Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Gender Pay Gap

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.

Miller explains:

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.


Sam L. said...

They see things the way they'd like them to be, and are continually aggravated by the fact that people and life disagree with them.

Sam L. said...

Those people refuse to go along, those bazztards!

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Feminism has become a philosophical and political surrogate for prostitution. Men have always had sexual choices because of the world's oldest profession. Now women have options that provide financial security, with no concomitant risks. And we're all so much better off, aren't we?

Ares Olympus said...

The pay gap, whatever its reality and cause is an intractible problem to measure or solve. At best you might hope the same job at the same employer with the same experience level ought to earn the same salary independent of gender, and this seems to be more true than you might expect it to be. At least within engineering, new salary offers seem to be based on industry standards, yet with experience it does seem male engineers are more willing to ask for more, and actually professionals in general will have more leverage if they are willing to relocate for a best offer, while perhaps women are more sentimental and want to stay closer to family, OR in a two-career family, once spouse, more the husband might earn more and if he needs to relocate, the wife has less choice in what employers offer to be in the same city or metro area.

I agree, I don't think women care about the status of high salary as much as men, and women are more likely to choose fringe benefits like flex time over higher salary and more responsibility.

And I don't have any idea at all how to deal with lower salary for traditionally women-held occupations. And again it can come down to leverage, so women have to be more willing to walk away from jobs that pay too little, and as long as there's more women who will step into those jobs, the salary will be suppressed.

I remember in college a woman who was a Literature Major suggested I read a few books, one was Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own"

The idea I extracted from the book was the question of why all the good books in history were written by men rather than women, and her conclusion was that men in history had more spare time to devote to writing, so a woman writer really needs a fixed income to have the security to be able to focus on writing, and well, a room of her own.

Oh, here it is:
The title of the essay comes from Woolf's conception that, "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". Woolf notes that women have been kept from writing because of their relative poverty, and financial freedom will bring women the freedom to write; "In the first place, to have a room of her own... was out of the question, unless her parents were exceptionally rich or very noble". The title also refers to any author's need for poetic license and the personal liberty to create art.

The essay examines whether women were capable of producing, and in fact free to produce work of the quality of William Shakespeare, addressing the limitations that past and present women writers face.

I won't comment whether J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series represents the best in literature, but it shows women authors of children's fantasy books can become very wealthy by hiding her gender and writing about mostly male characters.

Sam L. said...

Like, say, Jackie Collins did. Though I don't think she was single.

Dennis said...

I have often wondered if men are such bad people why so many feminists are trying to be men. Does this not create a dissonance that ultimately leads to confusion and unhappiness? It must be horrible to grow up as a young female in today's society with feminists degrading everything that is a girl and pressed to be more male like while feminists condemn males. And one wonders why young women are unhappy and depressed?
Imagine constantly being told that that what you think you want is not what is allowed by the feminist goddesses. Imagine the confusion for mothers who want to be mothers in this kind of environment. And one wonders why large numbers of women want nothing to do with feminism? Though the writer understands the need and importance of being a girl she takes the path of female empowerment as the real goal. There is nothing wrong with being a girl or a boy. We should revel in being who and what we are for we serve as two sides of a survival unit that can meet the exigencies of life's challenges and succeed and prosper. Something we cannot without each other.

BruceZeuli said...

How about we assign dollar values to non-work activities and then compare total compensation rather than paychecks? As a self employed person I have to do exactly that. I can work 7 days a week 365 and did in my single days. But I got married, had kids and cut back my hours. So I willingly traded dollars for something I valued more. My paycheck is lower but my total compensation is higher in my judgement. I don't feel like a victim. So how about we try to respect women who make the same choice? Maybe their paycheck is lower but whats the dollar value of family time?

Gospace said...

I work in skilled labor, paid by the hour. Everyone, man or woman, with the same time on the job gets the same hourly rate. Yet, the few women in the field I have known, year after year, make less then the men over the course of a year. Because every time you call them for overtime- they decline. 8 hours of overtime every so often over the course of year adds up significantly.

Sam L. said...

Bruce, you ignorant ....(h/t, Dan Ackroyd. Feminists WILL NOT accept any thinking or argument that does, could, or might go against them.

Dennis said...

Sam L.,
That is why feminists gave up on trying to give well reasoned argumentation for their positions and went to STFU. Sadly, the same is true for most leftists.