Saturday, December 19, 2009

the nastier and more dangerous jobs

“'In the same job, doing the same work, who will be paid more, a woman or a man?'

“'The man!'

“If it's true, then employers are practicing shameful sexism.

“But does this even make sense? If employers knew that women would do the exact same job for less money, they'd hire only women...

“Decades ago, Warren Farrell was the rare man who, with Gloria Steinem and other women, went to feminist protests. He's the only man to have been elected three times to the board of the National Organization for Women. He told me, 'I used to wear a "59 cent" pin to protest the fact that men earned a dollar for each 59 cents [now it's 78.5 cents] that women earned for the same work.'

“But then he had his 'eureka' moment.

“WARREN FARRELL: 'I asked myself one day if men are earning a dollar, maybe I'll go out and start an all-female firm and I'll be able to produce products for fifty-nine cents, that male firms are producing for a dollar... I'd get rich! [So I thought] there's something wrong with the statistic.'

“Farrell then spent about fifteen years going over U.S. Census data and other studies. He found that the wage gap exists not because of sexism, but because more men are willing to do certain kinds of jobs. He illustrates this when making speeches.

“He asks people to stand up if they work more than forty hours a week, or, 'if you worked in a field that exposed you to the wind, the rain, and the snow for at least two years of your life...' He goes on to list some of the nastier and more dangerous jobs.

“Again and again more men stand. 'That's why men earn more,' says Farrell. Men take jobs that are more likely to require longer hours, longer commuting times, safety risks, and frequent travel. Those jobs pay more because fewer people want to do them.

“It's not sexism, he said, it's just supply and demand. Women make less because they want different things.

“WARREN FARRELL: 'The women themselves say they're far more likely to care about flexibility. The men say: I'm far more likely to care about money.'”

--John Stossel, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Why Everything You Know Is Wrong, 2006

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