Sunday, June 04, 2006

Horray Women, Boo Statistics

Women are getting more degrees, more jobs, but apparently making less money. The first two are good, are not surprising, and are fine by me. The third thing is suspect, at best. The problem with the money thing is that it is never presented in such a way that it could be considered legitimate. If it is a legit statistic that means one of two things: either many companies selectively pay men who are equally qualified more, or the companies that pay more, on average, selectively hire men over equally qualified women. (I'm assuming that the very lopsided things like pro athletes are not considered in the stat.)

I'll believe that there is still a fair amount of discrimination, but I do not believe it is as overt as either of those statements. Companies, if only for fear of lawsuits, will not pay men at the same level more than women. When hiring, if anything, they would be more likely to hire a woman over a man if both are equally qualified. It would take some deep seeded predjudice to persist with a mode of operation that would deliberately value women less than men. Think for a second about this: in order to maximize profits it makes the most sense to get whoever can do the job and to keep them happy so that they will continue to work. Any company that practices any form of discrimination is shooting itself in the foot anyway, and corporate America knows this.

The only other option resulting in women being paid less is that women make choices resulting in lower paying jobs, which makes the statistic total bullshit. But, why, you ask, would women do that? For the same reason I would. There is more to life than money. If I could have a dream job in a fantasy location, then I would accept a pittance for it. I think women, more than men, feel this way. I don't know why. It could be because of a still persistant notion that men need to provide, or a crazy notion that money = success, or the idea that men need money to be desirable to women while women need only breasts to be desireable to men (I personally believe the last one, at a subconscious level, is a driving force).

Basically I think that men make more money because they, on average, place a greater value on making money. To continually pull the 76 cents on the dollar statistic is misleading at best and a viscious lie at worst. Just because men and women are equally capable does not mean that men and women approach life in the same manner. In fact, the other things the article points out (more women in college, more women getting degrees) indicate that women may place a greater value on education than do men. For logical reasons, the greater value one places on education the less value that one would likely place on money. If you are intelligent and you value learning then you probably also realize that more money does not bring the same value as more happiness. You are probably also better at saving and budgeting, requiring less. Of course, pointing that out may give those who are discriminatory an excuse to pay women less, but I doubt it...even if slime like that needed excuses, that one wouldn't pass any legal challenges and money is still more important to them than keeping women down would be.

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