In the feminist dream—or, illusion—men and women should be equally represented at all levels of the workforce. There should be as many women as men at the top, at the bottom, and in between. If there are not enough women executives or male veterinarians, it shows that sexism is still alive and well.
And yet, it never seems to work out as feminists wish. In reality, as more women enter an occupation, men start avoiding it. Thus, individual choice produces a gender disparity.
Why should this be so? For several reasons. When more women enter a profession it becomes a pink ghetto, where men are disparaged and demeaned. When more women enter an occupation it becomes associated with caregiving, not competition. And companies are inclined to pay competitors more than caregivers. When more women enter a profession it loses status and prestige. Thus, the men who remain within it become less attractive to women.
When your daughter looks for a husband is she more likely to be drawn to a physician or to a male nurse?
You can call this sexism if you like, but it is absurd to ignore the real implications. Aspects like… who would a woman be more likely to choose as a husband— a man who is working in a field that is male dominant or a man who is working in a field that is female dominant.
Naturally, academics are all over this issue, because they think that it shows evidence of sexism. God forbid!
Claire Cain Miller offers the evidence:
A striking example is to be found in the field of recreation — working in parks or leading camps — which went from predominantly male to female from 1950 to 2000. Median hourly wages in this field declined 57 percentage points, accounting for the change in the value of the dollar, according to a complex formula used by Professor Levanon. The job of ticket agent also went from mainly male to female during this period, and wages dropped 43 percentage points.
The same thing happened when women in large numbers became designers (wages fell 34 percentage points), housekeepers (wages fell 21 percentage points) and biologists (wages fell 18 percentage points). The reverse was true when a job attracted more men. Computer programming, for instance, used to be a relatively menial role done by women. But when male programmers began to outnumber female ones, the job began paying more and gained prestige.
For all I know, these jobs involve more caregiving and less competition. They might also allow for greater flexibility in terms of time and engagement, thus being more congenial to women who have responsibilities for child care. Perhaps, when the workplace opened up to more women more of them chose occupations that seemed to be the best fit with their psychology and their responsibilities.
This ought to be well enough known. Apparently, the grievance industry is impervious to fact. Miller reports the results of other studies:
Women have moved into historically male jobs much more in white-collar fields than in blue-collar ones. Yet the gender pay gap is largest in higher-paying white-collar jobs, Ms. Blau and Mr. Kahn found. One reason for this may be that these jobs demand longer and less flexible hours, and research has shown that workers are disproportionately penalized for wanting flexibility.
One needs to be cautious here. People who work less will receive fewer good assignments. People who work less will put in less effort on their jobs. People who want more flexibility will probably receive less pay and fewer promotions. It isn’t a penalty or a punishment, as Miller has it, but a fair and just allocation of resources, allocation that has a direct relationship to contribution.
Yes, women sometimes voluntarily choose lower-paying occupations because they are drawn to work that happens to pay less, like caregiving or nonprofit jobs, or because they want less demanding jobs because they have more family responsibilities outside of work. But many social scientists say there are other factors that are often hard to quantify, like gender bias and social pressure, that bring down wages for women’s work.
A woman who wants to have a home life, who wants to have a husband and children will make decisions that allow her to have those. If she works in a highly competitive field, if she gets in touch with her masculine side, if she does not have time to make a home or to raise a children, she will most likely receive compensation that is similar to that of men. But, at a price: men will find her less attractive, less nurturing, less caring, less likely to be a good mother.
Of course, feminists think that it’s all a social construct and that women must now be encouraged to be engineers while men should be encouraged to pee sitting down. They do not seem to understand that a woman who chooses to become more masculine might within her profession, be seen as an interloper, threatening the ethos of the profession and the prestige and the compensation of the men who are working within it. One or two women will not make very much of a difference. But there is a tipping point where a sufficient number of women will turn the profession pink.
Ann Friedman of New York Magazine has also been pondering the fact that women who have families tend either to drop out of the workforce or to diminish their commitments to their jobs-- as though, to anyone but a feminist blinded by ideology, this would be difficult to understand.
And yet, Friedman has a solution. It answers the age-old Freudian question of what women want. If you think that women work less because they cannot do two important jobs at the same level of commitment and intensity or if you think that women work less because they want to spend more time with their children, you would, by Friedman’s lights, be wrong.
Women are not motivated primary by a desire to be good mothers, to be good wives and to make homes for their families. Not at all, bunky. What women really, really want is: money!
Thus, Friedman suggests that the way to retain more women in the workplace is to pay them more, even when they take time off for maternity leave.
I emphasize the point. To the feminist mind, women are not honorable individuals who seek to fulfill their obligations to their children and their homes. Not at all. They are venal creatures who can be bought for a few extra dollars. They will happily spend less time with their children if only they are paid a little more on the job.
If I had implied as much about women, I would be roundly denounced as… I don’t need to tell you what.