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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Gender Gap Pap

The parity police are out in force, and the results are clear. The Patriarchy still has its boot to the throats of American women, who have not yet reached "socio-economic parity with men." But exactly how "clear" is this assertion about parity, which rolls off the tongue with the precision of a mundane report about high/low tide or sunrise/sunset? Writer Carey Roberts says the "feminist-driven 'pay gap' is an ideological con-job." A 58-nation survey by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum think tank states: "Nordic women are the closest to reaching socio-economic parity with men while their Egyptian sisters are the furthest. But no country has managed to close the gap completely ... Even in the light of heightened international awareness of gender issues, it is a disturbing reality that no country has yet managed to eliminate the gender gap," said the survey covering all 30 OECD countries and 28 other emerging markets. We've all familiar with the core feminist assertion about jobs: "On average, female employees receive 76 cents for every one dollar paid to male workers. And that difference equals discrimination." Gender-sanity authority Warren Farrell's new book Why Men Earn More dispatches the gender-gap mythology by showing that men and women earn differently because their work patterns are different. Writes George Gilder in his Amazon review of Farrell's book:
"Most women don't do the same work; they do indoor work with no heavy lifting--easier, safer, softer, less productive work and perform far fewer hours of it. Then some of them complain and sue, saying that the worth of their sinecures is 'comparable' to the worth of the riskier and more productive male roles. They successfully demand that the government and the courts force companies to pay women more."
Feminism made sense in its early days of calling for equal opportunity. The movement's shift to demanding equal outcomes assumes that any difference ("lack of parity") constitutes culpable discrimination. "Failure to eliminate the gap" fails to note that complete parity is theoretically possible only in the command economy of a totalitarian nation. Even in egalitarian North Korea, does Mrs. Kim Jong-il earn as much as her man? If not, do the Jong-ils have the same work patterns? If Mr. Kim gets to order torture, and Mrs. Kim gets to choose the means, are these tasks equivalent? (Memo to the National Organization for Women: Please clarify.) It's getting easier every day to understand why gender feminism is losing ground among a new generation of equity feminists who seem to be finding that self-empowering personhood beats the "sisterhood of sobbing" hands down.