Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 9.3

On September 3, 1838, Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery and went on to become an abolitionist famous for his oratory skills. Read more about him today if you have a chance!

Mary

Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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13 Comments

  1. Here’s a silly idea Walmart, you want a better reputation dealing with low wages, miserly benefits, sex discrimination, and union busting?
    Take a pass on hiring a PR hack and, oh I don’t know, pay better, give better benefits, stop discriminating, and quit busting unions. I know it’s a stretch to expect a company to have some morals but you might want to try it considering that Costco does better by being basically an anti-Walmart.
    But hey, too big to be immoral always works as Ma Bell, AOL, and Enron can attest to. They’re still big right?

  2. I find some of the spin coming out of that Hanna Rosin piece at Slate rather typical but still disturbing. People are reading it as “therefore the wage gap is a lie.” Which was not her point, but merely that we should be careful with the numbers we use when discussing the wage gap.

    There’s something that bothers me about the article anyway, but I can’t quite put my finger on it, and I don’t really have the time to go looking for in-depth analysis. Maybe it’s that I’m already weary of Rosin for other reasons.

    1. Her second paragraph is worded a bit weaselly.. ““Full time” officially means 35 hours, but men work more hours than women. That’s the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35.” Nothing is cited to support this statement and it’s what the beginning of her argument is grounded upon (or at least the first salvo). She also starts arguing about breaking it down by demographics but then cites numbers comparing within race (black women to black men) but never to the larger point of comparison (white men) which would make a huge gap appear. Not to mention that her wording often comes across to me as implying something that the numbers don’t support, “African-American women, for example, earn 94 percent of what African-American men earn in a typical week. Then, when you restrict the comparison to men and women working 40 hours a week, the gap narrows to 87 percent.” That’s not a narrowing that’s a widens. So what the numbers say is that when you control for time women get paid less. This goes on in the following paragraphs where men making decisions that are influenced by sexist thinking is rhetorically downplayed through a passive tone but women making poor decisions about negotiating and profession choice is written more actively. It helps frame it as not really mens’ fault, the women are making bad decisions. Overall I’m not impressed with the article which could have been more straight forward and informative in talking about the varying differences in race, education, etc that cause the gap to vary.

      1. Siveambrai, I agree with you. We could take the same facts, present them in reverse order and make the opposite conclusion. The title itself is a lie. The whole thing is written so as to minimise the very real differences that exist.

        In the past I have posted a few Quickie links to confirm that similar differences occur here in Australia:
        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-04/female-graduate-pay-gap-doubles/4452348
        There are one or two others somewhere and they illustrate that the problem is real throughout the West.

        One of the outstanding features of the figures seems to be the massive proportional growth in part time employment.
        Another significant point is that women seem to be at a disadvantage when it comes to pay negotiations. Put those two facts together and we may be able to come up with a solution through collective action.

      2. TL;DR Unionise! Maybe a Union specifically for part time female workers?

        Siveambrai, one little niggle: when she says “the gap marrows to 87%”, that refers to the sentence BEFORE the start of your quote. I agree that it’s hard to refer back two sentences!

    2. Disclaimer: very privileged white male.
      I do know what made me angry about that article decided to list it.
      It’s basically the way she presented her statistics (even if they are real) is really annoying.

      I wish she had made it sound like she was being MORE than fair when she made her “adjustments”.
      For example, when she mentioned that bonuses shouldn’t count towards the wage gap, it made me want to throw up.

      I really wish she had taken the opportunity to say that even after her “adjustments”, there’s STILL a significant 9 percent gap.
      (That means men get paid around 9.99% more than women)
      She then went on to mention a few things that would please people who happen to have a “blame the victim” mentality.
      She made it sound like it’s just a coincidence that men work in more well paid industries and are more confident therefore could negotiate better.

      She then suggested that the 9% gap makes the problem complicated while I think it makes it simple.
      It simply says: “A WAGE GAP EXISTS EVEN IF YOU MAKE INSANE COMPROMISES THAT WOULD MAYBE SATISFY MEN’S RIGHT ACTIVISTS!”.
      Though I agree with her final statements about different choices men and women will have in life contributes to the wage gap,
      the fact that she made it sound like the way the world is now is even close to the way things should be is aggravating.
      I really don’t want to hear that the fact that my sister and all other girls around the world receive the advice of going into nursing 100 times more than their brothers is the way things should be.

      For those who read the article and think I’m making a big deal out of nothing: do yourself a favour and reread the article as someone who thinks the wage gap is a non-issue.
      Doesn’t it feel like you could walk away from this article mostly unperturbed and more well-read on the subject matter?

      1. I recall reading once a statistic about veterinarians that makes the whole thing even more murky for me.

        It was something to the effect that, forty years ago or so, this was an almost entirely male-dominated field. And over that time period, the percentages have largely flipped, and it is now largely a female-dominated field. But during the same time period, the wages of veterinarians compared to doctors (with whom they share an inordinately long and expensive training period) has dropped rather precipitously. So as more and more women became vets, the pay overall became less and less.

        I just tried to google the study without luck, but did come across info that “regular” pay inequity between men and women also exists there today: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Veterinary+news/Gender-wage-gaps-widen/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/463037

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