Thursday, 10 April 2014

Wall Street Journal: 'The Pay Gap Is A Myth'

By And Andrew G. Biggs
April 8 is "Equal Pay Day," an annual event to raise awareness regarding the so-called gender wage gap. As President Obama said in the State of the Union address, women "still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns," a claim echoed by the National Committee on Pay Equity, the American Association of University Women and other progressive groups.

The 23% gap implies that women work an extra 68 days to earn the same pay as a man. Mr. Obama advocates allowing women to sue for wage discrimination, with employers bearing the burden of proving they did not discriminate. But the numbers bandied about to make the claim of widespread discrimination are fundamentally misleading and economically illogical.

In its annual report, "Highlights of Women's Earnings in 2012," the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that "In 2012, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $691. On average in 2012, women made about 81% of the median earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers ($854)." Give or take a few percentage points, the BLS appears to support the president's claim.

But every "full-time" worker, as the BLS notes, 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 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. Many working mothers seek jobs that provide greater flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible hours. Not all jobs can be flexible, and all other things being equal, those which are will pay less than those that do not.

Education also matters. Even within groups with the same educational attainment, women often choose fields of study, such as sociology, liberal arts or psychology, that pay less in the labor market. Men are more likely to major in finance, accounting or engineering. And as the American Association of University Women reports, men are four times more likely to bargain over salaries once they enter the job market.

Risk is another factor. Nearly all the most dangerous occupations, such as loggers or iron workers, are majority male and 92% of work-related deaths in 2012 were to men. Dangerous jobs tend to pay higher salaries to attract workers. Also: Males are more likely to pursue occupations where compensation is risky from year to year, such as law and finance. Research shows that average pay in such jobs is higher to compensate for that risk.

While the BLS reports that full-time female workers earned 81% of full-time males, that is very different than saying that women earned 81% of what men earned for doing the same jobs, while working the same hours, with the same level of risk, with the same educational background and the same years of continuous, uninterrupted work experience, and assuming no gender differences in family roles like child care. In a more comprehensive study that controlled for most of these relevant variables simultaneously—such as that from economists June and Dave O'Neill for the American Enterprise Institute in 2012—nearly all of the 23% raw gender pay gap cited by Mr. Obama can be attributed to factors other than discrimination. The O'Neills conclude that, "labor market discrimination is unlikely to account for more than 5% but may not be present at all."

These gender-disparity claims are also economically illogical. If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar, a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%. They don't ignore the opportunity because it doesn't exist. Women are not in fact paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.

Administration officials are (very) occasionally challenged on their discrimination claims. The reply is that even if lower average female pay is a result of women's choices, those choices are themselves driven by discrimination. Yet the choice of college major is quite free, and many colleges recruit women into high-paying science or math majors. Likewise, many women prefer to stay home with their children. If doing so allows their husbands to maximize their own earnings, it's not clear that the families are worse off. It makes no sense to sue employers for choices made by women years or decades earlier.

The administration's claims regarding the gender pay gap are faulty, and its proposal to make it easier for women to sue employers for equal pay would create a disincentive for firms to hire women.

Mr. Perry is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan's Flint campus. Mr. Biggs is a resident scholar at AEI. 


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Feminists Killed Kurt Cobain

It was 20 years ago today... (Well, yesterday, now, I guess). 
"The poem was born out of the realization that the self-loathing i saw in so many men my age was actually a generational thing, specific to the feminist era. When one is taught your whole life that YOU are The Enemy, that it is your own intrinsic maleness which is the greatest problem on planet earth, that can become the straw that tips an already depressed mind over the edge. The more involved in radical feminism/riot grrrl etc impressionable boys become, the more suicide can end up appearing perhaps the only logical conclusion for a ‘good man’ to arrive at. This was Kurt’s story & it’s my story too."

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

TIME Magazine: It’s Time to End ‘Rape Culture’ Hysteria

The nation's largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture — as opposed to the actions of individuals — is responsible for rape.

“Rape is as American as apple pie,” says blogger Jessica Valenti. She and her sisters-in-arms describe our society as a “rape culture” where violence against women is so normal, it’s almost invisible. Films, magazines, fashion, books, music, humor, even Barbie — according to the activists — cooperate in conveying the message that women are there to be used, abused, and exploited. Recently, rape culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream. In January, the White House asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”

Tolerance for rape? Rape is a horrific crime and rapists are despised. We have strict laws that Americans want to see enforced. Though rape is certainly a serious problem, there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm. Twenty-first century America does not have a rape culture; what we have is an out-of-control lobby leading the public and our educational and political leaders down the wrong path. Rape culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense.

On college campuses, obsession with eliminating “rape culture” has led to censorship and hysteria. At Boston University, student activists launched a petition demanding the cancellation of a Robin Thicke concert, because the lyrics of his hit song “Blurred Lines” allegedly celebrate “systemic patriarchy and sexual oppression.” (The lyrics may not exactly be pleasant to many women, but song lyrics don’t turn men into rapists. Yet, ludicrously, the song has already been banned at more than 20 British universities.) Activists at Wellesley recently demanded that administrators remove a statue of a sleepwalking man: The image of a nearly naked male could “trigger” memories of sexual assault for victims. Meanwhile, a growing number of young men find themselves charged with rape, named publicly, and brought before campus judicial panels informed by rape culture theory. In such courts, due process is practically non-existent: Guilty because accused.

Rape culture theorists dismiss critics who bring up examples of hysteria and false accusations as “rape denialists” and “rape apologists.” To even suggest that false accusations occur, according to activists, is to engage in “victim blaming.” But now, rape culturalists are confronting a formidable critic that even they will find hard to dismiss.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is America’s largest and most influential anti-sexual violence organization. It’s the leading voice for sexual assault victim advocacy. Indeed, rape culture activists routinely cite the authority of RAINN to make their case. But in RAINN’s recent recommendations to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, it repudiates the rhetoric of the anti “rape culture” movement:
In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming “rape culture” for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campus. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important not to lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.
RAINN urges the White House to “remain focused on the true cause of the problem” and suggests a three-pronged approach for combating rape: empowering community members through bystander intervention education, using “risk-reduction messaging” to encourage students to increase their personal safety, and promoting clearer education on “where the ‘consent line’ is.” It also asserts that we should treat rape like the serious crime it is by giving power to trained law enforcement rather than internal campus judicial boards.
RAINN is especially critical of the idea that we need to focus on teaching men not to rape — the hallmark of rape culture activism. Since rape exists because our culture condones and normalizes it, activists say, we can end the epidemic of sexual violence only by teaching boys not to rape.

No one would deny that we should teach boys to respect women. But by and large, this is already happening. By the time men reach college, RAINN explains, “most students have been exposed to 18 years of prevention messages, in one form or another.” The vast majority of men absorbs these messages and views rape as the horrific crime that it is. So efforts to address rape need to focus on the very small portion of the population that “has proven itself immune to years of prevention messages.” They should not vilify the average guy.

By blaming so-called rape culture, we implicate all men in a social atrocity, trivialize the experiences of survivors, and deflect blame from the rapists truly responsible for sexual violence. RAINN explains that the trend of focusing on rape culture “has the paradoxical effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.”

Moral panic over “rape culture” helps no one — least of all, survivors of sexual assault. College leaders, women’s groups, and the White House have a choice. They can side with the thought police of the feminist blogosphere who are declaring war on Robin Thicke, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, male statues, and Barbie. Or, they can listen to the sane counsel of RAINN.
Caroline Kitchens is a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Questions From Readers Vol. 5

You have to admit that feminism has done some great things in suffrage, access to workplace and etc. Of course there are those who promote hate but that's because feminism is an umbrella term that people can abuse. 
The narrative of history you’re presenting is basically that propounded by feminist theory, and within that (patriarchal conspiracy theory) framework what you are saying sounds unequivocally positive but to satisfactorily answer your question there are larger issues that need to be factored in to see the bigger picture.

If, as a society, we’re going to decide to organize society so that everyone has the vote then yes of course women should have it too. But before the 20th century that really wasn’t a given, or even a practical option really anywhere on earth, and men fought and died for hundreds of years to try expand the number of people having a say in the running of nations. This was a very long, very slow process: a few hundred years ago, no-one had the vote: there was just lords and ladies, kings and queens and then the rest of us peasants down below.

In my country (the UK) ‘men’ as a class and ‘women’ as a class ‘Got The Vote’ the same year (1918) but I don’t remember ever being taught that at school, the focus was entirely upon women and ‘yaay down with male privilege’ and all that nonsense, whereas the reality is female suffrage was just a little easily-got cherry on the top of a snow-capped mountain of dead male bodies. An afterthought, really, and the result of all those men’s work, death and suffering.

Two hundred and fifty years ago close to 90% of all labor was agriculture - in other words farming, poor families working some little patch of land. No woman was excluded from this, they had to go out and milk the goats at 5 in the morning and plow the fields alongside the men. The really strenuous work would tend to be done by the men out of common sense and kindness, but the idea that women were somehow ‘kept out of the workplace’ is obviously nonsense. They weren’t. No-one was, with the exception of the upper class.
With the rise of the middle classes, more and more farmers started to acquire enough wealth and land to pay other people to work for them and they began to aspire to a better, more cultured and refined life. The first thing they changed was to make sure their mothers, wives and daughters no longer had to work out in the fields, and so it was that middle-class women became the first idle class of any real size in history, which led to all those Jane Austen / Bronte sisters depictions of stultifying gossip, piano recitals and needlework. Throughout the 19th century these very comfortable, newly educated but bored women began to feel they were missing out on some of the experiences their menfolk - who still had to oversee the running of the land, at least - were having, and by the beginning of the next century this had led to the female suffrage movement, which was almost entirely middle class women demanding The Vote for middle class (and only middle class) women. Even though at that time only a minority of men (working class men in particular) had the vote themselves.

The rise of industrialization too, the factories, and all the new, easier types of work that appeared meant that for the first time many trades no longer relied upon brute strength the way, say, mining or construction did, and women were able to do many of the new jobs arising as well as any man.

All states - communist or capitalist - saw the benefits of sending women out to work, taxing them, making them isolated cogs in the industrial machine, and so they all either pushed the agenda or did little to hinder it. Implementing this was a difficult sell to both the men - who had worked so hard to ensure the women in their lives didn’t have to scrub their fingers to the bone any more, and the women too, telling them they should leave their homes and families - and especially their children - to become wage slaves like the men was a tricky conundrum.

It was achieved by inventing the notion that labor was a privilege of some kind, a luxury, a treat, and that men were selfishly keeping this ‘privilege’ for themselves. Monarchic states, frightened in these years of revolutions breaking out the way they had in France, Russia and America, benefited from pitting women against men in this way and drawing focus and attention away from the real inequality of wealth and class. But all states benefited - and continue to benefit - from this ‘divide and conquer’ approach and this helps explain why the feminist agenda received so little resistance from the governments of the world and how quickly the changes it called for came about.

The move towards identity politics and the enfranchisement of literally everyone in the country diminished the power and meaning of the vote almost beyond recognition: if you live in a country of 100 million people then statistically speaking it really hardly matters whether you turn up to the polling booth that day or not - it’s one hundred million-to-one your individual vote will mean anything. Whereas if you’re living in a community of say 50 people, your vote very definitely does count, and will make a directly observable difference to the outcome of whatever is being voted on.

I like the idea of democracy so I really don’t have a solution for this problem of bloated democratic states in which enfranchisement is used principally as a tool of pacification and a release valve stymieing any real change occurring. Perhaps democracy, like anarchism, can only truly work in smaller, decentralized communities. Perhaps that’s the way forward and what we should be working towards.

So anyhoo, I guess my answer is all of the above: I no longer see feminism as any kind of liberating force in the western world but a tool of distraction and discord pushed by those in positions of power to foster distrust and destroy the power of communities that might otherwise stop squabbling and unite against those in authority above them. Although I am glad of SOME opportunities SOME early feminism helped acquire for SOME women, as an ideology feminism is only a corrosive, detrimental force, especially today in the modern west.  In the bigger picture, beyond short term rewards, it makes life worse for everyone, and that includes women.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

'Red Pill': The Motion Picture

Paul Elam interviews the Cannes Award-winning documentary maker Cassie Jaye about her forthcoming film on the Men’s Rights Movement, ‘The Red Pill’:

Monday, 17 March 2014

Questions From Readers Vol. 4

If feminism is not equality, what would you call equality? what would you classify as equality?