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Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Gender War: Myth and reality

by Clifford F. Thies

The election, we are told, was in part about “the war on women.” Like men have longer life expectancy? Like men don’t do the heavy lifting when it comes to protecting the nation or the community from foreign and domestic enemies and from natural disasters? Like men aren’t the ones who work the night shift, have jobs with high occupational injury rates, and that don’t have much financial security? Like men are over-represented in our colleges, while women are over-represented in our prisons? But, wait, what about the pay gap?

What pay gap? Among young people in the metropolitan areas of the country, women make more than men do nowadays. A growing number of studies indicate that unmarried, childless women make 8 percent more than their male counterparts on average, with the pay gap reaching as high as 20 percent in some metropolitan areas.

The so-called war against women touted by the Democrats is a tension between two cultures: one, of single women, the other, of married women. The so-called gender gap is limited to single women. Republicans win the married women vote.

For traditional women, the victory of feminists has been devastating. Where are the “"marriable men?" Men who are willing to assume the responsibility of being the main breadwinner of the family? Just as fewer women are willing, nowadays, to assume the role of primary housekeeper, fewer men are refusing to assume the responsibility of being the main breadwinner. The victory was not worked out well for traditional women, or for the many children being raised without fathers, or for men who - left to their own devices - are not socialized by women.

Which brings me to the traditional measure of the pay gap, the simple ratio of the earnings of women to the earnings of men, whether married or single, whether in metropoltan areas or small towns and rural places. From 1970 to the present, the earnings of women relative to the earnings of men increased from 60 to 77 percent. Almost all of the remaining difference can be explained by factors such as: (1) Education, (2) Experience and hours worked, and (3) Job Conditions.

Education, measured simply by years of schooling, is a very important determinant of earnings. But, so is the type of education. Basically, the more math and science in the curriculum, the higher the earnings.

Among people who work "full-time," men work longer hours. They also take fewer breaks from work. These things could be understood as specialization and trade within households, married men with stay-at-home wives being enabled to work more.

Men also tend to take jobs that involve outdoor work, jobs with higher rates of job-related injuries and death, jobs with less attractive schedules and jobs with less financial security. The relation of job conditions, like work experience and hours, could also be understood as specialization and trade within households.

By winning the election, single women have secured free contraception and tax-payer funded abortion. A real man would love the woman who enabled his baby to come into the world, hopefully in the context of a marriage, but we know that doesn't always work out. But that's not the kind of man that Democrats want. They want men who are o.k. with women who kill their babies.

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