarchal capitalist society) and so should be taken into consideration so that women receive EQUAL compensation throughout their lifetimes and don’t die in poverty.

    The single largest demographic in the US living in poverty is elderly women. That is because they took time off from their careers to have kids, and received NO economic compensation for it.

    One of Hugo Chavez’s most successful and popular programmes was to ensure that childcare and homemaking were recognised for the essential elements of society that they are, and to make sure women were paid for it.

    So, barring any other compromise (which the white male patriarchs just seem completely unable to comprehend or develop), a Bolivarian Revolution seems called for in the US.

    ;-)

  • Keith

    I would expect that by the time you are fifty you will no longer believe that you are the smartest person in the room and know everything,

  • Nathan Merrill

    Well, your work puts money in both your own and other peoples’ pockets. That’s the nature of work.

    By working together we are much more productive.

  • Nathan Merrill

    It is close. The reality is that living wage varies by location. It is living wage for an adult in most of Oregon.

  • Nathan Merrill

    So you’re good with keeping slavery and segregation?

    That’s people making their own choices, after all.

    No?

    So yeah. People make very stupid choices. Some of them are very stupid choices which affect a lot of other people.

    People aren’t capable. That’s just reality. If you want better results, you have to make better people.

    People’s choices are strongly constrained by culture. It is just reality.

    And hey, you are being a hypocrite. You are saying let people make choices for themselves, but discouraging me from making the choice for myself to change things for the better.

  • Kevin

    No, slavery is a forced arrangement, not a choice. I still don’t understand what it is you are doing to make things “better,” but good luck to you.

  • Kevin

    Well, what is the actual minimum wage in Oregon?

  • Kevin

    But that’s where the manipulators, meddlers, and planners come in. You guys think that you are the smartest people around. You think that you know what is “best” for everyone. I think people should make their own decisions. I don’t think I’m the smartest person in the room, I just know that a committee of bureaucrats, politicians, and well-intentioned activists don’t usually know what is best for individuals.

  • Kevin

    So these women don’t have access to their husband’s retirement money? Social security? Medicare? Child support? State aid for single moms? These situations aren’t even remotely teh fault of the woman and her choices? They aren’t capable of obtaining part-time work? You should get paid to stay home and raise your own children? Really? Old people might have been the most impoverished group decades ago, but that is definitely no longer the case. Who should pay women to raise their own children, taxpayers? Honestly, it has become a financial liability to have a relationship with a woman. Nothing is really expected of them anymore. They are merely victims of circumstance in a cruel game. You’d think that men conspired at the beginning of time to force women to have children. Motherhood is an extremely important job, but why should other people pay you to raise your own kids? As a non-greed, selfless, benevolent progressive, surely you recognize that the best things in life are free, not everything can have a price put on it, and certainly a choice in your personal life isn’t a “job” in the traditional sense. Are you going to advocate that an equal proportion of men are “allowed” to stay home and get paid to raise their own children? If you want to live in a socialist country like Chavez’s dream-world, might you choose to live their instead of bringing his ideas here? Again, I notice “fairness” seems to completely leave men out of the equation. I can’t imagine why.

  • Kevin

    As I recognize Moyers as being rational I read this article and not a single valid point was made. It was stated women were “punished” for their choices, again defining going to a job you would quit the second you won the lottery as better than what you would do if you did win –spend more time with family.

    It also stated this lower pay was a punishment. The implication being that taking 5 years off to raise children should NOT affect salary. This means that people should be paid not based on their career path but based on their mere existence. That is ridiculous.

    It would mean a woman who dedicated herself to career and one who took 5 years off should be paid the same.

    We need to make sure people in the same situations are paid the same. But the wonderful opportunity to win the lottery of raising your family is not a punishment.

    On the other hand going to a job you hate to support the husband or wife at home who spends the day with the children they love….that may be punishment for the worker.

    It is time to top micromanaging justice to the point we become the problem.

  • Eric Scoles

    It didn’t state that women were punished for their choices — it stated that women were punished for the biological fact that they bear children.

    … which, I understand, you’re trying to de-couple from the social fact that women bear a disproportionate share of the responsibility for rearing children and caring for sick or elderly parents. Those are CHOICES, you’d say. They can CHOOSE not to do those things.

    Of course, when women CHOOSE not to do those things, we dismiss them as horrible human beings, but hey — they still have that CHOICE….

  • Eric Scoles

    Most of the time the salary RANGE paid to a position is decided before the hire is made — but the SALARY is decided during the negotiation phase. And the range may well be $10K in the private sector. So initial hires can in fact easily end up earning 90-80% of what other initial hires earn — and data does show that happening on a pretty consistent basis to women.

    And women do also typically get lower periodic raises. The cumulative effect is that yes, in fact, the woman in the next cubicle from me, if she’s doing exactly the same work I do and has similar seniority, is probably making about 85-90% of what I’m making.

  • Eric Scoles

    What I’m seeing is that you had to harangue them to get equal treatment.

  • Anonymous

    Perfectly said! As I watch the influx of men into the nursing profession (I have been an RN for 34 years), I notice that they tend to flock to the higher-paying specialties, such as nurse-anesthesia. Of the 14 CRNAs at my hospital, only ONE is a female. Just as men tend to make up a majority of school principals, men tend to either seek, or are appointed to, leadership roles in traditionally female professions. They don’t want to do the grunt work, but they want the dollars.

  • Nathan Merrill

    $9.10 per hour presently.

  • Kevin

    Doesn’t sound too far off of the $10.10 minimum you put forward. I guess progress takes time. I wouldn’t think there is a ton of opposition out there. In any case, I’d be more concerned with the minimum wage, logging, and the shorelines in Oregon than I would be about not enough women choosing to work full-time, demanding, high-paying jobs in the science and technology sector. Though I agree, a degree in engineering is much more useful than a degree in sociology, American studies, English, or (laugh) Women’s studies. I wonder why women in these departments didn’t have the foresight to get their Ph.D. in mathematics?

  • Kit Kimberly

    “So these women don’t have access to their husband’s retirement money?”

    What if they didn’t marry? Why should they have to depend on a man?

    “You should get paid to stay home and raise your own children?”

    Yes. It’s fulltime work.

    “Who should pay women to raise their own children, taxpayers?”

    Yes, if they want a society that will be viable when they get old.

    “Are you going to advocate that an equal proportion of men are “allowed” to stay home and get paid to raise their own children?”

    Sure, who cares who it is as long as they do a good job.

    ” If you want to live in a socialist country like Chavez’s dream-world, might you choose to live there instead of bringing his ideas here?”

    Have done. It’s better. Why should I keep that to myself? I’m out to share with all women that they don’t have to live by patriarchal rules and oppression!

    “it has become a financial liability to have a relationship with a woman.”

    Then don’t. We certainly don’t need men like you in our lives.

    And it only takes ONE man and many women to continue the species ;-)

    We really DON’T need you.

  • Kevin

    Why would that one man pay for all of you to lounge around all day? If a woman didn’t marry, and she didn’t work, isn’t welfare enough to keep her going? Why is she entitled to more money than that? Basically what you want is full protection from anything simply because you have a vulva. I’m not suggesting that you need me for anything. Why should I have to pay you to do nothing? If being a mother is a full-time job, you can understand why women aren’t as successful in the working world as men. It shouldn’t be a big mystery. If you want somebody to pay for your children, generally you signed a contract where he had a monopoly on your sexuality and you a monopoly on his surplus labor. You want money for nothing, plain and simple, and you already get it in so many ways. Why do you deserve more?

    What socialist country did you live in? Sweden? They are a mixed economy like we are. Why did you move out of Venezuela or China, Cuba, North Korea, etc, if you liked it there better?

  • Kevin

    I get that you don’t need one man anymore, but that’s only because you rely on the state as your man. You think that the one thing women do well as compared to men (give birth to children) elevates them above men. You are a common prostitute. ‘Pay me “x” wage as insurance against pregnancy for sex. If pregnancy results, you owe me a permanent wage…eve into retirement. But also give me all of the best jobs, and the leadership positions, but I’ll need special help along the way, and I don’t feel like working as much, and I’ll definitely need lots of time off. Oh, and as I’m incapable of filing for the social security, welfare, or child support I’m already afforded, or *gasp* getting one of those jobs I said I wanted, you’ll have to give me a state funeral as well.’ Poor pregnant women, If only abortion, birth control, the Plan B pill, or abstinence were options. Life is just a cruel joke on the women that men were born to serve. Please can I buy things for you? Can I make your life easier? Can I drive you about town, oh strong one? Feminists are a truly pathetic bunch. Just innocent victims, incapable of providing for themselves without the state. It’s funny how as “equal,” as you are, (though you seem to think women don’t need men at all [how do you plan to get money]), none of you are capable of making decisions for yourselves and dealing with the consequences.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “Why would that one man pay for all of you to lounge around all day? If a woman didn’t marry, and she didn’t work, isn’t welfare enough to keep her going? Why is she entitled to more money than that?”

    What does that have to do with anything I’ve said or anything in the article or anything in the comments?

    Your MRA synapses have gone FLOT BOT.

    “If being a mother is a full-time job, you can understand why women aren’t as successful in the working world as men.”

    Being a PARENT is a full time job. What, did men just create a bunch of useless tasks (like shuffling money around via computers, which doesn’t feed, house, clothe, educate, or help ANYONE be a better person) and then claim the $$, because they think they can’t parent (they can; in nonpatriarchal societies, men do as much of the childcare as women).

    If you don’t think bearing, caring for, educating and nurturing the next generation is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB, there’s seriously something wrong with you.

    Maybe I’ve discovered the problem with MRAs.

    “What socialist country did you live in?”

    Czechoslovakia.

    “Why did you move out …” How do you know I did?

  • moderator

    Kevin and Kit,

    Please move on, and before commenting again please read our policy first.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    Kit and Kevin,

    Please move on, and before commenting again please read our policy first.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Kevin

    It is an important job. It’s easiest to do the job when you are in a secure financial situation. It’s not up to others to provide you with said situation.

    You said that one man is enough to keep things going. I agree, but I thought I’d ask why he would provide resources to all of you? The rest of us certainly wouldn’t. This is why you need the state (all of us) to just give you money.

    Moving money around might not “feel” like it matters, but it allows the world to function. Maybe you can get food, clothing, shelter, superfluous items by bartering using one of your surplus children that you expect other people to pay for?

  • Kevin

    So I can be told that I’m not needed (other than to give away my hard earned money to people who think they deserve it more) in this brave new world where women just expect to be given money, regardless of what they feel like doing, yet I am unable compare people who expect money (from people other than their husbands) for sex to prostitutes? I keep getting the same 3 people replying to me, I’m not trying to stir up trouble.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “Maybe you can get food”: Grow/raise it, forage, gather it.

    clothing: make it, have done for years

    shelter: build it

    Moving money around serves no useful function for the natural world.

    Childbearing and raising is absolutely ESSENTIAL.

    I feel no need to address the other ASSumptions you brought, that have not been mentioned/referred to by me or any other posters.

  • Kevin

    From you:

    And it only takes ONE man and many women to continue the species ;-)

    We really DON’T need you.

    Then you quoted me:

    ” If you want to live in a socialist country like Chavez’s
    dream-world, might you choose to live there instead of bringing his
    ideas here?”

    Have done. It’s better. Why should I keep that to
    myself? I’m out to share with all women that they don’t have to live by
    patriarchal rules and oppression!

    Doesn’t ‘have done,’ suggest that you no longer live there? Czechoslovakia isn’t even a country anymore.

    That’s like me saying I used to live in Yugoslavia and it was great. Why not the Holy Roman Empire? Prussia? Persia? That used to exist. Although, you seem like you would have been more at home in the USSR. Socialism at it’s finest.

    If you can make all of your own stuff, and you don’t think commerce serves any purpose, than you’ll forgive us if we choose not to just give you money for nothing other than you doing what everyone is supposed to do: raise their own children. Next, people will want a medal for not becoming obese. How about a reward for graduating high school? A new car for learning how to read? The bar just gets lower and lower with you folks. You want other people to pay you money, for doing what you are supposed to do. Wow. How about a cookie for avoiding prison? It’s ESSENTIAL for a person to learn how to read and stay out of prison if they want one of those top jobs feminists are after. It’s imperative to avoid murdering people if you want to be a good global citizen. Perhaps we should pay people $20,000 a year to not kill people…better yet, for not killing their own children.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “than [sic] you’ll forgive us if we choose not to just give you money for nothing other than you doing what everyone is supposed to do: raise their own children.”

    No, everyone is not supposed to have children, and why should a physics genius like Marie Curie raise children when her mind can help humanity in so many better ways?

    In the world you want, women will stop having children– with your kind of disregard and illogic, why would we want to (a) raise YOUR children and (b) have any desire to help create a world where people like YOU can live comfortably.

    But yes, in fact, the most civilised societies in the world are actually considering mandating a living wage for ALL persons, just for being alive.

    A much better prospect than living in the world you would create.

    Now, the moderator has asked us to move on and so I will do so.

  • Kevin

    I don’t think that everyone should have children. I don’t want children. I want women to make their own choices. But if you do have children, you need to pay for them, not me. I make $15 an hour moving boxes for a living. I am not entitled to $15 an hour for doing nothing, just as you are not entitled to some of my $15 an hour to raise your children. You already will be getting some of it through welfare, food stamps, section 8 housing, etc. If that isn’t enough, maybe a job is just what the doctor ordered.

  • Kit Kimberly

    Yet another post that is absolutely irrelevant to the article AND does nothing to address any of my arguments/points.

    Nor do you seem to be able to read/comprehend/comply with the moderator’s request to “MOVE ON”.

    What IS it about you MRAs that you can’t even interact outside your own limited understanding of the world?

  • moderator

    We have a zero tolerance policy for hate speech. If you choose to attack another member of the community using foul language you will be banned.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    The way for men to be liberated from the primary financial responsibility of taking care of his wife *is* to compensate women through some socialistic means for childrearing and family caregiving.

  • Anonymous

    I actually don’t agree with your premise that a person is better at a job for being in the office without a physical and mental break or the input of new experiences.

  • Anonymous

    In some tech companies where I’ve worked, employees do get sabbaticals. Sheer volume of time does not equal useful experience when balanced against rest, learning, and reflection – especially for a knowledge worker who’s already got years or decades of experience.

  • Anonymous

    Are lunch breaks and bathroom breaks “subsidized”? They are worked into the structure of the system because they are normal human bodily functions. Bearing children is, too. The decision to leave it out of the norm because only *women* do it is just that – a decision. Likewise the decision that since Mom is home with the baby, she should take care of Granny, too, and none of this should be “subsidized.”

  • Sous Jersey

    I didn’t say vacations should be outlawed. I just wondered who gets to draw the line at which “time off with pay and seniority” is a standard perk?

  • Anonymous

    The way that “time off and seniority” are framed is a political decision, of which working mothers are not the only casualty (and may not even be the primary target). Why are people rewarded for the lifestyle of continuous structured full time work independent of performance.

  • Nathan Merrill

    It shouldn’t be, and it not only creates a disincentive for people to hire women of child-bearing age, but it also incentivizes child-bearing by rewarding women with money for doing it. That’s not the message we want to send people; the government and business have no reason to subsidize childbearing.

    Lunch breaks AREN’T subsidized by law, and in fact most companies do not give paid lunch breaks. We do have, in this state at least, the requirement of a 10 minute paid break every four hours or so if you work at least X many hours (I think it is 5 or 6 hours minimum to qualify) because it benefits both the company and the employee (working too long continuously ends up hurting many people’s ability to work efficiently).

    But this? This only benefits women who want to pop out kids.

    And remember, the Americans with Disabilities Act tried to force people to subsidize things for the disabled, and the net result was fewer disabled people getting hired.

  • Anonymous

    Lunch breaks are not subsidized but the workday is structured so that people get to eat. A workplace that is structured around a prototypical “worker” who does not give birth or have to care for other people essentially does not include the whole of HUMAN reality in the norm. The norm becomes “people who can offload all that pesky caregiving stuff,” as opposed to “people, male or female, who may or may not have to care for children or elders.”

    And exempt workers do not get or have to take the kinds of breaks you describe.

  • Nathan Merrill

    Someone who takes a lunch break or whatever is still working for you that day.

    Someone who pops out a baby isn’t working for you for months at a time.

    It is a rather big distinction.

  • Anonymous

    You are not getting that the ebb and flow of “months at a time” off is not unique to having babies. You are focused on a narrow, Taylorized view of work period. Taking a degree program, writing a book, or climbing Mount Everest would also represent months at a time off. I’d speculate that employees who engagevin such activities bring the benefits of their expanded general knowledge to the understanding of both work content and customer needs in most jobs above the very lowest level. Furthermore the human race. *in the aggregate* reproduces. That needs to be worked in *in the aggregate*.

  • Nathan Merrill

    If you choose to have a kid, you have to pay for that yourself. Simple as that. Everyone else should not be responsible for that decision that you, personally, made.

    Employers aren’t going to give you time off to do most of those things unless you’re very valuable to them. Write a book? You have vacation time and evenings. Climbing Mount Everest? Won’t benefit my company at all, or indeed most companies, and the only reason anyone would let you take a leave of absence to do that is if you’re especially valuable when you are around.

    Taking a degree program? Some businesses actually do pay people to do this and support them in doing so.

    So what does this tell us?

    That taking a degree program is something companies see as being inherently valuable for their employees to do and thus they subsidize it.

    Most of your life experiences are worthless to your employer, quite frankly, and the fact that you are conflating something worthless (climbing Mount Everest) with something very valuable (furthering your education) shows your fundamental lack of grasp on the shape of the situation.

  • Anonymous

    What part of your comment policy were you referring to?

  • moderator

    Hi susieque2,

    My comment was a general warning as things were getting out of control last week. It in no way was aimed at you. Thanks again for participating and please keep contributing.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    If Mayor Bloomberg had been around to ration his drinks and take away his cigarettes, FDR might have given us a somewhat different version of The Four Freedoms

  • http://www.wintersretouching.com/MyBlog/ AndyW

    My graphic interpretation of pay inequity. http://www.wintersretouching.com/MyBlog/2014/mad-men/

  • http://moozoo.dyndns.org/ Michael Simmons

    I strongly agree with equal pay for equal work. I just want to note the following.

    1) Women marry up (just as men seek younger attractive women). I’m not passing judgement on this, but it has a follow on effect that it puts a lot of pressure for men to negotiate for a higher wage..Women do this so that they have security in being looked after while having and raising young children.

    2) Women have many more life style options than men. That has some value. Very few men have the option of being a stay at home dad. To devalue men who might want this role do is to devalue the role and hence the women who do it.

    “So our economy punishes women for the biological reality that they bear children”
    Bringing children into the world, loving them, growing them into adults is one of the greatest joys in life. And women are so lucky (due to biology) to have the greater role in this.

  • CamelP

    Or we could, you know, legislate to make this a non-issue? The US is pretty alone in the western world when it comes to having no parental leave guaranteed by the law. Take Sweden for example: 480 days of parental leave which can be distributed among the parents as they see fit, with 60 days being non-transferrable to the other party. Why would you not want this?

  • Anonymous

    Sounds good, but usually if it’s mostly transferable, the woman ends up taking most of the leave. (In my opinion this is partially because of sexist beliefs held by both men and women, and partially because the man usually has a higher paying job)

  • CamelP

    Yeah, unfortunately that will largely be the case, however I think it’s better to tackle the root of that issue directly and not through increased non-transferrable parental leave since that is very inflexible to individual situations.

  • erik J

    I am missing something or doesn’t FMLA law require family leave to be offered? That is a glaring error in the story http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/

  • http://moozoo.dyndns.org/ Michael Simmons

    “But if you do have children, you need to pay for them, not me”
    And the human race goes extinct.
    It is a completely selfish belief. What if your mother and father had thought the same.
    The fact is we are all living on the shoulders of all the people who came before us. Countless people who chose to spend years of the lives raising children who then went on to have children of their own.

    “you only need one man and many women”
    Genetically that won’t work. who are the children suppose to mate with…each other…
    You would need to collect a large amount of sperm from a large number of men andstore it crogenically.
    You would have to abort the more than 50% that are male. And then when it ran out breed a large number of men to recreate your sperm bank.

  • Kevin Moore

    Of course the gender pay gap exists. So does the gender WORK gap!
    http://www.work-equity.org

  • Fred Pauser

    Wow, what a biased article! My age is 72. I have watched the pay-gap issue for decades. I’m an “equity feminist” – for equal rights, equal opportunity, and equal pay or equal work!

    Fifty years ago there certainly was a pay gap due to discrimination. The gap is now
    .77/1.00 which I suppose is correct. BUT to say that women are being paid that much
    less for equal work is a lie; and to say the gap is due to discrimination is
    also false. Only a very small part of the gap has to do with unequal pay or
    discrimination (if any).

    Warren Farrell was elected to the board of the NY branch of the National Organization
    for Women (NOW) – perhaps the only man to have been so honored. But he began to
    disagree with them about the pay gap issue. Eventually he researched the topic
    very thoroughly and even wrote a book on it called, Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do About It.

    You can also find some of Farrell’s talks on YouTube. Get the truth.

  • C Jones

    Actually, according the the National Coalition for the Homeless:

    “Most studies show that single homeless adults are more likely to be male than female. In 2007, a survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that of the population surveyed 35% of the homeless people who are members of households with children are male while 65% of these people are females. However, 67.5% of the single homeless population is male, and it is this single population that makes up 76% of the homeless populations surveyed (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2007).”

  • Andrew Ulrich

    So if you agree that the wage gap is the result of choices being made by women, even having a child choice…. then what exactly is your problem? Wasn’t the big hoopla over the wage gap about how women weren’t getting equal pay for equal work, therefore it was discrimination? If that’s been disproven, then there is no issue. Why should a company have to literally pay for their employees’ personal choices?

    And starting a family IS a choice. Nobody is forcing anyone to have children (except rapists, but that’s a whole other issue). Most adults recognize that choices have consequences. By maternity leave’s logic, women shouldn’t be punished for choosing to start a family, right? Well hell, why shouldn’t men be insulated from that choice too? Why not give an instant pay raise to anyone having a family, because children are going to inevitably take a huge chunk out of their paycheck right? We can’t have anyone face the consequences of their own actions!

    Or we can stop treating women like children who have to be protected from everything, even themselves. They’re adults capable of making decisions, so I’m going to go with that.

  • Andrew Ulrich

    Just so you know, I don’t view a woman who chooses not to have children a “horrible human being” and I don’t know anyone who does.

  • Andrew Ulrich

    “Everyone else is doing it” isn’t a valid argument to me.

    Why wouldn’t I want paid maternity leave? Because why should a company be punished for the personal choices of their employees? When you sign up for employment, you’re promising to be a productive worker who helps the company turn a profit. In return you get a paycheck. You know who isn’t being productive? Someone at home not working. I’m all for being granted maternity leave for a set amount of time with your job being guaranteed when it’s over, but getting paid for not working? Unless you’ve been injured and the company is at fault, I see no reason why companies should hand out free paychecks.

  • CamelP

    So what if it’s a choice? This is a social safety net that can significantly improve people’s quality of life and help them avoid very bad economical situations. It being in place clearly works well in many countries without the employers having big issues with it.

    By your logic, why should I let an employee come back to my company if they’ve had a child? They made their choice, they were away for a long while on maternity leave, when they signed up I expected them to be productive.

  • Andrew Ulrich

    People got along just fine without all the social safety nets we have today.

    Unpaid maternity leave still allows people to start families, but doesn’t penalize the company much because they have time to deal with you not being there. It’s the same concept of vacation time only you’ll be gone much longer, therefore you shouldn’t be paid. My logic is that the guarantee of your job still being there when you’re ready to come back is enough of a safety net.

  • CamelP

    I don’t agree that your proposal is the same concept as vacation time, as we get 25 days of fully paid vacation guaranteed by law here, and companies are doing just fine. We both think that there is a middle ground between employer’s revenue and employee rights, we just advocate different ends of the spectrum I guess. If we can improve people’s standard of living and health and if it is feasible to do so from the employer’s standpoint (which I argue it is, as shown by the examples of Germany, France and other countries) then why not?

  • Dennis Markham

    Gag me with a spoon! When a man creates a child, we think he’s made a social parasite that he damn well has to pay for (ie child support) and if not he’s an irresponsible pig. But when a woman makes a child, she’s keeping the human race going and should be rewarded, right? Hurting her pocket book would be oooh so cruel.

    Women aren’t “punished” for having children. While they lose pay from work (disadvantage), during their time off they are able to receive money without working (privilege). It’s like saying the trophy house-wife of a millionare is disadvantaged because she never takes home a single cent in pay…ignoring that she’s reaping the fruits of a CEO salary doing the kind of labor that would normally earn minimum wage.

  • Kit Kimberly

    What century do you have the misapprehension of believing it is?

    I know NO women of my generation who “married up”– we married for affection and compatibility or we didn’t marry at all.

    As many men have the option of being “stay at home dads” as women have the option of being “stay at home moms”. When pay/benefit equity is reached, men have even more options.

    Yeah, women are so lucky that the government has more laws regarding our uteri than it does for guns.

    Please.

  • DavidByron

    Are you admitting feminists (and you) are lying about the 20% wage gap being for equal work then? If so why should we believe a word you say after you’ve admitted you’re a liar?

  • Owen Murphy

    OKAy, first off, you never disproved anything, just as you claimed perry and biggs did (they actually did). Second off, you claim that our economy “punishes” women for having children, but that is simply not true, when women have children, they work less hours, causing them to earn less money. Thirdly, when you say “In 2001, Karen Kornbluh estimated that women’s earnings drop by 7.5 percent with a first child and 8 percent with a second. ” you have outdated sources, a lot has changed since 2001, so I suggest you find a more up to date source of information. Lastly, you claimed “women make less, even in female dominated jobs” which is not true, for the reasons that the other guy claimed (ie. men work more hours, and therefore more experience, women take care of the kid more than the father even with married couples, and in divorced situations, the mother usually gets the child, being the sole provider, and working less hours) so in female dominated jobs, those reasons are amplified (because there’s more women) so that’s why there is a “pay gap”

  • Kit Kimberly

    marry up
    vb (adverb)
    1. (tr) to join
    2. (intr) to tally or correspond: the reactor did not marry up to his expectations.
    3. (intr) to marry someone of a higher social class than oneself

    Which the poster makes clear by his ” it has a follow on effect that it puts a lot of pressure for men to negotiate for a higher wage..Women do this so that they have security in being looked after while having and raising young children” comment.

    But in fact, almost all of the women I know who have married or are in long-term partnerships are with men who are younger or the same age.

    Strawman.

  • Jennifer Fox

    FMLA is not offered by all employers as there are guidelines for its use. What’s more, not all employees qualify due to restrictions. I’ve never been in a position to use FMLA and was therefore fired for having a child. If I was a man and adopted or had a wife bearing my offspring, there would not have been an employment issue. I worked on call, days,nights, 72 hours a week til my emergency c-section. Yes, that’s fair. Another poor life choice.

  • James

    The one problem is when Democrats host an “equal pay day” and they pass laws demanding equal pay for men and women, it is no longer “a complex issue that begins with the socialization of children from infancy on” It’s a political stunt with real life consequences for businesses.

  • Ikari

    A brave riposte, sir knight. The distressed maidens you hath rescued shall be offering their moistened loins to you in great numbers, surely!

  • http://www.groverbeachbum.blogspot.com/ Neil

    Pay equity will be reached when women, in masse or at least on average, are willing to marry men who make significantly less money than they do and/or who want to help take 50% care of the family(which will result in less money). So far, even though the number of such men is growing every year, very few women are willing to do this, preferring to chase men of higher status and be the primary care giver, or at least preserving her OWN options while giving little thought to their partners’ options.

    All of these things are driven by the freely made choices of women, not men. If women ever decide to choose differently in large numbers, things will change.

    But so many women, especially liberal ones, have a lot of trouble taking responsibility for their own decisions, much less bothering to care about the choices of others.

  • Whothehell Cares

    How many of your married female friends married men who earn significantly less than they do ? Curious.

  • Whothehell Cares

    You must associate with really ‘horrible people’ if they judge others as being a ‘horrible human being’ for simply not having children or not doing what ‘they’ expect others to do.

  • Kit Kimberly

    “”Everyone else is doing it” isn’t a valid argument to me.”

    Everyone else who has a better standard of living, better life choices, is happier in their society, is better educated, has less violence and less gender inequity … yeah, that IS a valid argument for me.

    Unlike US Americans, the rest of the world doesn’t view corporations as having rights and feelings. Corporations exist to make the 2% richer. Period.

    Anyone who is stupid enough to align their own personal values with the “rights” of a corporation deserves exactly the dehumanising elements that society will bring.

  • Kit Kimberly

    ” Women earn 98% to 101% of what men with similar education and experience do for the same job, which is statistical noise.”

    Reference, please. From a peer-reviewed, verifiable site, not some MRA blog.

    And btw, when women DO try to negotiate for higher salaries, whether in the hiring phase or later, they are penalised for it, often don’t get the job, and/or (if they are already in the company) labelled confrontational, problematic, demanding, bossy, et al.

    It’s lose-lose for women all the way around.

  • Kit Kimberly

    In the patriarchal mindset, they’d prefer EVERYONE lose if they can’t overtly WIN.

  • Kit Kimberly

    Well, I, like most people on this planet, care more about people than businesses.

    If it hurts business but helps people, then that business wasn’t run properly to begin with.

    Business/corporations/whatever are here to SERVE PEOPLE, not the other way around.

    Hello!

  • Kit Kimberly

    So why is that almost all of the “industrialised” nations and even some of the “developing” ones manage to do it better than the US?

  • Anonymous

    Women that opt to work less and so make less on paper, have at least half of what their partner is making. Its because of that extra income stream that women have the luxury of the choice to work less.

    The gap likely works in women’s favour because wage gap doesn’t control for that, child support, alimony, womens extra health care and so on.

    Its time to stop listing to the endless tale of woe from rich feminist women.

  • James

    But business’s are people, they are owned by people, they employ people, they do business with other people, they sell to other people

  • Anonymous

    Bill, Bill, Bill.

    Your neurologist called. Your Aricept prescription is ready for your nurse to pick up.

    Do some more coloring and then nap time.

  • Anonymous

    If my parents thought the same, I wouldn’t have to live in such a horrible world to begin with, so that would’ve been unselfish of them, really.

  • michael borg acosta

    Woemn want to marry up it doesnt matter who its how it is, women want security and who else can provide that than awealthy or at least a very well of guy with a 40+ hour job who rakes in100k a year. Yes in our generation men are lessmlikely to make high earning than women and soon maybe women will make more money than men in general. Women refuse to be with a man who makes less than her they want a tall dark and handsome man who makes more money than her with a good job a house a car and a social network. Men like that are become less and less available. Unless women stop putting their standards so high they will be alone forever. Men since the beginning of time have married down and its ingrained in our society that if a man doesnt do it he is superfacial assholr yet women are expected to get the rich and wealthy man always. They also want alimony, child support and half of the mans wealth once divorce another reason why I will never get married, and women who ask me if I will I tell them up front I wont.

  • Anonymous

    One is only expected to work somewhere between 24-26 hours per week. The reason I say between 24-26 is because it goes by yearly hours, and, I’m assuming doesn’t consider vacation time, so I adjusted it weekly considering between 0-4 weeks vacation per year. Another exception, the employer must have 50 or more employees.
    Many states have enacted litigation to supplement FMLA law. Some may still not qualify, though, this law is not specific to men or women. It applies to both mothers and fathers. If it is flawed, which it is, it is so on a human rights level, not women’s rights nor men’s rights for that matter.
    Looking at things through the lens of dichotomy is one sure way to skew perception of, or even acknowledge, details and variables.
    So, what I see here in this particular article, as is the case with arguments with dichotomies as their platforms, is that people inadvertently, or intentionally, strawman dissenting arguments in order to make their own points against the strawman, avoid the topic so that certain arguments no longer need to be addressed, or defame whomever they’re arguing with. There are so many things wrong with this tactic, but most importantly, by its very nature cannot lead to progress in forming logical opinions. The purpose for debates is to demonstrate an argument. It cannot be done through the use of logical fallacies.
    So, the argument they’re attempting to demonstrate to be false is this:
    There is a pay-gap of X percent between male and female workers within the work force, working the same jobs.
    For one not to consider as many variables as possible when purporting something like this is not only dishonest, but ethically wrong.
    Hours worked, physiological differences, and personal choices are important variables, among other things.
    Women and men both have problems specific to them, and society is no perfect angel. But demonizing, generalizing, and stripping groups of their individuality is not the proper way to go about fixing problems.

  • Anonymous
  • SonofaGlitch

    Let’s grant the benefit of the doubt and ignore the fact that most of the studies that support this come from Women’s organizations who really can’t be considered unbiased. Let’s also ignore the findings of economists who insist that this is mostly due to choice, again and again.

    So then, what’s the proposed solution? Do you artificially raise women’s wages simply because they’re women?

    That seems like a fairly sexist concept. But then, what do I know?

  • http://www.stepkid.com Brandon Adamson

    Yeah modern women aren’t attracted to money and power at all. Get real.

  • Michael Gauthier

    Saying that women are FORCED to stay home to take care of children, while men are allowed to spend more time at work, is about as true as saying that men are FORCED to work longer hours, while women are allowed to spend more hours with their children. That is, they’re both equally true. The choice to consistently choose one narrative over the other is influenced by gender politics. We accept what women tell us about gender because they’re, for all intents and purposes, the only ones talking about it. Men, unless they agree with the prevailing memes, are strongly encouraged to be silent. We’re supposed to check our privileges, while women are encouraged to ignore theirs.

  • Michael Gauthier

    You have every right to bear children, or not. I don’t support your right to force me to subsidize them. Men don’t pay a price for children? Wrong. Men pay the price of working longer hours, and spending less time with their families, so that women can work fewer hours and spend more time.

  • Michael Gauthier

    As many men have the options of being stay at home dads? See, right there, I have a serious disagreement with you. Your saying it’s so doesn’t make it so.

    As for the laws about your uteri, you have choices about bearing children. Men are bound by law to support the children that women have a choice about bearing, simply because it’s in women’s financial interest. We’re told it’s because it’s a woman’s body, and that was always no more than an excuse. The main reason women want to be able to choose abortion is to avoid the responsibility and expense of raising a child. That’s a responsibility that women want to continue to see forced on men, because it’s in their – women’s – interest.
    What women usually say about this is that men shouldn’t have sex if they don’t want the responsibility to support the resulting children. Only women should be allowed to have sex, without the responsibility for children.

  • Michael Gauthier

    You and your friends make a very small pool to judge from. It’s necessary to look at the overall trends. The overall trends say that you’re wrong.

  • Michael Gauthier

    The only reason to subsidize children is because they’re of benefit to our society as a whole. But, we have over 7 billion people on the planet, with the full effects of global warming still before us. How much longer will more children be a good thing? Is it a good thing even now?

    Fewer children = more women free to work more hours, so as to further enrich the 85 people who own as much wealth as half of Earth’s 7 billion people. We survive as a group, yet we focus almost exclusively on our own wants and needs. That really does seem like a recipe for disaster.

    Do women have a greater drive for children than men do? If they don’t, then maybe it’s time to stop forcing them to have them. If they do, then maybe that’s women’s burden, the same way it’s men’s burden to want sex more than the people they want to have sex with.

  • Lauralye

    Nowhere in my comment did I say anything about anyone “subsidizing” my kids. My point was that work that is stereotypically done by women is devalued, as evidenced by the fact that stay at home dads are called “lazy.” Also, stereotypically female work such as nursing, teaching, and social work doesn’t pay according to its contribution to society. These jobs are extremely important to all of society’s well being, yet the work is devalued and as a result doesn’t pay well.

  • Jay from Philly

    Until recently I lived in the city and my neighborhood had the most matriarchal society in world history—the Black urban ghetto—on three sides. They were cesspools of crime, blight, poverty, and broken homes. Women raised the children, ran the homes, and earned the income. The biggest sources of income were drugs and social programs.Their highest priority was the self-esteem of Black men. I recently moved into an area with the most patriarchal society in North America–the Amish–as neighbors. Everyone’s friendly, crime is VERY low, the local economy prospers, and we pay more in taxes around here than we take in. If you asked an Amish woman about how much she suffers because she was a forced slave to the patriarchy she’d look at you like you had nine heads, and rightly so.

    So men are not the source of all the evils of the universe. Deal with it.

  • Kit Kimberly

    ” men are not the source of all the evils of the universe”

    No one said they are.

    You understand neither patriarchy nor feminism.

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    This condescension and misogyny masked in admiration and jealousy is not fooling anyone. FYI.

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    WHAT?! Pay equity will happen when po’ folks stick together? …the fuck’s wrong with you? Stop masking your hatred of women and your involuntary celibacy as intellectualism…..you’re not fooling anyone!

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    Yeah…women can all just choose not to have kids and then we can go extinct. YAY!

    No one would dare ask a man to choose between career and fatherhood…..

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    Spoken with all the intelligence and class of a typical white male.

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    Fetuses are people. Corporations are people. Women are cattle. Haven’t you learned that yet?

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    So maybe we should look at the reasons why that might be instead of going, “Sorry, bitches, it’s your fault you don’t make more.” I sincerely hope some woman doesn’t find you repulsive and you have children and that at least one of them is a girl.

  • Katie MunchmaQuchi Smith

    Yes, I’d love to read about how the mistreatment of women doesn’t really exist and results in those three or four pesky things that make men’s lives unpleasant…..as opposed to the millions of things that make women’s lives unpleasant. Just admit you hate women. You’re not fooling anyone.

  • Jamie Joy Houck Gatto

    We are HALF the POPULATION. Being a woman doesn’t automatically make one biased. Sasly there are women who don’t agree that women are actually people, too.

  • Jamie Joy Houck Gatto

    Until you are able to conceive and carry a human being to term like 95% of ALL women of a certain age are able to do you can stop the pathetic straw man analogies.

  • Jonathan Small

    Note: I am a different Jonathan.

    So Jamie, in what way is Windham’s comment a “pathetic straw man” analogy? Taking more leaves is discriminatory against the work force. Being a man I was paid less when I changed jobs after a long gap. In fact my pay was pathetically low for two reasons – 1. There was a gap. 2. I was changing profiles. I initially was very unhappy but later had to accept the situation as is and had to strive for a better paying job. I still haven’t succeeded but I am still on the lookout. In most of the companies I go for interview, the HR personnel are always female. And they pick on this “long gap in my career” to find an excuse to offer me a lower salary. Sometimes interviews are scheduled on week days, so I have to take a leave and go for the interview and the HR females frowns upon the idea of giving me leaves. So yes, it was a mistake for me to have a gap in my career because corporates have only one thing in mind – “profit”. And a person who can work like a robot 24×7 is preferred. So I am sorry if you feel that someone pointing out a flaw in an argument is somehow using “straw man”.

  • Jonathan Small

    That’s an excellent point Audubon!

  • Jonathan Small

    Intellectual Gymnastics! Wow Joshua! Such a delightful choice of words. Of course it takes some intellectual gymnastics to see through the so called “research” of feminists. No matter what, if a person discriminates against the work force, he/she will not be rewarded but punished. There are plenty of cases when men had to go through issues like divorce, accidents, treatments etc causing them to take leaves or resign and rejoin at a later time. They get penalized heavily for it. Staying away from the work force takes a toll on the skill set of the person irrespective of gender. Just try this experiment. Go for a programming course and get certified. Program for about 6 months and then stop it. Then try to do coding after 6 months and see what happens. It looks unfair that women get paid less because they take maternity leave. But don’t you think taking any type of leave affects the skill set?

  • Jonathan Small

    There a media hoopla because quasi-communism (which is what feminism is) requires propaganda to be in place. They want to push a concept no matter what unless it is accepted.

  • Jonathan Small

    Do you even know what a straw man means? Almost all women I know have married up. And so do the women they know as well. It’s a global phenomenon. Just because a few women don’t fit that doesn’t defy the majority. And spending is another aspect connected to this. Most of the money created in the economy are spent on women and their products. Just look at the sheer number of options available to them in terms of healthcare, beauty care, vanity among other things? And think about the amount of money men spend on things just to impress women. As Warren Farrel said, “Power is not in who earns the money, it is on whom the money is spent.”

  • Irina

    I hate to agree with the folks at AEI but they did debunk it. So a boss should support my lifestyle choices like having a baby and taking off. Let him or her support my golf habit. If women work less or take off more for WHATEVER reason they get paid less. How is that discrimination. You want state day care from birth? How is that good for kids? If women dislike it let them be careerists with dad at home but these are choices couples Dont make bc like it or not women choose to be with kids more than dads. I don’t like the idea that I should support people’s life choices. People act like they can’t have kids without 100,000 a year. Come on. The reason for the decline is culture a perception of immense material need. Kids don’t crumple without material excess and endless enrichment activities. It was weird to read an article where a myth is debunked and author says it isn’t because being feminist means paying women the same even if they don’t perform the same. That’s degrading. Creating this sense of entitlement wont help families because we earn MORE than in most other countries. I’d rather see absolute pay kept higher.

  • Irina

    My spouse worked at Goldman for three years and his boss was a woman. Granted a single woman but he said she was really good. He also said she was balling once. It’s a high stress long hours field which puts off many women. The typical work week there is 60 hrs.

  • Irina

    Completely agree. But maybe they’re referencing single moms. But that in almost all cases is also a choice. Feminism is about choices.

  • Irina

    But Childless kids do pay school taxes

  • Irina

    I mean adults

  • Irina

    The American pay is much higher so we could offer paid annual leave and lower wages or reduce other welfare benefits. I believe in child tax credits but maternity leave forces employers to foot a large bill when if their employee is valuable to them they’ll do it anyway

  • Irina

    I have observed women wanting universal prek and not wanting to stay home. Universal prek never showed a single benefit other than making overly academic kindergarten less of a shell shock. Only one universal prek showed a longer term effect and in that case parents were made to come in two to three times a week. It was in a low income area. More and more I don’t get the western idea. Where I grew up kids were forced into terrible day care. I hated it. The upside was my parents got home early. It was not sustainable though. Not enough was being produced with such work hours and planned economy

  • Falcon D. Stormvoice

    Not a rational response.

  • Steve Scott

    So do people that homeschool their children. Have you looked at what your taxes pay for? The average person probably doesn’t use most of the services that they pay for.

  • Anonymous

    Of course that doesn’t mean they don’t hire women or successful ones at that, but it does clearly show that they aren’t exactly the best on equality as compared to men and women. The fact is the financial field is still primarily men so yes if you are going to talk about the gender pay gap it makes sense you’d find it there as opposed to say the nursing industry where equal pay is not an issue of the sexes.

  • sickofOmom

    I’m a woman & I’m sick of bureaucracy preventing mobility not this myth, debunked, real or not, whatever! I worked for a non-profit uber liberal social service agency and because of these crap laws, a female superior to me used every trick in the book to get out of working hard. And, because she had a degree & i didn’t, she succeeded. All this legislation does is create loopholes for weasels like this lady, using FMLA, ‘that time of the month’, prescription addiction, you name it, to get out of performing tasks I would’ve given anything to take a shot at & know I would’ve been phenomenal. Freaking shame