Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Equal Pay for Unequal Work

How are young women drawn into feminism? Often enough, they are told that women in the workforce earn significantly less than men?

They are told this as though it were an established fact, and as though it proved that the workplace was inherently discriminatory, against women, among others.

Since everyone agrees that equal work should be rewarded with equal pay, you arrive at the point where you believe that the marketplace is fundamentally unfair and that only government intervention can bring equality and harmony to it.

Naturally, this will lead to a massive number of new regulations, the better to create a situation that is really nothing more than a figment of someone’s imagination.

When listening to these pseudo-facts, you should always ask yourself what consequences would follow from accepting them.

Our economy is swooning; unemployment is unacceptably high. Do you think that the country now needs more government control over the economy?

Besides, whatever made you think that an economy was supposed to produce a situation that corresponds to a feminist vision of equality. Economies regulate the production and distribution of goods and services. They are not in the social justice business.

It would take a rather extreme and radical leftist to imagine that an economy should be devoted to producing anything resembling equality.

If we to look more closely at this seductive argument, we should first remark that, when all is said and done, there is no such thing as equal work.

Two secretaries do not do equal work. A marketing manager and a truck driver do not do equal work. Equal work is a fantasy.

As Kay Hymowitz explains today, the so-called gender gap is more fiction than reality.

Women do make less than men, but if you take account of all the other factors, whether it is choice of profession or amount of time on the job, the gap narrows, and even shrinks into irrelevance.

In truth, Hymowitz argues, you only have a gender gap because only women are mothers and because mothers would prefer to spend more of their time with their children.

Feminists might think that motherhood is but a social construct, and they certainly have an illusion about equal parenting, but real mothers CHOOSE to work less and to spend more time with their children.

This is true even in countries that offer every kind of child care and all of the flextime options that are dear to feminist hearts. It even happens in countries where men are supposed to be Mannies.

So, it’s all about CHOICE. If a woman chooses to end a pregnancy, her CHOICE is considered the height of feminist virtue. If she chooses to spend less time on the job because she wants to spend more time bringing up her children, her CHOICE makes her a traitor to the feminist cause.

Go figure.

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