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AWIS in Action! August 2012 - M3
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AWIS In Action!

 Advocacy & Public Policy Newsletter   ~   August 2012
In This Issue
M3 The Maddening Monthly Mention
* Pay Equity Deniers *
As it turns out, we in feminist organizations are obsessed with a myth. The wage gap where women make 77 percent of what a man makes is totally due to the fact that we don’t work as hard as men. We just have different priorities and discrimination has nothing to do with it. Poof! Who knew? Thank goodness we have hard-hitting journalists like Mr. Ramesh Ponnuru to set us straight on these issues. Otherwise we might be wasting our breath, complaining about inequity, when we could be home cleaning the floors and making dinner for our hard-working husbands and the babies we all want. Such was amply suggested by the discourse this week (though I really wish someone had told me in sex ed. that if I just didn’t want a baby my uterus could basically control that). Of course women only want jobs where we get to work with other people and take care of others. It’s all about the choices we women make to not work as hard so we can have the children.
Never mind the fact that study after study has demonstrated that the wage gap still exists even when one accounts for the fact that not as many women go into higher paying fields like engineering as men. It’s irrelevant that women in business, law, and industry struggle to get into the upper echelons of their organizations leadership positions (I only ever dream of being middle management myself). Never mind that in fields where women are in the majority, education and nursing for example, men still earn more. Pay no attention to the fact that even in fields with advanced degrees like medicine, after controlling for personal choices in disciplines and work hours, women still earn less than men.
This is not to say that discrimination is 100 percent of the problem. Women are often offered less to begin with (if that’s not discrimination, I’m not sure what we ought to call it), but are less likely to negotiate for a higher starting salary (in part because we tend to get penalized for that too). However, when across the board this trend is observed, and if you are a woman and a minority the disparity is even greater, one would think this might be at least something that should be discussed. Mr. Ponnuru goes on to observe, "Perhaps men should do more of the work of running households and raising children, and boys should be brought up with that expectation.” But he goes on to explain that businesses can’t be expected to make sure men do their part of the housecleaning and that frankly there is little any business can do to change the wage gap because it’s unfair of them to make those sorts of recommendations. Gosh, why didn’t I think of that? It’s certainly not like transparency is an issue. Lilly Ledbetter was just a fluke, one in 66 million who was being paid less than her male counterparts. There is no reason to try to get the government involved for something as silly as that.
Lastly, the earning disparity is really just a woman’s problem. It’s not as though 6 out 10 women in this county are the primary breadwinners. Don’t ask me what happened to those lazy 3 out 5 men, or 6 out of 10 for those of you that don’t want to have think about it because fractions and math are hard, who you would apparently expect to be the ones bringing home the big bacon. And it’s not like when women don’t earn as much as men, they still have the same amount to spend. Therefore, it’s not like paying women less hurts the whole economy or anything as silly as that. Whose idea is that whole trickle-down economics thing anyway? As Mr. Ponnuru concludes, "So we shouldn’t expect that 77 percent figure ever to rise to 100 -- or even want it to.” That is way beyond an outrage. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think my roast is burning.

In This Issue


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