Woman, Stop Hitting Yourself!
Helpful reader Agranulocytosis sent us this link, a video where Professor Steve Horwitz explains how the fact that women earn 75 % of what men do is our own fault. Thank you Agranulocytosis! I was worried this day was going to be boring.
According to Horwitz, the labour market does in fact not discriminate against women. The income discrepancy is all due to the choices we make. When comparing men and women with equal background working the same jobs, women and men earn the same, he claims. I honestly don’t know if this is true or not, and I’m afraid I don’t have the time or energy to look it up (I’m way too busy making the wrong choices) but if any of you happen to have some data to confirm or deny this that’d be awesome. Anyway, here is the video, although I won’t blame you if you don’t watch it. My commentary below speaks for itself.
So, what are the choices we women make that end up with us earning 25 % less? Well apparently it’s something called “investment in human capital” and is divided into four categories:
Firstly we tend to go into careers like education, psychology and nursing, which obviously only an idiot would do because there are no well-paid jobs in those industries. Men on the other hand go into business and engineering, which have much higher salaries. Well done, men!
Secondly he talks about whether we’re expecting to work full-time our entire life or not. Apparently since women during the 60’s and 70’s didn’t think they’d be working full-time when they were 40, they went into careers with poor salaries. These days young women make smarter choices because we’ve realized that we need to work if we want money. Myup.
Thirdly, women are more likely to choose part-time work than men. And if you work part-time, for some reason it’s super-OK to have a lower salary per hour than if you work full-time. I’m sure there’s good reason for this. And why do we do this? Well, duh! It’s because we still “tend to take on the majority of the responsibility for children and the home”. Because that’s totally always a choice, and it’s never to do with the fact that men tend to bring more money to the household in the first place.
Then of course there is the stupid way we choose to take time off work to have children, which obviously interrupts our career and thus the development of our salaries. If only we would do what men do, and let other people carry our babies to term and then stay home and nurse them for a few months, we would make the same!
Horwitz is doing something very commendable in that he is (or at least claims to be) looking at the facts, which should appeal to skeptics everywhere. But numbers alone does not a good analysis make. While he actually does admit that one might think that the fact that women tend to end up in low-paying jobs is a problem to begin with, his chosen rhetoric of repeating “the choices women make” is disingenuous, and it puts the whole burden to change things for the better on women. Also, the insinuation that “if only you would do what men do, you would earn as much as they do” is frankly offensive. If salaries are any indication, society places higher value on the choices men make. Horwitz clearly has no problem at all with this, and seems to be arguing that women should just suck it up and make better choices.
Basically, I feel like he just punched me in the face with my own hand, going “Why are you hitting yourself? Stop hitting yourself!”