Friday, March 10, 2017
Women's Strike Hurts Women
Today seems like a great day for a “Day Without A Woman,” a strike organized to protest the supposed gender oppression of women in America. Women are encouraged to take the day off from work, refrain from shopping and wear red. With the same group of organizers who held the Women’s March earlier this year, the strike today is aimed at highlighting the same old collage of leftist complaints bound up in their favorite term, “inequality.” Women in America are victims of a sinister patriarchal society, which is robbing them of equal rights … or so we’re told. Absent any substantive evidence supporting this claim, the strike is aimed at convincing Americans of its reality.
But what is the reality? Are American women actually suffering under some insidiously oppressive patriarchy? Well, the facts would say otherwise. In 2014, the American Community Survey found that 37.5% of women ages 25 to 34 had a bachelor’s degree compared to only 29% of men in the same age range. And what of the supposed pay gap between men’s and women’s salaries? It evaporates when accounting for variables such as child bearing and rearing.
In fact, according to a Pew Research Center survey in 2013, 72% of women believe they have the same opportunities in the workplace as men, while 75% believe they are paid just as much as their male counterparts. It sounds like the women’s strike needs to convince just as many women of the supposed inequity in pay as it does men.
But the truth is, this strike has more to do with protesting Donald Trump and conservative values (sometimes two very different things) than in promoting women. Ironically, today’s protest will only prove to make the day harder for many women. Take, for example, any poorer single moms living in Alexandria, Virginia. So many teachers took the day off that the district closed public schools for the day. Working single moms whose children now have no school will lose a day of pay as they stay at home watching their children. Unless they hire someone to do it for them. Brilliant.
Maybe the biggest irony of the protest is that it infers women are merely helpless victims who need men to save them from their oppressed status. There are no laws preventing women from having access to the same opportunities as men. Equal opportunity exists in this nation more than any other. But the goal of socialists and leftists is not equal opportunity but equal outcome, and anywhere they find disparity they see an excuse for greater government involvement and control. This is the real message being sent by this strike. It’s not about women, it’s about promoting leftist policies.
‘A Day Without a Woman’ Strike Promotes Idea of Women as Helpless
The way to help women continue to move forward isn’t to propagate the myth that women in the United States are victims, oppressed by the system and unable to help themselves secure a better future.
Yet that’s exactly the message of the “A Day Without a Woman” strike happening Wednesday.
Various organizers, including the Women’s March crowd and other feminists, are pushing women to “take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor,” as well as by not shopping (except at “small, women- and minority-owned businesses”) and by wearing red.
An op-ed advocating the strike published in The Guardian last month by eight women (including a convicted terrorist, but hey, let’s not get hung up on details) explicitly makes the case that many women cannot improve their conditions:
Lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism have failed the overwhelming majority of us, who do not have access to individual self-promotion and advancement and whose conditions of life can be improved only through policies that defend social reproduction, secure reproductive justice and guarantee labor rights. As we see it, the new wave of women’s mobilization must address all these concerns in a frontal way. It must be a feminism for the 99 percent.
Here are some facts that belie the notion that women in the United States are facing some kind of rampant systemic injustice:
In 2014, 37.5 percent of women aged 25 to 34 had a bachelor’s degree, compared to 29.5 percent of men the same age, according to a Census Bureau analysis of the American Community Survey.
Among women, 75 percent think that at their workplace “women are paid … about the same as men for doing the same job,” and 72 percent believe “men and women have about the same opportunities” there, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey.
“Women with under two years of experience are asking for an average 2 percent more compensation than men. And, notably, they’re getting what they’re asking for: Final salaries for junior women hired on our platform are 7 percent higher than junior men,” wrote Hired.com in a report last year.
And that often-cited pay gap? As my colleague Romina Boccia has noted, much of the pay gap between men and women can be attributed to factors such as the fields women choose to work in, and the time off work that women choose to take.
“When accounting for relevant factors that affect pay, such as education, choice of industry and occupation, hours worked, experience, and career interruptions, the difference between average male and female wages shrinks to about 5 to 7 cents on the dollar,” Boccia, who focuses on fiscal and economic issues in her work at The Heritage Foundation, wrote.
Now, don’t get me wrong: There’s room for more progress. It would be good to eliminate the pay gap entirely, even if it’s significantly less than the left often acts like it is.
And while I don’t think there needs to be 50-50 representation in business leadership roles and elected positions, it would be nice to have more women in those positions than we currently do.
(Although it’s telling that often feminists on the left seem to drift toward accepting a man’s view of success—i.e. high leadership positions—instead of questioning whether a successful, fulfilling life for some women might look different.)
And while I’ll acknowledge that Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook executive and author of “Lean In,” certainly has had more opportunities than many women, it’s absurd to say 99 percent of women are powerless to change their fates. Women in a variety of careers and seniority statuses have the ability to ask for higher pay, switch jobs, acquire more education to be better positioned for jobs, and make a host of other decisions that could affect their lives positively.
In fact, one of the things most interesting about the Hired.com survey was that young women are actually asking for more compensation—and clearly, they’re getting results.
But here’s what won’t help: a strike that affects all companies—whether they are helpful toward women or not. In fact, given that over 7 out of 10 women think their workplaces treat them fairly, it stands to reason that most workplaces haven’t done anything to merit this strike.
And let’s not forget how this strike against the patriarchy is going to affect women: Already some school districts across the country are planning to be closed Wednesday, leaving moms (and yes, dads) who work facing a child care headache. That’s hardly the way to boost working women.
If women are serious about changing workplace attitudes, there are plenty of ways to do so. Applauding companies who offer paid family leave and encouraging consumers to support them can help promote a culture where workplaces are more family-friendly.
(Think public opinion doesn’t matter? Consider the fact that Netflix, after being criticized for offering extensive paid family leave to salaried employees but not hourly workers, changed its policy.)
A group called Parenting in the Workplace Institute, founded by mom Carla Moquin, tracks companies that allow parents to bring babies to work and advises companies on the best related practices.
We’re not in the “Mad Men” era anymore, and it’s time to stop pretending we are. Instead of throwing a temper tantrum, er, striking, women who want to change the status quo further likely would be more effective—not to mention more considerate of women and men who need services like schools during the week—by focusing on specific problems at specific companies. Such women also could encourage other women to become their own best advocates.
Is the American Elite Really Elite?
Victor Davis Hanson
The public no longer believes that privilege and influence should be predicated on titles, brands, and buzz.
Outraged New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently compared Trump's victory to disasters in American history that killed and wounded thousands such as the Pearl Harbor surprise bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The New Republic - based on no evidence - theorized that Trump could well be mentally unstable due to the effects of neurosyphilis.
Talk of removing the new president through impeachment, or opposing everything he does (the progressive "Resistance"), is commonplace. Some op-ed writers and pundits abroad have openly hoped for his violent death.
Trump is in a virtual war with the mainstream global media, the entrenched so-called deep state, the Democratic-party establishment, progressive activists, and many in the Republican party as well.
The sometimes undisciplined and loud Trump is certainly not a member of the familiar ruling cadre, which dismisses him as a crude and know-nothing upstart who should never have been elected president. (Had Hillary Clinton won in 2016 and served a full term, a member of either the Bush or Clinton families would have been president for 24 years of a 32-year span.)
But who, exactly, makes up these disgruntled elite classes?
In California, state planners and legislators focused on things such as outlawing plastic grocery bags while California's roads and dams over three decades sank into decrepitude. The result is crumbling infrastructure that now threatens the very safety of the public. Powerful Californians with impressive degrees also came up with the loony and neo-Confederate idea of nullifying federal immigration law through sanctuary cities.
Sophisticated Washington, D.C., economists produced budgets for the last eight years that saw U.S. debt explode from $10 trillion to nearly $19 trillion, as economic growth sank to its lowest level since the Hoover administration.
For a year, most expert pundits and pollsters smugly assured the public of a certain Hillary Clinton victory - until the hour before she was overwhelmed in the Electoral College.
Rhodes Scholar and former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice lied repeatedly on national television about the Benghazi debacle.
From the fabulist former NBC anchorman Brian Williams to the disreputable reporters who turned up in WikiLeaks, there are lots of well-educated, influential, and self-assured elites who apparently cannot tell the truth or in dishonest fashion mix journalism and politics.
Elitism sometimes seems predicated on being branded with the proper degrees. But when universities embrace a therapeutic curriculum and politically correct indoctrination, how can a costly university degree guarantee knowledge or inductive thinking?
Is elitism defined by an array of brilliant and proven theories?
Are elites at least better-spoken and more knowledgeable than the rest of us?
Long before Trump's monotonous repetition of "tremendous" and "great," Barack Obama thought "corpsmen" was pronounced "corpse-men," and that Austrians spoke "Austrian" rather than German.
Not long ago, Representative Hank Johnson (D., Ga.) warned that if Guam became too populated it might just tip over and sink.
The Western world is having a breakdown. The symptoms are the recent rise of socialist Bernie Sanders, Trump's election, the Brexit vote, and the spread of anti-European Union parties across Europe.
But these are desperate folk remedies, not the cause of the disease itself. The malady instead stems from our false notion of elitism.
The public no longer believes that privilege and influence should be predicated on titles, brands, and buzz, rather than on demonstrable knowledge and proven character. The idea that brilliance can be manifested in trade skills or retail sales, or courage expressed by dealing with the hardship of factory work, or character found on an Indiana farm, is foreign to the Washington Beltway, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley.
Instead, 21st-century repute is accrued from the false gods of the right zip code, high income, proper social circles, and media exposure, rather than from a demonstrable record of moral or intellectual excellence.
In 1828, the wild and unruly Andrew Jackson was elected president because the rapidly expanding country had tired of the pretenses of an exhausted elite of tidewater and New England mediocrities.
The hollow, tiny coastal establishment of the 1820s perpetuated the ancestry and background of the great but all-but-disappeared Founding Fathers such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Yet otherwise, the Founders' lesser successors had not earned the status they had assumed from their betters. The outsider Jackson won by exposing their pretenses.
What got the brash Trump elected was a similar popular outrage that the self-described best and brightest of our time are has-beens, having enjoyed influence without real merit or visible achievement.
If Donald Trump did not exist, something like him would have had to be invented.
Melbourne set to create female walking signals to create 'street light equality'
PLANS to make the traffic light crossing people gender-neutral is the silliest idea I have ever heard.
It’s political correctness gone mad. First we had restrictions on the word women (because it contains the word men), moves to ban terms like Miss and Mrs, rewriting of classic books and fairy tales to remove gender stereotypes, and now this.
What’s next? Traffic lights that look like those silly family stickers on the back of cars with dogs, cats, tall men and short women and kids with hockey sticks? I mean, we wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, would we?
Haven’t these people at the Committee of Melbourne got anything better to do?
Turning the crossing figures into females won’t create one single job, break down one single barrier or help one single woman.
And yet the Equal Crossings Initiative is proudly kicking off its plans to install 10 female pedestrian figures at one of Melbourne’s busiest intersections. The idea came from the committee’s Future Focus Group and is designed to challenge “unconscious bias”.
I am a woman and a proud feminist who has crossed thousands of roads in my life, but I have to honestly admit I have never seen the crossing men flashing at me and felt left out, subjugated or objectified.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle hit the nail on the head when he suggested such a scheme was more likely to bring about “derision”. Clearly, Doyle is more in touch than the Future Focus Group.
The problem is that if you spend too much time and money obsessing about irrelevant stuff like whether the crossing figures are men or women, then people don’t listen when you talk about things that are really important.
You know, things like the cost of childcare, the gender wage gap, the lack of women running our companies, and the problem both women and men have accessing family-friendly work.
The Future Focus Group says it is committed to developing “the leadership that our city needs” and promoting “creative ways of thinking”.
Some of their ideas are pretty good, such as free trams in the CBD, Open House Melbourne and Eleos Place, a youth homeless crisis accommodation centre.
Putting skirts on traffic light crossing figures isn’t one of these good ideas.
It’s silly and absurd, and makes a mockery of the whole women’s movement.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.