Skepchick Quickies 4.14


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Damn, I’m impressed by Carrie Lukas’ piece, picking some statistics and a subgroup of women was a master stroke. It clearly demonstrates that the whole feminist movement is wrong !

    It’s not like it’s been shown (http://www.aauw.org/learn/research/upload/SimpleTruthAboutPayGap.pdf) that the gender gap is less at younger ages; or that marriage and having children impacted women more than men in their wages.

    What an eye opener; I can finally tell my wife to stop promoting a feminist agenda, the wage war is won !

  2. I am at a loss to understand why that worthless WSJ op-ed was linked. It is based on the transparently false premise that feminists adhere to “the mantra that women make only 77% of what men earn for equal work.” It takes literally one Google search to verify that this is, in fact, bullshit. Take this 2007 NOW press release (http://www.now.org/press/04-07/04-24.html) which says that “full-time women workers are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar men are paid” — nothing about equal work — and goes on to say that “even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the research indicates that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained and is likely due to sex discrimination.”

    I have seen this gambit repeatedly and it’s dishonest and despicable. Antifeminists will trumpet the fact that much of the “raw” wage gap is attributable to differences in job experience, education, etc, as if this is devastating news. Of course it isn’t news to anyone.

    Just to reiterate in case anyone is confused: we can attribute part of the gap to differences in worker quality. But we cannot blithely assume that these differences represent “natural” outcomes or “inherent” preferences of women; they could easily be due to discrimination in some other aspect of society, such as child-rearing or education. Furthermore, even when we apply statistical controls, substantial portion of the gap remains, and is probably best attributed to discrimination by employers against women.

    1. I am at a loss to understand why that worthless WSJ op-ed was linked.

      It was linked so we could talk about it. Particularly because our rather clever hostesses know that their astute commenters relish the opportunity to tear into bullshit reporting (as you have done quite well, might I say).

      They link to these pieces because it exposes such specious claims to the harsh examination of the Skepchick nation. Er, so to speak.

      1. Dangit, that first part was supposed to be a blockquote. Guess we can’t do that anymore.

        Also looks like we can’t break things into paragraphs? (just put three lines above this line…testing to see what it looks like)

  3. Perhaps I’m just dense, but what’s with the big square links at the top of the page? I’ve determined that they’re not the most recent posts. It makes the page layout confusing.

  4. More notes about the comments:
    – The edit and delete buttons seem to be missing today.
    – I’m not a fan of the threaded comments. It makes it too difficult to see everyone’s contributions to a long discussion.

    Love the new skepchick logo!

    1. Threading makes it easier to follow the argument(s), but much harder to see what’s new.

      I think the old curly-arrow backlink method (which of all the blogs I follow was unique to Skepchick) did that job very well, since you could follow the resulting link back to the original post if you were confused.

      It was still possible to miss new posts in the old format, though. When a new poster was put in moderation and eventually their comment was released, it got inserted into the comments in chronological order and if you were just looking for new comments at the end, it could be easy to miss.

      The old format had a list of the most recent 20-25 posts in the right sidebar. I would still miss lots of stuff if I went away for a day or two, but the most active threads would most likely have at least a few comments listed, which it made it easier to sync up. The new format only has 5 comments, which is way, way too few,
      especially since they are interspersed.

      What would be more useful is either a way to display the comments in time order for the current entry (to make it easy to find new comments), or to have a (longer) list of new comments for the current entry as one of the options in the sidebar.

      It would also be useful to have a (longer) list of the threads with the most recent activity as another option. The “popular” list is interesting, the first time you look at it, but has little value. But lots of times a thread stays active for a week or two (see the Lawrence Krauss thread), but with only 5 items in the “recent comments” list, it is easy to miss the latest comments on such an item.

      What are the dates? Are they UTC, the timezone of the server, the timezone of the client browser or what? Including the hour and minute, or a relative time (10 minutes ago, 3 days ago) might be a better option.

      1. Good ideas! I quite like the threading myself, but then, I’m used to seeing it on all the sites where I bother reading the comments. I liked the nice long list of “recent comments” too, it was great for times when multiple discussions were updating frequently.

        1. I was just thinking about this. I think unthreaded comments is like having a big group discussion, with our chairs in a big circle. Or perhaps more accurately, a large panel discussion, since there are lurkers and passersby acting as the “audience”. Whereas threaded discussions is more like breaking up into small groups to talk about things.

    2. Rebecca’s still tweaking things on the back end, so the buttons aren’t necessarily gone for good.

  5. Could someone please ask Brian Dunning to read DR. MICHIO KAKU and his comments on the disaster befalling the people of Fukushima. I know he is a long term friend of Skepchick in general and Rebecca in particular.
    I can never get a response out of him regarding his soothing of the troubled mind about the currebnt state of play.
    Anyhoo, I love the new logo and format, though Buz does have a point re: the curly-arrow back link.
    Long live Skepchicks !!!!

  6. But can NO ONE explain to me why some people get to have avatars next to their usernames, but not others? Now I can’t even find a way to upload the picture on my profile, even though the old system never displayed it anyway.
    Won’t I have egg on my face, though, if this post appears with an avatar after all? Let’s see…

  7. The comments on the WSJ article are pretty depressing. One guy is actually arguing that the fact that there exists a Society for Women Engineers and no corresponding men’s society proves that male engineers are discriminated against.


  8. I think the biggest weakness in the Lukas article was this paragraph:
    “Choice of occupation also plays an important role in earnings. While feminists suggest that women are coerced into lower-paying job sectors, most women know that something else is often at work. Women gravitate toward jobs with fewer risks, more comfortable conditions, regular hours, more personal fulfillment and greater flexibility. Simply put, many women—not all, but enough to have a big impact on the statistics—are willing to trade higher pay for other desirable job characteristics. ”
    In other words, “I know that there’s a line of reasoning that pretty much negates my argument, so I’m going to declare it irrelevant with an unsupported argument ad populum and ignore it.”

  9. I HATE the new layout! What happened to the useful list of links to other skeptical websites?

    1. The useful list of interesting links is called “Quickies”.

      I like to think that if you read the blog often enough, our posts will clue you in to where the cool shit is happening.

  10. The issue of Catholic school boards being funding by public money is an ongoing debate for those of us who live in Canada. In Alberta one conservative MLA has gone against his own party to seggest thatpublic money should only go to secular schools and allow those with religious affiliations to teach their belifs in their own homes, facilities or at private schools (which technically have some public fundding too unfortunately). Really good for him to stand up against the typical party line.

  11. Honestly, I lived in Edmonton for quite a few years and this is one of the stupidest things that I can remember happening in the Capital Region ( and that bar is set pretty high ).

    Could we hear an informed legal opinion as to whether Morinville residents have grounds for a charter challenge here?

  12. I think the WSJ article makes a good point, just not the point they were trying to make.

    What their number suggest is that the wage gap consists primarily of two things: 1) Sysytemic differences in occupation between men and women and 2) differences in levels of employment between men and women.

    This to me suggests that the the most fertile areas for equal wage campaigners to focus on are the cultural factors that lead to this pattern of employment, rather than the way women are treated once they are employed (though the two are related, of course).

    That’s worth something, isn’t it?

    1. Well, there’s a third element–women pay a much higher penalty, in terms of future earnings, for periods out of the workforce. (If both a husband and wife take the same amount of parental leave around the birth of a child, for instance, and go back to work on the same date, the husband’s future earnings, by most metrics, will take less of an impact.) This is part of the age-discrepancy–as time goes on, it’s more likely for a woman to have had a baby at some point, and thus taken leave–and the longer it is after that event, the greater the resulting pay gap between herself and her male peers.

      This also has a self-reinforcing effect. It’s not uncommong for couples to decide, for any of a number of reasons, to go one-worker for a time (the most common, of course, is raising a kid). So they sit down and look at the numbers, and the economics of the situation almost always say the woman should take the hit, since she’s earning less to begin with due to being in a lower-paying field. The irony lies in the fact that the husband would probably take less of a hit by the end of his career for taking a four-year absence from the workplace than the wife would, at least in terms of percentage of income lost.

  13. The problem with converting Catholic schools to secular ones in Canada is that Catholic schools are specifically protected under the constitution (sec 29 of the charter). 150 years ago, the only way to maintain co-operation between the mainly-catholic French and the mainly-protestant English was to spell out certain rights, including the right to separate schools. Unfortunately, it’s nigh-impossible to change the constitution, because everyone has to agree, but there are so many different groups with different interests.

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