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!”

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    1. ..
      I like how they simply don’t quote their data or methods and just say “the data says”. Uh-huh.

      Secondly their conclusion is shit. Let’s analyze it logically.

      Statements made
      1. A = Women tend to have different life pressures and invest themselves differently
      2. B = Women with equal experience/skills tend to earn the roughly the same
      3. C = Discrimination in the work place doesn’t exist
      4. D = Women currently earn less

      1. If A and B then C
      2. If A then D
      3. If not A then not D

      Logically these conclusions make sense if the statements are true, but the statements are bullshit.
      Problems with the Statements
      1. Where the fuck are the data & methods stated to draw these conclusions?
      2. Conclusion 1 is a big fucking stretch. For instance, what if the woman was never actually offered the same positions as men and never GET the same experience? Or what if they’re let go because they’re pregnant.

      Basically, there’s a huge mound of bullshit going behind the scenes that the chosen datasets don’t represent. It therefore is a dishonest fucking conclusions.

      1. Yes, this is the spirit. If you don’t like the data you’re being shown, claim a conspiracy. You’ve learned well from the anti-vaxers.

        1. Er … the problem is that no data was actually shown. Just conclusions based on data that supposedly exists but was never presented.

        2. What data? I didn’t see any actual data presented.

          And as far as I know, challenging research is called “peer review” not “a conspiracy”.

          I know you’re happy to accept the conclusion because it fits your prejudice, but the burden is now on the professor is now to show us his datasets and his methods. He also to explain how correlating women with equal qualifications of men earning close to men and women choosing lower paid jobs somehow proves NO sex based discrimination in the workplace.

          So yeah you idiot, call peer review & skepticism conspiracies if you want. However, before you respond, I’d like you to look at this link: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=peer+review+process

    1. BeardofPants, there is a principle in critical thinking and analytical philosophy called the principle of reciprocity. According to this principle, when confronted with someone holding a different opinion than ours – even one that appears to be unreasonable or immoral – we should assume goodwill and reasonableness on the part of the person who holds that opinion. There are many reasons for this. For instance, we might be wrong in our judgment that a person’s opinion is wrong or immoral. There may also be justifications (at least in the mind of that person, who may be misinformed or insufficiently informed) that make the opinion reasonable from that viewpoint.

      To assume we are so right about a person’s unreasonableness or immorality that we can treat them disrespectfully (e.g., ask if we can hit them) is to be guilty of intellectual arrogance, which should be abhorrent to a critical thinker.

        1. Did the guy say something wrong?

          Did the guy discussed in the article above insult or denigrate women in any way? I’m not seeing a justification for your reaction here. Perhaps you can explain what it is that your upset about.

          You obviously don’t owe any explanations to me, of course. If you don’t choose to, then don’t. I was merely curious.

          1. No, he didn’t say anything wrong.
            He just used a string of 5-dollar words to essentially call @BeardofPants arrogant for holding an opinion different from his reacting in a different way from him doing something he didn’t like.
            Nothing wrong with that at all.
            We should all thank him for his help in understanding basic skepticism. *bow* Thank you my leige.

          2. I didn’t read that at all, but to each their own I guess.

            It seems there are a lot of nasty reactions arising when someone voices an opinion different from one’s own. Just look at the initial reaction to Mr. Horowitz’s study in the first place. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

      1. ….You do realize that her “Can I hit him?” comment was in reference to the title of this post, and also not serious, right? ….Right?

  1. “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.”

    I think you might have missed a couple of points in his conclusion. Specifically he thought part of the solution would be to encourage men to make a more of an investment in home and family. He also mentioned that part of the problem might be that women are encouraged to make these choices that are bad from an economic point of view early on and we could change this.

    1. I did concede that he covered this angle in my penultimate paragraph. I maintain that it doesn’t help. The overall message I get from the video is still “it’s your own goddamn fault for being so stupid”.

      1. “The overall message I get from the video is still “it’s your own goddamn fault for being so stupid”

        He certainly didn’t use the word stupid nor did I get the sense it was implied. I know people who choose to be musicians. I think they are courageous, not stupid, but it’s not an easy path to economic stability.

        I think we have a difference in opinion of the tone of the whole video. I’m happy to leave it at that, unless there is something more specific you want to call attention to.

        1. My issue is that, as some said, he really does put the onus on women for making bad choices. Yes, he does comment that ‘men should be encouraged to take on more at home’, but that is an extremely weak touch on the subject. ‘Encouraging’ isn’t anywhere NEAR enough. Expecting. Demanding. Not punishing women when they don’t. Those are stronger observations.

          As things are, the inverse of ‘women take on all the home responsibility’ is NOT equality. It is NOT a case that women just have to do less at home and it will magically get better. The inverse of women not taking on as much at home is the women are punished by the male either leaving for someone who WILL (Thus, the women gets even more burden) or more often, things just don’t get done at all. And when you are talking about things like child raising, things not getting done then punishes the child.

          He puts NO significant responsibility on MEN to make things better. They should be ‘encouraged’ to do so, sure, but that is not the men’s fault, and the end result of it just being dumped on the women if men aren’t ‘encouraged’ is still shown as the women’s fault, not the men’s.

          Also, it entirely ignores the realities of life outside decisions. Not everything IS a decision, for one thing, and another is you can’t decide on something you have no choice in.

          Take the scenario of an unplanned pregnancy. Suddenly, there is a child to raise and, thus, a very large amount of Work and Responsibility to be done.

          Impact to the man: He is encouraged to pay for his ‘half’ of the child. No work impact, no social impact, as long as he pays support, his life goes on with a small quality of living decrease.

          Impact to woman: 9+ months pregnant. Constalt lost work due to doctor’s appointments, morning sickness, everything else associated with pregnancy. A significant chance that she will have to sacrifice her job and income to raise the child once it IS born. Even with ‘maternity leave’, she loses 6-12 months of professional development, has a reduced wage, and loses all of her free time, social time, and work time to raising the child. Still expected to PAY for half of it, on top of the fact that she will lose significant ability to do so. 18 years of school meetings, doctor’s visits, soccer practice, etc, etc.

          That is, of course, the woman’s ‘decision’ for having a child. Regardless that it takes two. Men should, of course, be ‘encouraged’ to take some of that on. Of course, if they ignore that encouragement, don’t get enough of it, etc… Well, their life goes on as is and it all falls back onto… The woman.

          And even THAT doesn’t touch on the fact that because a woman /might/ get pregnant at any time, they are professionally considered unreliable and a higher risk for roles of responsibility. So they don’t get offered them in the first place in favor of a man, who isn’t going to suddenly get knocked up and have to take 6-12 months away from their job.

          But, y’know. It was the woman’s choice. She shouldn’t have had sex if she wasn’t ready for the consequences. I mean, the man chose too, but we all know that men can’t help themselves and just like sex too darned much to say no, while women hate it and thus should be penalized for the decision, right?

          1. I don’t think he did put the onus on women. He essentially said the problem could very well be at the front end, in the way boys and girls are raised and channeled into different areas of study and lines of work, which results in men tending to make certain choices that have certain consequences and women tending to make certain other choices that have certain other consequences.

      2. Felicia, just because that is the message you got from the video doesn’t mean it’s the message Steve intended to convey. Your claim that he is putting the burden of change all on women is inconsistent with his pointing out that part of the solution is to encourage men to take on more of the home/family burden, as davew pointed out, as well as that we could/should change the way women are encouraged from an early age to make these choices. Your claim that “Horwitz clearly has no problem with this” [with “society placing a higher value on the choices men make”] is similarly inconsistent with what Steve says in the video. Seriously, I think you are reading things into the video that he is not saying or intending to imply.

        1. Oh, I’m sure Steve’s a perfectly nice guy. All he’s trying to do in his video is show how the labour market isn’t to blame for sexism in society. However, good intentions isn’t everything. I am of the opinion that videos such as this one merely contributes to the problem and does nothing to alleviate it. Throwing in a bit of “we could encourage men to seek out typically female professions” at the end really just amounts to him covering his ass. But some of us still spy a crack.

          1. How does Steve’s video, in your opinion, contribute to the income disparity between genders? Did he say something false? If so, what? If nothing, then how can the statement of true facts contribute to income disparity?

          2. You have a preconceived notion, which Mr. Horowitz challenged. You apparently don’t care if his facts are correct. You just want to make sure that what you thought was true is accepted as true, no matter what. Truth be damned.

      3. I think you are merely projecting your own perceptions on this video. I found his conclusions to be perfectly accurate if his data is accurate (which I don’t know for certain). This appears to me to be one of those cases when you are choosing to be insulted by something that is basically just facts and conclusions.

        1. “I think you are merely projecting your own perceptions on this video.”

          And you aren’t?

          He’s essentially simplifying a complex social issue and effectively contributing to the misconception that there really isn’t a problem and status quo is just fine.

          It is quite a typical for well educated white me to do this. Known as “mansplaining” away the problem.

          1. ME:“I think you are merely projecting your own perceptions on this video.”

            Veronica: And you aren’t?

            No. I’m merely stating that his conclusions fit the data he displayed. There was no additional insults or accusations as some of the women here seem to believe.

            >>He’s essentially simplifying a complex social issue and effectively contributing to the misconception that there really isn’t a problem and status quo is just fine.<>It is quite a typical for well educated white me to do this. Known as “mansplaining” away the problem.<<

            It's quite typical for a conspiratorial person to do this: deny the facts and attack the messenger. You are not applying skeptical skills toward this issue, which appears to me to be emotional for you.

          2. “You are not applying skeptical skills toward this issue, which appears to me to be emotional for you.”

            Is this where I say: “I rest my case”?

          3. You rest your case? What case? You haven’t provided anything contrary to the conclusions provided in the video.

            Unless your case is to try and prove you have no case, and in that case…

          4. Hi troll …

            “You rest your case? What case? You haven’t provided anything contrary to the conclusions provided in the video.”

            I have provided several links around these comments.

            My point was when people pull the “you’re just emotional”-card, they have already lost the case. Next step, the Chewbacca defence.

      4. Why is the recognition that women “tend” (statistically) to enter lower paying careers or industries constitute the accusation that they are “stupid?” Should the facts be ignored in favor of a “there there” shoulder-rub, and comforting statements that “it’s o.k.- women are just oppressed, and there’s nothing you can do about it?”

  2. Wait… I thought there was evidence out there that women in the same type of job with the same level of education made less than their male counterparts. Is that true? If so by how much? Such evidence would completely blow up Steve’s assertions.

    1. Yeah, I’d love to know as well. But even if he IS correct, that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems with sexism in society in general and the labour market in particular. For instance he doesn’t adress how many women are asked whether they plan on having children during job interviews, a positive answer affecting them negatively…

      1. Just because there is sexism in the world doesn’t mean that everything must be ascribed to sexism or one is making the assertion that sexism doesn’t exist. I mean, holy crow, the guy not only didn’t say that sexism doesn’t exist or isn’t a problem, he expressly said exactly the opposite.

        And, if a woman is asked if she plans to have children in a job interview, I hope she calls the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employers may not base hiring decisions on the familial status or intentions of potential employees, men or women. So, my guess is that that such a question is rarely asked explicitly. It’d be the basis of a discrimination claim if they asked “are you married?” Do you have kids? How’s your health? and were not hired. The EEOC and every State equivalent agency would be quite interested, as would a lot of employment discrimination lawyers.

      2. Well, doesn’t he actually concede a 2 cent wage gap in the end with all the controls? I mean 2 cents is less significant than 7 or the starting 25, but it is still an actual gap which, according to him, actually exists. That he can conclude that no wage gap exists in a video where he shows that a wage gap exists strikes me as somewhat disingenuous.

        I mean if it’s considered too small to be statistically significant, or if it’s within the margin of error or something, then I suppose it could be called no wage gap, but he doesn’t say that the 2 cent gap that he comes to in the end is too small for statistical significance or is within the margin of error so at the moment his dismissal of it bothers me.

        While 2 cents on the dollar may not seem like much it does add up, at the high end of the pay scale, engineering say, that small gap can add up to quite a great deal of lost income. And women at the low end of the pay scale, while they are loosing less in the final totals, are even less able to absorb the marginal loss of income.

      1. A snippet:

        “In 2000 we started following the careers of MBA graduates from top U.S. schools; in 2008 we expanded the study to also track thousands of MBAs from top schools around the world. This was a good population to study not only because the degree ensured that the group we studied brought comparable credentials to the table; it is also true that companies invest a lot to attract, recruit, and retain MBAs from prestigious programs, and they’re often regarded as the next generation of business leaders.

        Our study’s overall finding is clear: The problem isn’t only a late-career phenomenon by which women are denied the big promotion after having advanced steadily alongside men. Rather, the entire pipeline is in peril. More particularly, our research has managed to explode four prevailing myths about the progress of women in workplaces.”

        1. “Our study’s overall finding is clear: The problem isn’t only a late-career phenomenon by which women are denied the big promotion after having advanced steadily alongside men. Rather, the entire pipeline is in peril. ”

          So we have competing studies. This one you have to admit is extremely narrow. If confirmed the data at best shows the deck is stacked against Ivy League MBAs who want to reach the position of CEO and who say they have no plans to have children. The application of this one study to the economy as a whole is limited.

          1. Sure, it’s a narrow lens. I didn’t pretend otherwise. As with anything, it’s an interesting study, and hopefully there will be other studies in this vein.

  3. What grinds my gears about this is that it creates this idea that women want and choose to have children and men are innocent bystandards who cannot account for that disparity. Yet, in 100% of the cases of human reproduction, there was a man’s sperm involved in some way shape or form.

    Sure, there are women who get in vitro or women who want kids while her partner doesn’t, but there are many many more cases where a couple decides to have children or continue with pregnancy in cases where it wasn’t planned.

    The cost of daycare is extraordinary and if you don’t have a reliable free resource for childcare, the options for a couple are slim. Often, women find that what they can get in salary for their shitty job that gives her the flexibility to do the stuff parents need to do, only just covers the cost of the childcare to take care of the child while she goes to work. In other words, her job pays her just enough to afford to go to work.

    But of course, it’s looked at as “well, that’s HER choice.” It’s never, “this is the compromise a couple makes to raise THEIR child/ren. Nope.

    Personally, and I’m guessing I’ll get a lot of disagrees here, I think that the write offs people get for dependents should be eliminated. Instead, parents should receive write offs for the cost of childcare. Children use public resources like public schooling, parks, etc. Parents often drive far more, to take their kids to programs and events that they’d never attend without kids, putting greater wear and tear (often in much larger cars) on the roadways. So losing tax revenue for something that uses tax revenue is a double loss.

    But for parents who want or need to work, it makes sense to subsidize the cost of childcare a bit.

    1. There seems to be a consensus here that the video pointed an accusing finger at the silly women who chose to have children instead of becoming highly paid CEO’s. If he had said such a thing I think you would have a legitimate gripe. He said no such thing; you are merely reading between lines and assuming that’s what he meant. Women DO have a say in whether or not they have children. And they DO have a say in whether or not they return to work and what type of work it will be and this is true if the woman is a single parent or not. Are you suggesting you would have this another way? Yes, I can see the headlines now, “women march in Washington over being forced to return to full-time executive work while hubby stays home with kids”.

      This is the kind of stuff at the root of the term “femi-Natzi”. I am a liberal and a feminist (although I am male), but I can tell you that every Conservative person I know thinks your argument is baloney and on this occasion I have to agree.

      1. There is a problem with the system not because women choose to be stay at home parents but because our system penalizes the individual who stays home to raise children and often penalizes women who are likely to have children soon. The deck is stacked. If men are more likely to be promoted because they aren’t expected to take paternity leave or be the parent who has to say home when junior is sick, then men tend to make more meaning that when the time comes to choose who stays home with the kid, the woman’s salary is often lower making it a no-brainer for the couple.

        Further, female dominated careers overwhelmingly pay less than male dominated fields. Not only does this stack the deck, once again but also serves to maintain that disparity since men frequently feel they are obliged to be the bread winners and avoid these fields and women, knowing they may need more flexibility in their schedule continue to take these jobs.

        The fact that people don’t think it’s an issue that a teacher with a masters degree is likely to make less than a man with equal or less education in another field, only speaks to how deeply ingrained our comfort with this disparity is.

        1. Two things. I have never, in 25 years of industrial work as an engineer and manager, seen any woman “penalized” because she “might” have a child, nor for one who actually had a child. I have seen at least 2 women who were begged to come back to work after quitting to stay at home with one child. Neither accepted. Of all the female engineers I’ve worked with, all but 2 had children at some point.

          Secondly, if all of these “male” jobs are paying so much more, then why are women not making them into “female” jobs? What the heck is stopping you women? The invisible dragon in your garage? The invisible spaghetti monster? What? I have had a hand in hiring over 20 engineers in my time and I have never seen a woman applicant treated unfairly.

          There’s something call college that was invented long ago. And in that college there are schools called engineering and business. Intelligent beings who want good paying jobs enroll in these schools and study like hell to make good grades, get a job, work their ass off for years before cashing in. If you are one of them, then kudos to you. The vast majority of women are getting the easy degrees (education, accounting) and plotting for a nice house, fast cars and rug rats by shagging the men in engineering and business school.

          1. Excuse me, did you seriously just call degrees in the humanities EASY?!

            “The vast majority of women are getting the easy degrees (education, accounting) and plotting for a nice house, fast cars and rug rats by shagging the men in engineering and business school.”

            Oh, well look at that, you totally did and you added the extra lovely sauce of accusing women who choose those degrees as going to college as a means of husband hunting. Based on what you’ve said, you have an engineering degree of some kind, congratulations, I understand many, in fact probably most, engineering programs are quite challenging and it is an interesting and stimulating choice of degree for some individuals. However EXACTLY the same thing can be said of degree programs outside of STEM, philosophy can be quite intellectually challenging, education can be quite intellectually challenging, art history can be quite intellectually challenging, accounting can be quite intellectually challenging, English (literature, creative writing, linguistics, or any of the other sub specialties) can be quite intellectually challenging, theatre can be quite intellectually challenging. Have I made my point? I’ve typed the phrase intellectually challenging so much that it has started to look less like actual words and more like just a jumble of letters (I’m sure you know the feeling and apologies to those who didn’t need quite that much repetition to grasp my point).

          2. You keep screaming about the women posting here are being conspiracy theorists and how fact is oh so important, yet you consistently use your “experience” as a A MAN in a male-dominated field as some sort of fact that institutionalized sexism doesn’t exist, even though every single women in this thread is saying otherwise. You are invalidating their experiences, while claiming yours are somehow more important.


          3. “The vast majority of women are getting the easy degrees (education, accounting) and plotting for a nice house, fast cars and rug rats by shagging the men in engineering and business school.”

            And, wow. Just wow. Yeah, all women who get degrees in education or accounting are totally just lookin’ for dudes in the oh-so-amazing fields of engineering and business to bang and have babies with. You’e nailed it!

            And aren’t you just so amazing! An engineer! WOW! *falls at your feet* Please, oh please, can you pay attention to me? *bats eyelashes* You are so sexy, because you are such a manly, manly engineer, and here I am without a degree! I AM NOT WORTHY! Please fuck me, RIGHT NOW! I want your babies!

            Jesus christ. Your sexist biases are showing.

          4. “Secondly, if all of these “male” jobs are paying so much more, then why are women not making them into “female” jobs? What the heck is stopping you women? The invisible dragon in your garage? The invisible spaghetti monster? What?”

            I don’t intend to over generalize, but at least part of the answer to your question is: people like you. Sometimes the extra pay just can’t justify dealing with individuals who behave with such disregard for other individuals who happen to be women. Additionally some people who happen to be women think that the low valuation of “traditionally female” careers is stupid and aren’t willing to give up on doing work that they find fulfilling just to get a bigger pay check but still think that the added value of having a career in a field they love isn’t adequately balanced out by the lack of financial remuneration.

            (For other readers, I apologize for my crimes against sentence structure, I couldn’t come up with a better way to formulate my point)

          5. Also, you seem to keep implying that being an engineer is somehow more worthing than being, say a teacher. Where would you be if there weren’t teachers? You wouldn’t be an engineer, that’s for certain. The field of education is VERY important for society. Being an engener isn’t somehow more worthy than educating people.

            The fields that are traditionally done by men are not somehow better or more worthy than the fields that are traditionally done by women, or vice versa. They are all equally important. This is what we are railing against: The fact that male-dominated fields seem to be deemed more worthy than woman-dominated fields, and also the fact that men tend to get paid higher over all whether they are in a woman- or male-dominated field.

            You are an engineer. Good job. You are not somehow better than the female (or male) teachers that educated you.

          6. In addition to the completely correct criticisms of your mansplaining, I must add that that is an awful lot of anecdote for someone so bent on facts and studies.

          7. As a younger engineer, I will dispute your anecdotal evidence with my own.

            I have had several female friends in engineering have trouble, not because of unfair hiring practices, but because of boys-club mentality that made it difficult to enter the workforce as an equal. Also, the cute ones were often treated with kid gloves and the others were treated dismissively.

            Also, having relatively recently gone through engineering school, I can tell you that the girls in arts are not shagging the engineers for our potential future earnings. For the most part they aren’t even talking to us. There were very few women on campus with any interes in getting their MRS. degree.

            Also, accounting is one of the hardest degrees as my school and leads to stable and profitable careers.

            Also, the women entering engineering are, as a rule, exceptional. They wanted to be engineers enough to overcome societal pressures. So the few that are kicking around are mostly outliers. The interesting group are those that kinda wanted to be engineers but settled for something else. Unfortunately, you can’t find them cause they don’t wear badges to let us know.

        2. Regarding income disparity – it not only occurs between sexes, but intrasex as well. A basketball player, or the richest man in the world Bill Gates, who dropped out of college and never received a degree, make more money than a PHD professor. That’s not because of sexism. It’s because we have a system where salaries are determined by the people who do the work and who pay for the work. We don’t have system where a central authority sets wages or requires that one pay a person with a master’s degree more than a person who never went to school.

          Further, there is no inherent reason why one individual must pay people more just because they have degrees. Everything depends on the details of what job is being done, how much the person doing it is willing to do it for, and how much the person who is paying money for the work to be done to have that work done. If I’m going to hire an assistant in my field, I don’t really care if he or she has a PHD, or a Master’s Degree – I care more about their work ethic and organizational skills. A Basketball team owner cares more about how well the person plays basketball. A school cares about how well a teacher teaches, and may well use levels of degrees, in that academic setting, to judge between teacher candidates and as a method for basing compensation.

          However, to say that just because a teacher has a masters degree automatically means that the teacher must be paid more than someone with no degree at all is impractical, unworkable, unenforceable, and not even fair. What about male dominated fields of say, bricklaying, which is dominated by men, many of whom make more money per year than many masters degreed teachers?

          The amount of money paid by a person to hire a bricklayer will depend on a variety of factors, including the supply and demand of qualified bricklayers, the skill and experience and reliability of the bricklayer, and the budget of the construction project which can be allocated to supplies and labor (which is ultimately based on the market for the building in question). The salary of bricklayers has little to nothing to do with its relative importance to our society, or whether bricklayers are more or less important than teachers or basketball players.

    2. I think it’s fair to say that in the vast majority of cases, the choice of who “stays home with the kids” is generally the woman’s. We don’t have a society that sanctions men staying home with the kids very much. Stay at home dads are lazy deadbeats, and not “real” men. Men, of course, could stand firm, and demand to stay home with the children, but we generally don’t.

      One wouldn’t place the blame on women, though, that men aren’t homemakers and primary child caregivers, would they? It’s the choices men make, like it or not, to be breadwinners instead of homemakers.

  4. I’m baffled that people can claim to value women and then not look at pay inequality and say “let’s do everything within our power to make it stop!” Actions speak louder than words.

    1. Noting from the article above – “When comparing men and women with equal background working the same jobs, women and men earn the same.”

      If that is true, then what more equality ought we be striving for? There is nothing inherently “wrong” with women choosing different career paths than men.

          1. “Back of the bus” is typically a line, in the US, that applies to discrimination against blacks.

            The link you posted was to Jews in Israel, IIRC.

            Anyway, it doesn’t change the fact that comparing this to being forced to sit in the back of buses is ridiculous. Nobody is asking women to sit in the back of buses, or drink from separate water fountains, or use separate restroo….oh, well… uh…that’s right – men are being discriminated against by not being allowed into the ladies room, but I digress…

          2. Yeah, did you actually READ the post about the ultra-orthodox jews? Because if you had, chances are you would have understood it’s completely analogous to what we’re trying to talk about here. Women in paternalistic religions might have chosen their lot in life as far as the law can tell, but the fact that they were socalised into that “choice” and quite often don’t really have any other options means calling it a “choice” is disingenuous. That’s what this whole thread is about.

          3. @Felicia
            Considering he put the setting of said discrimination in Israel (it was actually in Brooklyn) I would guess that’s a no on the actual reading thing.

        1. You equate stay at home mothers and homemakers, and women who become nurses and such, to blacks being forced to sit at the back of the bus under pain of arrest and prosecution?

          And, you have the gall to criticize “how” Mr. Horowitz presented his study?

          …it would be enough to make a cat laugh, if it weren’t so tragic.

          1. Know what would be very helpful? If you’d actually read what she is linking to you, instead of making comments on things that have nothing at all to do with what she is talking about. Seriously.

          2. “…it would be enough to make a cat laugh, if it weren’t so tragic.”

            And this, right here, is some hilarious irony, considering you didn’t even read what she posted to you! It would be enough to make a cat laugh, if it weren’t so tragic, indeed.

            Talk about fucking mansplaining: “I know I’m right, so I will just explain to you how right I am, even though I’m responding to something completely different from what you are actually referring to, because I am so certain I’m right, that I don’t even need to actually listen to your arguments. You are wrong and tragic, and I am right. NEENER!”

          3. You know what would be helpful: If you would explain exactly what the “sit in the back of the bus” has to do, regardless of whether that refers to blacks, Jews or anyone else, to the subject at hand.

            It has nothing to do with anything being discussed here. What is being discussed here is the issue raised by Mr. Horowitz work.

            Nobody is denying that there is discrimination and sexism, not even Mr. Horowitz, and of course there is extreme discrimination among extreme Hasids and other fundamentalist religious groups. What does that have to do with the point made by Mr. Horowitz?

          4. “You know what would be helpful” -romulus

            Reading the link before going off the rails?

  5. Just want to drop in and say I took classes from Steve back when I was at St. Lawrence.

    I don’t have the bandwith to watch the video (stupid lab in the basement!) but from what I am hearing it sounds like it is his tone that seems a bit off. He was a very good lecturer, but also a little too sure of his theories. I think this is more of an inherent problem in disciplines like economics where many (though not all) of the professionals start with theory first, then find facts to support said theory. When you already know the answer, it is that much easier to have a certain level of … I don’t know, arrogance but that is too strong a word to use. Us poor slobs in the sciences have to do it backwards and are always just so unsure of ourselves…

    I’ll look at the video when I can and report back…

    1. It’s not the tone as much as the way he chooses to frame the issue. The word “choice” and its derivatives crops up constantly, which contributes to the overall message that women’s diminutive paychecks are completely voluntary. If we only made different choices, we’d get just as much money as the men do. At no point does he actually call women stupid. I don’t think he thinks we are. But what he’s definitely doing is throwing his hands in the air and going “IT’S NOT THE LABOUR MARKET’S FAULT SOCIETY SUCKS FOR WOMEN!”. As if the labour market doesn’t have any problems with sexism. As if the market and everyone who is part of it isn’t part of society. As if it isn’t up to each and every one of us to fix the problems.

      1. He didn’t say society sucks for women.

        According to Horowitz, women are paid as much as men are in the same field.

        If, for a hypothetical example, not as many women as men choose to work for paying employers 16 hours a day, then one would expect that more men would advance or make more money in that field than women do. Isn’t that true?

    2. Now that I have watched I see the hang up on the word “choice” which Steve is using in the economist’s sense of a decision made without regard to the desirability of the options.

      “Should I make gobs of money and never see my family” or “Should I take a part-time low wage job so I can be with my kids more” is still a “choice” even though neither of the options is really great. What Steve is arguing is the sexism is there, but lies in the limitations of choices that women have. Since that wasn’t the point of the video, he didn’t get into it.

      Assuming the data he cites are correct, he has a sound argument. Maybe he should have been more aware of how his words could be misinterpreted, but often we can’t be aware of such things until someone tells us so.

  6. I watched this video suspiciously, and I don’t think I’ve ever sided with a libertarian over a feminist, but I have to say that I mostly agree with him.

    Listen to this: “It might well be the case that women are being discriminated against, that sexism is a problem, in the choices that women make. For example, girls are guided away from math classes, and guided into other kinds of classes. And it is also the case that our expectations of women’s roles caring for children in the household and men’s roles caring for children in the household, are very different. And if we think those are poor choices, if we want to see women’s pay more equal to men, what we need to do is convince more women to go into areas such as the sciences and mathematics and engineering. And we need to convince men to take more responsibility for children in the house.”

    I would object to the term “poor choices,” but this is mostly correct. He puts the responsibility on the educational culture that discourages girls from pursuing math and science actively, and on men who are reluctant to assume an equal role in childcare.

    He doesn’t ask the important question of whether or not the labor market is correct in valuing careers in business over careers in education and health, or consider whether or not gender plays a role in that. It seems as though we’ve gotten used to thinking of certain jobs as “women’s work,” and expect such jobs to pay less then the “men’s work.”

    He also assumes wrongly that more women work part time because they “choose” part time work. That probably doesn’t account for the 26%-13% difference. I would like to look at the study that controls for all of these gender factors, which he cites as showing the gap being 2%. That 2% is not negligible, as he seems to think. Is it possible that the blatantly sexist employers like Wal-Mart account for that 2%?

    He didn’t cover everything he could have, but he came pretty close.

    1. Well, again, his facts may or may not be correct regarding whether women actually get paid less for equal work (the jury still seems to be out on that one) — what I’m taking issue with is the framing. And since you also react on his choice of words, I don’t see how you’re “siding” with him. You might not be as riled up as I was by the video, that doesn’t mean we don’t agree on at least some things.

      1. The framing seems to be this: certain choices effect earning ability, but broader societal trends effect those choices. It seems to be the right approach, even if I have some nitpicks with his diction. I would also cast a wider net by not exonerating labor markets of responsibility for how they reward some decision patterns over others, but at that point it’s more of an argument about libertarianism than sexism.

    2. I wonder why it acceptable to put the blame on “reluctant men,” but it is not acceptable to suggest that women’s choices have anything to do with it.

  7. As someone who chose a non market driven and less economically competitive career, I did so knowing that there would be a lower economic reward. If this statistically skews a larger percentage of women (and men who make similar choices) toward a lower income level then all I can say is that making the world a better place is rarely the path taken if money is the goal. It would be nice to see more income data regarding men and women with similar educations and employment profiles in business. And it will be interesting to observe how or if income statistics change over time given women have been an ever increasing percentage (now the majority) of college graduates.

  8. “And it will be interesting to observe how or if income statistics change over time given women have been an ever increasing percentage (now the majority) of college graduates.”

    Good questions. Also fewer families are having children. This might play into it as well.

  9. Well, it’s clear that you are not responding to this video rationally. First of all, if his facts are accurate (and I haven’t been privy to the details), then his conclusions certainly seem reasonable. Women do choose those fields that he said and they mostly do pay much less than other fields. As a prime example, I live in a town where a whopping 70% of the men are engineers, scientists or other technical professions and most work for defense companies. Their wives are mostly in teaching, nursing and service professions. Many of them stay at home to raise kids and many do part time work. And this describes my family exactly. Only a tiny fraction of women work alongside these men as engineers.

    That women tend to take part time jobs more often than men is likely a side effect of their role as primary childcare giver, which isn’t their sole decision, but one made by both parents. I do know some families where the roles are reversed. Nevertheless, such a decision balances less pay with less childcare expenditures and better child care.

    Now, you can interpret his comments as an insult and admonishment that women make poor choices if you want. Frankly I see that as an irrational reaction. Do women have the same access to career information such as pay and opportunities as men do? Yes, I think they do. Are women “guided” into certain types of professions by their parents and peers? Probably, but I don’t know for sure. But even so, there are no institutional barriers to women entering high-pay technical fields. About 10% of the students in my engineering class were women. Why not 50%? Why have those numbers been decreasing in recent years? It’s no surprise that education doesn’t pay very well. Why do women continue to dominate that field? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking instead of attacking the messenger.

    For the record, I have two daughters and I have strongly urged them to avoid fields like education. I’ve advocated the importance of math and science and fields that utilize those skills. Am I in the minority? I suspect I am.

    My last comment is regarding the decision of women to have children and to leave the workforce for periods of time. Now, this is a real thing. A woman may choose to stay off for the minimum required physically, or she may decide to stay off for a while and care for her child. Either way, this is likely a joint decision between both parents. In my career, I’ve seen both and some who left and never came back. Are you suggesting that these things don’t happen or that they don’t affect the woman’s pay down the road? Ridiculous!! If a woman is off for two years taking care of her child and misses a promotional opportunity during that time, what would you propose, put the rest of the world on hold until she returns? Be realistic. These are real decisions and they have real consequences. To argue that this is false is to live in a fantasy world. And to puff up at someone who says that women choose to have children as an insult is just as irrational.

  10. Steve has asked me to pass this along:

    If you folks would like a very good overview of the academic literature on the gender wage gap that summarizes the main findings pretty well, you should read this: http://jec.senate.gov/public//index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=2a1f8ad4-f649-4ad3-a742-268d946962db . The bottom line is that when all of the factors I discuss in the video are controlled for, that is when we compare men and women who are as close to identical as possible aside from their reproductive organs, the gender wage gap is well under 10%. So men and women who ARE equally qualified and are of the same age and same experience etc get paid pretty close to (though not exactly) the same.

    As others have pointed out, I do NOT deny the existence of sexism. What I argue is that the problem is not (for the most part) in labor markets, but in how we socialize young men and women. I would hope that a site named Skepchick would give me the benefit of the doubt and not see that as “covering my ass” but as a sincere, good faith argument that the world WOULD be a better place if more women were engineers, more men were nurses, and child-raising was more equal by gender. I believe every one of those things. I also believe that markets, generally, are not sites of significant discrimination by gender. Those are not incompatible.

    Steve Horwitz

    1. No offense, but professors in social science (yes business counts) tend to do some erm, BAD research.

      And in this case it’s because of decontextualized evidence/data and bad correlation and the guy who wrote freakonomics would probably laugh at your conclusion.

      You take data that says women with equal experience/background/etc. are earning nearly the same and that the wage gap is due to a lot of women making different career choices than men, so there must be no discrimination.

      What you don’t account for however is that in many organizations, women are often passed over for or discouraged from positions where they get such experience & skills and end up remaining not as skilled our as high as their male counterparts. You draw a HUGE conclusion that discrimination doesn’t have anything to do with the disparity in the workplace without investigating much data to the contrary.

      Do women make career choices with lower earning potential as a result of things like children, societal pressure, etc. of course, but that does not mean there’s no discrimination in the workplace.

      Low quality research sir. You’re being part of the problem, not the solution.

  11. It’s fascinating to note how how skewed the burden of proof has become on this issue. In light of the the undeniable, rock-solid evidence for pervasive sexism throughout history and throughout most of the rest of the world, the burden of proof for determining whether sexism is responsible for the wage gap in the industrialized nations naturally falls on us! Well, OF COURSE it does. Because extraordinary claims require a small modicum of decontextualized evidence, as Carl Sagan famously said.

    Felicia is quite right to point out that discrimination isn’t just about what you’re payed at the same job with the same experience, and that defining it that way is just another way of moving the goalposts in. Indeed, it’s a red herring thrown out to distract us (and it appears to be doing a good job of it, judging by the comments above.) If you walk into a food processing plant and the people on the factory floor are all women (save one token man who gets payed the same) and all the people in the management office are men (save one token woman who gets paid the same,) you have not proved that discrimination has been banished from the workplace.

    1. >>Felicia is quite right to point out that discrimination isn’t just about what you’re payed at the same job with the same experience, and that defining it that way is just another way of moving the goalposts in.<<

      Oh, are you just saying that the men get most of the "good" jobs and the women get the crappy ones?

      I think to support this accusation you need data. And even then you have to account for things like women taking years from their career development to raise kids or abandon their career altogether. Most of the men in that food processing plant management office have likely worked unpaid overtime for years, taken lateral moves to other facilities, and worked in harsh conditions to build their career. I've worked with about 10 different female engineers in my life and only one or two of them was willing to go through this process to get to those management positions. 2 quit work to raise babies, one left the field to become a nurse practitioner and the others are still working the mid-level engineering positions.

      1. That’s precisely what I’m saying, and my evidence is the entirety of human history. For the last 300 centuries, women have been actively and passively discouraged from choice jobs, when they weren’t outright forbidden from them. The result was, women had less wealth. Women still have dramatically less wealth, so we’re supposed to assume that the cause lies not where it always has, in pervasive discrimination both active and passive, but in some brand new cause that just happens to produce the same results and is unfalsifiable sans telepathy?

        That’s not how burden of proof works.

        Your own experience is instructive. Did those women “fail to do the hard work” because they were worn down by a field where women’s ideas were ignored and stolen, or because they had grossly disproportionate and unfair “second shift” obligations at home (you even allude to this, albeit dismissively,) or because they simply had a hard time seeing themselves as managers in a world where no one else does, or because they just didn’t see the point of trying to impress a bunch of smug little trolls with preconceived notions about women engineers? Because MY experiences suggest those as the more likely culprits, and I’ve had to live this shit, rather than just make patronizing snipes from a safe distance in support of a bankrupt philosophy.

        The balance of human history favors my interpretation. People haven’t fundamentally changed in the last thirty years, just because women got organized. If you want to assume the converse, it’s up to YOU to provide the telepathic evidence.

        1. We aren’t talking about the last 300 years, we are talking about now. I acknowledge your historical fact, but there’s never been a more open time in American history for women than the last 30 years.

          All of your assumptions about the industrial workplace for female engineers are dead wrong. Female engineers have at least a level playing field. In many cases they have the advantage of a tendency toward affirmative action in their favor; I’ve actually seen this myself. I’ve actually supervised a less experienced, less qualified female who was paid MORE than me at the time. I’ve also supervised a single-mom who was paid about equal with me and held a lower level management job despite having no degree in her field. Her male counterparts in other plants all had degrees. I’ve seen women choose to stay at home with their kids because they simply enjoyed that environment over the stressful industrial workday. I’ve seen them leave engineering because they were tired of working in a hot, dirty environment. I’ve seen them leave because the competition for promotion was simply too intense. These are not discriminatory issues; they are the requirements for the job.

          I don’t have to defend the whole of human history because I’m talking about the workplace right now. And right now if you are a woman and you want an engineering job, all you have to do is exactly what a man has to do, get a degree and be willing to move to where the jobs are and be willing to put up with whatever conditions the job has to offer. That’s a level field.

          1. “We aren’t talking about the last 300 years, we are talking about now. I acknowledge your historical fact, but there’s never been a more open time in American history for women than the last 30 years.”

            The last 30 years don’t exist in a vacuum. 30 years is NOT that long in the grand scheme of things. Just because we’ve advanced a lot as a society doesn’t mean the 300 years before these last 30 years suddenly never existed, nor does it mean those 300 years don’t still have an affect on us as a society.

            Racism is a good example. It still exists, and I’m sure even you can’t deny that. We’ve had a lot of advances when it comes to equality, but that doesn’t mean things are perfect or that racism just doesn’t exist anymore.

  12. There’s a few different people who’ve asked me to explain my reaction now. I don’t quite know how to do this any better than I already have in my comments above, but I’ll have a go.

    Several of you object to my comments on the basis that Horwitz appears to be stating facts. This is a common problem for the skeptic community — a lot of us, a lot of the time, believe that as long as what you’re saying is true, everything’s fine. It isn’t. HOW you communicate is every bit as important. I think the way Horwitz’s video is set up, from start to finish, is problematic. The video doesn’t exist in a vacuum but in a social context, which is that of a society that still has a lot of issues with sexism. Thus, talking about busting the myth of women earning less than men really isn’t helpful. Constantly repeating the idea that women “choose” to end up with less pay isn’t helpful. And most of all, leaving the part where, even if women do earn as much as men do if you factor in X Y and Z, society still has a huge fucking problem to the very end of the video (which a lot of people don’t bother to watch), isn’t helpful.

    Again, I’m sure Horwitz is a perfectly nice guy, and the fact that he sent a response through jeffreyellis is commendable. I hope that next time he wants to make a video debunking myths about women’s pay, he pays more attention to how he frames his facts. Because I’d bet there’s a lot of crotches out there watching his video and thinking “Ha, I knew it, women aren’t as oppressed as they say they are, it’s all a plot to bring down the menz!”

    1. People don’t need to share your political agenda and “frame” issues to your satisfaction in order to have properly and professionally presented an issue. If anyone needs to examine “how” they present an argument, it’s you. You snapped right into insults and overly dramatic frothing.

      Why not just state your counter-argument concisely and rationally? This is, after all, a skeptic blog, isn’t it? Isn’t this about debunking and rebutting stuff, and educating people? Why not do that?

      If the guy is wrong, show that.

      1. If you don’t believe that HOW you say something is as important as WHAT you say go look at Dawkins’ completely factual response to the-incident-that-must-not-be-named and tell me again that intent isn’t as important as facts.

        1. I didn’t say that how you presented an issue wasn’t important. Read it again. Nothing in the presentation was improper.

          Frankly, the Dawkins-like presentation was more in Felicia’s comments, not in Mr. Horowitz’s comments. Mr. Horowitz was professional and factual. The frothing-at-the-mouth response was directed at him, not by him.

          1. “You snapped right into insults and overly dramatic frothing.”

            “The frothing-at-the-mouth response was directed at him, not by him.”

            Wow. That is so interesting, because from what I’m reading, the women here who don’t agree with your interpretation of this video are being very level-headed, and are providing actual links and data for you to read. But instead of actually listening to what they have to say, you cherry-pick a few things to respond to (ignoring other arguments they calmly made), or you out-right ignore what they are posting (the “back of the bus” thing above is a good example — you didn’t even bother reading what she posted, and conveniently ignored the few people who pointed that out to you!).

            And when they get frustrated because it’s clear you aren’t listening to them, they are called “irrational” or “overly emotional” or “frothing at the mouth” even though … they are being rather calm, all things considered. Convenient, wouldn’t you say?

            I’d say it’s you, who keeps saying things like “you are frothing at the mouth!” over a few calm, well-written responses that even include some links to other articles or data (which you always seem to ignore).

            I see no frothing. I see well thought-out replies. But of course, because they don’t align perfectly with your responses and they are women, they are “frothing” and “irrational”. You seem to be the one overreacting. Frothing. Really?

            It might be helpful to realize that this issue affects those of us who are women every day. It might also help to get some perspective and remember that you see and experience the world quite differently than the average woman does.

          2. Marilove – I didn’t say the women here were responding improperly toward me. I was referring to how they responded toward Mr. Horwitz’ work, which was more in line with the criticisms of the person to whom I was responding.

    2. You know, though, it’s funny how these rules for civility on the internet only seem to be operative when women get offended by something. Seriously, when else is it out of bounds to insult someone for being patronizing and dismissive to half the human race?

  13. Honestly he is right in regards to choice on an individual basis. I have spent most of my career in HR. Hiring people and investigating complaints of discrimination. Sadly you can find examples of gender discrimination, but it is not the norm. But yes, it isn’t clear cut when you are dealing with people and cultural choices. I was making a very good salary as an HR Director. I quit to teach. After 2 years and much of my savings, I left to back into HR. I liked paying my mortgage more than I like teaching. I also knew I wanted to get married and raise a family in the DC Metro area and knew it would be a challenge on a teacher’s salary. My wife teaches Yoga part-time (full-time before kids). But that was her choice. She is smart and college educated, but that is what she wanted to do. Personally I’d rather stay home with the kids, so that cultural knife cuts both ways. But because of our choices I get to work long hours and be more focused on my career than someone who made a different set choices, that affords me more growth career wise, but less time with my family. If person A work long hours, and doesn’t take a lot of time off, they are likely going to move up faster than person b that leaves at 5, takes off lots of time, and leaves his or her job for a period of time to raise kids. But ultimately there is choice here, especially in the US.

    1. Now you’re just making women hit themselves with their fists and asking them “why are you hitting yourself.”

  14. I apologize if the very simple concepts that I’m about to write have already been explored. I am strapped for time and unable to read all of the very well-written posts in response to the question at hand.

    First and foremost, I would like to point out how important the science of sociology is in this type of matter. Sociology points out fact, though accurate opinionated assessments may be made based on sociologically collected statistics. The fact of the matter here is that, statistically speaking, American women are paid up to 25% less than men in the same job, with the same experience, and the same number of years in their field. It’s a phenomenon that is socialized into mainstream American society. I’d back this up with a really awesome set of stats from my bookcase if I were home to do so. I’ll try to do so later.

    Second, I would like point out socialization as a factor in the way that women “choose” career paths. From a young age, girls are socialized to play with dolls, kitchen ware, and all other items that would keep them indoors. These types of toys facilitate the notion that girls belong in the home. Thus, even when young women “choose” to go to college, they are more likely to “choose” career paths that fall in line with the way they were socialized. Boys are socialized to play with trucks, doctors kits, guns, etc. These types of toys encourage play outdoors, and encourage male college students to choose careers in these fields. The wage gap follows these patterns of socialization, which is unfair. For example, nurses make far less than doctors despite the heavy work load in nursing. Men in construction make far more than women who take jobs cleaning or cooking, ie: maids and caretakers.

    Third, I’d like to point out that there is a relatively obvious difference between who supports the video and comments made by Mr. W, and who doesn’t. From what I can see, the men on this site (to some degree at least) agree with them, and the women disagree. I would say this is because men have no idea how difficult it can be to be a woman in mainstream American society. But if I say that, not only am I alienating men with a psuedo-accusation for misogyny, I am, in a sense, pitying women. Neither is productive. As such, I will say this: Perhaps we should begin socializing our children to “choose” what they engage in by refraining from using gendered toys. This will ensure, perhaps, better “choices” for women in the future. We might also benefit from continued discussions like this one, even if neither side agrees with the other. Ultimately, issues like this (which exist for real reasons made by fact, not by women) will continue to stagnate unless they are explored. Lastly, women: Stay strong, write to congress, rally, and demand your full dollar.

    1. Very well put. I read this after making my own post below. In essence the video grossly oversimplifies the whole issue in order to sweep it under the rug.

  15. Haven’t read all the comments yet, so this may have been said already but …

    The video have a few good points, but I’m left feeling that it oversimplifies the issue. One thing that isn’t discussed is why the jobs women traditionally tend to choose are paid less in the first place. It also ignores to what extent women are able to actually get those high-pay jobs usually occupied by men.

    So something irks me about the video.

    Here is a Time article that covers some of these points in more detail. Would be interesting to look up some of the studies.


    1. That’s not universally true.

      But, in a traditionally female job like a secretary or a legal assistant – the reason would be obvious. An executive or a lawyer would be paid more than his or her assistant.

      The jobs would normally be paid less because they would entail less responsibility, be of less monetary value to an organization, or be more menial in nature, things like that.

      Teachers, a traditionally female job, were often paid on the low side of the scale because schools were funded by municipalities and local governments, so the amount of money available to pay was traditionally low. Teachers salaries in many US states have gone way up, though, especially states like Michigan.

      On the other hand, traditionally female jobs like modeling typically paid women more than male models, and were typically higher paying than average jobs.

      1. Did you read my link?

        You’re pretty much doing what the video does. Downplaying the issue. You essentially deem certain jobs as having less responsibility. That is to a large extent a subjective judgement. You’re also ignoring that men are favoured in many jobs both occupied by men and women. Men often tend to be deemed more capable and are given higher pay.

        One example: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/health/research/23perc.html

        1. That’s a very good point. A good example is nursing. A male nurse can, as a nurse friend of mine points out, basically “name their price” at the three area hospitals because they are always looking for male nurses to deal with some male patients who would be embarassed to have certain procedures performed by female nurses.
          But I find it ironic that the people who would make these arguments would point to teaching as a female dominated field where men earn, on average, less than women; ironic because the reason for this is union involvement, something that is anathema to libertarians.

        2. “You essentially deem certain jobs as having less responsibility. That is to a large extent a subjective judgement.”

          Of course that is subjective. The value of a job can differ from person to person. There is no such thing as objective value of a job.

          However, I doubt it is unreasonable to say that someone who is a lawyer would properly be paid more than that lawyer’s secretary? Why? Because if a lawyer works for a law firm, she is probably billing hours at something between $200 and $500 an hour depending on age, experience, and locality. Her secretary is not. So, you’d pay a lawyer a lot more than the lawyer’s secretary. Lawyers also have the professional responsibility for matters they are dealing with, secretaries don’t. Secretaries are paid by the hour and are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours, lawyers are not. Secretaries can have only high school educations, and lawyers must have college degrees and law degrees.

          That’s not “downplaying” anything. It’s recognizing reality. If you ran a law firm and were paying the bills, what decision would you make as to who should be paid more. Some jobs command hire salaries, and mainly it’s based on what makes an organization the most money, and supply and demand.

          As for downplaying the issue – that’s a false interpretation of what I wrote. I’m not downplaying the issue. You asked a question about why certain traditionally female jobs made or make less money. I gave you a couple of explanations, which certainly is part of it.

          1. You keep ignoring half my points and respond to the ones where you can cherrypick examples.

            Of course I’m not comparing the lawyer to the lawyer’s secretary. I thought that much was obvious. I only know the conditions in my own country, but for instance in the medical professions jobs that require equal level of education, but where some or dominated by different genders, the female dominated pay less per hour than the male dominated.

            Even if some of the gap can be explained away, the entire gap cannot. Even if the guy in the video tries.

        3. “Did you read my link?”

          Why would he do that? Mansplaining is so much easier!

          Seriously, he has a bad habit of not reading things that people respond to him with. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this in a thread.

          But, ya know, we’re just irrational wimminfolk who froth at the mouth, so why bother listening to anything we have to say, or reading anything we post?

          1. “Did you read my link?”

            Why would he do that? Mansplaining is so much easier![/quote]

            I see you grant to yourself the privilege of using sexist terms to belittle other people. “Mansplaining” ay? Nice.

            “Seriously, he has a bad habit of not reading things that people respond to him with. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this in a thread.”

            That’s ridiculous. Not a one of you have explained what the hell ANYBODY being forced under penalty of criminal prosecution to sit in the back of the bus has to do with this issue.

            “But, ya know, we’re just irrational wimminfolk who froth at the mouth, so why bother listening to anything we have to say, or reading anything we post?”

            That is your own hang-up talking. It’s certainly nothing I have said. I never stated or implied that you or anyone else here was “irrational” and I never asked “why bother listening to anything [you] have to say, or reading anything you post.” I have been one of the few who actually give you the courtesy of treating you as equals, and not simply patting you on the back and saying “yes, honey, you’re right – absolutely right in whatever you say.”

            I’ve been polite and cordial with everyone here, and I’ve been met with quite a bit of nastiness, a lot of it from you. Stop it with the sarcasm and the snottiness, please. I haven’t attacked you, and I’m not attacking you. Having differences of opinion is not an attack.

          2. This is directed at romulus, we’ve reached the thread threshold. Romulus, regarding the whole “back of the bus” thing, if you were to actually READ THE LINK I POSTED you will understand how it’s relevant. No one is explaining it to you because if you read it, it should be self-explanatory. Here’s the link again:
            And if you forgot why I brought it up, I was responding to your point about there being nothing wrong with women tending to choose different career paths to men with there being nothing wrong with them choosing to sit at the back of the bus either. But I might as well have said “choosing to forgo reproductive rights” or “choosing to wear clothing that covers everything but their eyes” or “choosing to mutilate their daughters’ genitals”. Are you getting it yet?

      2. Again: It might be helpful to actually read what these women are sharing with you, instead of just assuming you are right, they are wrong, and then mansplaining it all away.

        1. I have read it. Now it might help if you would actually connect the article about Jews and women in the back of the bus with the topic at issue in this thread.

          And, nice use of the word “mansplaining.” You’d have a fit if people were running around calling women’s points of view “chicksplaining” or something like that. Strange that on a thread about sexism, the use of anti-male sexist language is common and unapologetic. Feel free, though, I won’t try to control your use of language – I just find it incongruous.

          1. First of all, Romulus, this is our house. And my fellow Skepchicks have been very generous in allowing you to post here, all the while clearly not having digested the posted information before commenting. And commenting copiously, I might add. You test our patience and the moment we point that out with any firmness, you are inclined to huff about. That’s tedious.

            Secondly, I have to bring up an interesting turn of phrase you used: “I have been one of the few who actually give you the courtesy of treating you as equal…” Indeed. Can you see anything wrong-headed with that statement? The fact that it is so tossed off is telling.

            Being treated as equals is not your courtesy to give. It’s our right to have.

          2. @Donna – I’ve broken no rule here, have I? If so, please point out the post which violates your terms.

            Sure, this is the house of those who run this website. However, it should be pointed out that the site is billed and advertised as committed to skepticism and, essentially, free inquiry (as I understand it – but, you can correct me if that is not the case – I may have misunderstood).

            In the notes regarding commenting here: “If you insist on behaving rudely, we will ban you without warning or apology.” I’ve been called a fuckwit twice, and I’ve been called a mansplainer, and other sexist verbiage. I’ve been called a troll, insincere, and told that I have no interest in the topic of the thread, except to “get attention.” Folks – look below – like marilove, Natalie and Mrmisconception have been rude with me consistently – and not AFTER or “in response” to some offense by me – they became rude and nasty with me for merely discussing the issue in the first place.

            I will make a commitment, though, to no longer respond to any of the insults thrown my way, and I will, of course, not insult anyone else. Will that work?

  16. A lot of people are telling commenters to calm down & be rational in their responses, and yet those same people are conveniently overlooking that there is a perception that socialized choice is a freely made choice (on the part of women making choices to go part time, or go into industries that are lower paid / less competitive). it is not a freely made choice. Women (and men) are conditioned from the moment of birth to fit into hetero-normative roles. The choices that women make reflect this conditioning. I am not even going to broach the problems of peer pressure, and ‘ambient belonging’, which further lock people out of gender-dominated industries.

    Here’s an abstract for anyone interested:


    1. Yeah, the whole, “you are being irrational” bullshit was annoying the shit out of me, too. It’s interesting that we get that a lot when we don’t agree with something a man says about what women go through in male-dominated society.

      But us wimmins, we are nothin’ but irrational and hysterical, amirght?

      1. I seem to recall a word I learned (from a link on this very blog though for some reason I can’t seem to track it down at the moment) that seems useful in this situation: gaslighting. It strikes me that the people making the “quit being irrational” statements are gaslighting us, and we should resist their attempts to redirect the conversation.

      2. Yeah, the whole, “you are being irrational” bullshit was annoying the shit out of me, too.
        That and the whole “you’re being unskeptical because you disagree with me” (my personal pet peeve).
        Just yelling out a logical fallacy (STAWMAN!!) or starting you sentence with “I thought this was a skeptical site…” or condescendingly defining a basic term of skepticism is not enough either, especially if you insist on using personal anecdotes as the only “proof” for your argument.

        1. Ladydreamgirl mentioned a term I had completely forgotten about: Gaslighting.

          It’s exactly what these people are doing. They are calling us irrational, or unskeptical, in an attempt to make us feel that we are being irrational or unskeptical, so that we question our opinions and facts, no matter how much evidence we have to prove our points. Notice that the men that are doing the gaslighting don’t seem to actually be reading what we post, or following the links, and seem to scream “Facts! You must use facts!”, while they use anecdotal stories as men in a male-dominated field as some sort of proof that institutionalized sexism doesn’t exist and is instead some sort of “conspiracy theory”. His constant use of “conspiracy” (which ultimately means irrational) is also a form of gaslighting.


          1. Facts? Are referring to the article about the Jews? Nobody bothered to explain why that was relevant. The only point it was offered for was something about women being allowed to “sit at the back of the bus.”

            So – if someone would like to make the point and explain to this poor, clueless, mansplainer what that article proved, I would be much obliged.

      3. Is that anything like being a “clueless” guy engaged in “mansplaining” and who just doesn’t “get it?” We menfolk are like that – thick heads and all, if we don’t just say “Yes, Dear,” we just “don’t get it” and when we voice an opinion, it’s just to “mansplain” anyway so we might as well take our points of view as they are given to us.

  17. Fighting direct job-placement discrimination may feel more satisfying but if it is only a symptom and not the real problem what is the point? It did not look as if the video was at all implying any judgement on what “should” be true or even a positive or negative judgement on what is true, but only attempting to clarify the nature of what is and what is not true.

    A similar comparison would be percentages of minorities in the prison system. Of course there are instances of direct discrimination that result in innocent minority individuals going to prison; but even if you can manage to completely eliminate every racist cop and judge the real problem is education and poverty.

    There ARE people bigoted (like Big Ol’ Ted) enough to say “don’t be stupid enough to choose to be poor and uneducated” to minorities and would also say to women “don’t be stupid enough to have babies and choose social sciences”, but I don’t think that’s what THIS video in question was trying to say.

  18. “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 you change it for “the choices men make”, and then switch the adjectives for their antonyms, it doesn’t change anything except the immediate mis-perception: Men also have the choice to go into low(er)-paying jobs in the same way women have the choice to go into high(er)-paying jobs. Continuing to choose career paths that end in low-paying jobs and claiming “gender inequality is why I don’t earn as much as someone with 7 years of education” is simply an invalid conclusion. Saying that women tend to be forced into these career paths by societal pressures – however – is a perfectly valid statement.

    This video DOES NOT deal with the root cause of why women and men fall into the career paths they do (remember, men get to choose too. I’m perfectly allowed to give up working on my engineering degree, and get a job in kindergarten), but only deals with what happens as a RESULT of this. And the conclusion is that women in the same jobs as men & with the same education and skillset earn 98% of what men do, in the US. Here in Norway, it’s probably even better. Because we’ve actually put a big effort into dealing with this.

    I also fail to see how it’s offensive to say that “if only you would do what heteronormative women do (when conforming to old-fashioned gender roles), you would earn as little as they do”. Of course I would! I would also earn less by becoming a comedian (for several reasons), and this is in now way a woman-dominated field.

  19. Interesting. I have not done a numerical analysis, and there are a lot of comments here… but I get the feeling that a lot of self identified (through name or image) women are saying they see the problem and most of the “calm down”/”what’s the problem” comments a are coming from self identified (through name or image) men.

    Just because you don’t find something offensive, doesn’t mean that it’s not offensive, and when a bunch of people say “I am offended by this” the proper response is not “I’m not, so why the hell are you.”

    1. In PZ Myers resent post that touched on feminism, the apologists who didn’t get it were men, while the people who did see the problem were both men and women. It did go on for some 750 comments …

    2. “Just because you don’t find something offensive, doesn’t mean that it’s not offensive, and when a bunch of people say “I am offended by this” the proper response is not “I’m not, so why the hell are you.”

      I have done the numerical analysis. One person (who I can’t identify as male or female) said they didn’t understand why this was offensive. One. Well said indeed.

      There is no such thing as something that is objectively offensive. Offense is always subjective which is why many of us are trying to steer away from opinion and back to the data. Apparently the data is not the problem, but the way it was presented. I have tried and failed to understand what was wrong with the original video. I acknowledge that this could be my limitation.

      1. “Apparently the data is not the problem, but the way it was presented. I have tried and failed to understand what was wrong with the original video.”

        The data isn’t the problem?

        Well, it is. I am finding a relevant research that contradict the claims made. I’m constantly getting paywalled though. Very annoying.

        The second problem with the video is that even if he claims his intention is not to sweep discrimination under the rug, it is what the effect of the video is, and what some people do in the comments. Oversimplification never help solve any issue.

        1. No, you have that wrong. The effect of the video is expressly not to sweep discrimination under any rug. He even explained this. The effect is to do what skeptics do; shed light on a sometimes emotional issue. How many anti-vaxers are out there right now screaming their fictitious arguments in an attempt to persuade people? But when they are presented with the real facts, they deny them or claim a conspiracy. I’ve been hearing this argument for decades now, but as an engineer and a manager, I’ve seen the salary of dozens of engineers and I can tell you that I have never seen a single case where a female was getting paid less than an equally qualified male counterpart. Nor have I seen women routinely passed over for males for promotions. If anything, the females have fared better considering it is usually one female and 3 or 4 males going for the same promotion. This is simply a modern myth that women enjoy holding over men’s head. I’m happy to see a woman promoted, but I’m not happy to hear this kind of constant whining about a problem that doesn’t exist.

          1. You keep saying “conspiracy”. I don’t think you really understand what that word means.

            You also claim “But when they are presented with the real facts, they deny them or claim a conspiracy.” (No one claimed a conspiracy. Institutionalized sexism isn’t a fucking conspiracy.)

            Yet ignore the facts presented to you (did you even read the link Veronica provided? …. didn’t think so), and instead provide some anecdotal evidence as “fact”.

            Your biases are showing.

          2. “I’ve been hearing this argument for decades now, but as an engineer and a manager, I’ve seen the salary of dozens of engineers and I can tell you that I have never seen a single case where a female was getting paid less than an equally qualified male counterpart. Nor have I seen women routinely passed over for males for promotions. If anything, the females have fared better considering it is usually one female and 3 or 4 males going for the same promotion. ”

            You are so concerned with facts, yet you are presenting things that you can’t possibly back up with actual facts. I dare you to back up everything you’ve just claimed here, as fact. Wait, you can’t, because it’s anecdotal evidence. INterestingly, when Veronica posts a study, you ignore it completely and instead scream, “CONSPIRACY THEORIST!!! Sexism doesn’t exist! I know because of my anecdotal experiences as a man!” Convenient.

            Where’s your evidence? Did you actually go through all of those salaries and promotions, or are you just making a lot of assumptions based off of your biases?

    3. Personally, I’ve always found it pretty arrogant and presumptuous when people make statements that someone is “overreacting”, being “hyper-sensitive” or should “just get over it” when the issue at hand is a form of discrimination they themselves haven’t experienced. If a man has never experienced misogyny, how the hell can he make claims as to what the appropriate emotional response is?

      1. Kinda like how arrogant it is to dismiss men’s arguments as mansplaining, by clueless guys who just “don’t get it,” right?

        And, we can comment on misogyny for the same reason women can comment on misandry. You don’t have to be men to opine on the privileges of and other aspects of being a man – women on this thread and this blog do it every day. Nobody ever offers any protest that women ought not to be able to comment on the plights of men in this world.

  20. Wikipedia has a really great article on why there’s a disparity between men and women, maybe some of you should look at it? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male%E2%80%93female_income_disparity_in_the_United_States

    Also, if a lot of women (or any minority) are saying the same thing and you don’t think it’s true because you’ve never experienced it, you’re probably wrong, not the women.

    Why can’t you just accept that sexism is alive and well in 2011?

    1. Psh, actually clicking on a link that a women has provided him is just too damn hard, if you haven’t noticed. I mean, dontcha know, his anecdotal experiences are FACT! And we women are just conspiracy theorists. We are too emotional and frothy at the mouth. DUH.

  21. Can’t we accept that we may, as a gender, be hitting ourselves? The majority of women aren’t feminists. A lot of women think that their double X chromosomes make them inherently bad at math. A lot of women think that being a mother is more important than having a high paying career, and that women are inherently more adept at raising children than men.

    Can’t we accept that we are hitting ourselves because of the society we are brought up in? Can’t we accept that this is something that feminism should work on?

    I think the thing to take away from this are there are tenable things we can do to fix the wage gap, and that this change can be accomplished by work from feminists of both genders – first, we can encourage young women to pursue math and math-related hobbies from an early age, and secondly, we can work on better paternity leave, such as countries like Sweden have.

    1. “The majority of women aren’t feminists.”

      Well, consider this:

      “Despite the fact that the concept of equal rights and opportunities for women was for so many millenia the most radical idea ever proposed, it is arguably the most powerful as well. Such was the strength of this concept of equality that by 1986, 56% of American women – once read a definition of what a feminist was – identified themselves as either a “feminist” (46%) or a “strong feminist” (10%). By 1995, the figures had jumped to 73% (48% “feminist” and 25% “strong feminist”). The reason many polls show lower figures is because without being told what a “feminist” actually is, people must construct a definition from what they see in sensationalist media, or hear from radical antifeminists on radio talk shows. Some decide “Well, THAT’S not me,” without realizing that feminists are as varied a group as any other, and have only one thing in common: a commitment to equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for women and men.”


      Unfortunately I found no source for these stats.

      1. Interesting. Has the division of parenting skills between genders been studied in the past 50 years? I wonder if there’s a correlation between what people actually think about equal rights and what they practice.

  22. If you talk to most HR people (a women dominated field BTW), at least in the states. The ones looking at their companies compensation plans, they are going to tell you that most gender differences are largely BS. I’m not saying it never happens, because it does, but it is not the rule for the vast majority of jobs in the work place. Yes, cultural pressures effect choices regarding children and job choices. It sucks. I would love to be a stay at home dad, but ultimately I had a choice. People have choices. The US culture does not mesh well with work/life balance. We are a capitalist and materialistic society. That will have an negative impact on anyone (regardless of gender)who chooses to work part-time, take large amounts of time off to raise kids, or otherwise doesn’t make the company a priority. But that doesn’t make for some sexist conspiracy to pay women less.

      1. “…but it is not the rule for the vast majority of jobs in the work place.”

        There is a lot of data provided upthread to call this assertion into question.

          1. Ok, so have you read any of the studies that have been provided? (note: I ask the question honestly with NO intent to imply that you haven’t read said studies) I mean you say you haven’t encountered a study that would meet your satisfaction, but you haven’t actually pointed out what the problems with the proffered evidence is. At the very least it would be nice to know what your requirements are. What exactly would you consider the ideally executed study of sex/gender disparities in the workplace, the platonic ideal of such a study if you will? Without some idea of what you take issue with in relation to specified studies it’s hard to muster a proper argument.

    1. “If you talk to most HR people (a women dominated field BTW)”

      Umm, is it actually pertinent whether HR is a predominately female field? Why does the sex/gender of people in HR matter to what they have to say? It sort of reads like you’re saying that, since most HR people are women (something for which I would like a citation by the way but for the sake of argument I’m assuming it for the moment) they would be more likely to point out discriminatory practices against women. Both women and men could potentially have reasons to fail to be completely objective on the matter so bringing up the sex/gender of the individuals providing the anecdotal evidence doesn’t actually have any bearing on their objectivity, so bringing it up seems a bit manipulative to me.

  23. I didn’t get the feeling that he is blaming women for making “bad” choices. He’s just putting some information out there. It’s up to us to determine if that information is credible or not. I don’t think it’s right to simply dismiss it based on your interpretation of the presenters attitude.

    As he points out, these “choices” influenced by social and biological preferences. And to his point, if society valued the jobs that are currently female dominant we may very well be talking about how women make 25% more than men.

    However, his facts are not reality based and should be properly destroyed by evidence. This doesn’t mean we can assume anything about his intentions or purpose behind this video, just that he is ill informed.

    Overall the analysis by Felicia brings no more to the table than the presenter. Two opposing views, none backed by evidence. Now I’m throwing in a third view (also not backed by evidence) that we should not entirely dismiss his claims and realize that men and women are different.

    1. “As he points out, these “choices” influenced by social and biological preferences.”

      Yet he fails to note that if choices are constrained by social preferences (what’s a biological preference?), then they aren’t really choices.

      “I’m throwing in a third view (also not backed by evidence) that we should not entirely dismiss his claims and realize that men and women are different.”

      That’s great. Wow. I’m glad you’re around, otherwise nobody would have ever thought of acknowledging that men and women are different.


      1. Everything we do in life is constrained by social influences and consequences. I was socialized from an early age to work and be a breadwinner, to pay the check on dates with women, to not be profane around women, etc. Does that mean I don’t have a “choice” in regards to those things?

        If I don’t work, I won’t make money, and my bills won’t get paid, and conceivably, I will go hungry. Does that mean I have “no choice” but to work?

        Maybe there is a disconnect between different folks on this issue as to what it means to have “choices.” I don’t view choice as meaning that the choice is consequence free, or that there are no pressures to choose one way or the other.

        It seems to me that based on what I interpret you to mean by “choice,” nobody makes any real “choices” ever.

    1. I thought the prevailing theory was that women were paid less, therefore more likely to be kept on with expanded duties during layoffs?

  24. Constructing a brand new human being out of one’s own tissues, blood, bone, and sinews is hard work. So is raising said brand new human being from infancy to functional adulthood. It also costs a lot of money.

    I would like to get paid for doing this work, should I ever decide to become a mother.

    Why is that not a choice?

    1. You are expecting a reconfiguration of the human anatomy? Well, I guess that’s not much to ask for.

      1. No. I just want society to recognize that raising children is performing a service without which society would not survive, and compensate child-raisers accordingly.

        1. Very interesting idea. I am not clear on how that would work, though, since there isn’t an “employer” that hires, trains and employs “child caretakers,” unless the person is working for a day care center or some such other organization. When a mother and father take on the responsibility to care for a child, they aren’t employed by anyone except for themselves. Would they be paying themselves?

          You referred to the value “society” put on the tasks of a child-raiser, but I’m not clear on who you’re suggesting would write the checks. The government? Are you suggesting that everyone who has children should get a paycheck, fill out a W-4, claim deductions and file taxes on a W-2 on April 15?

          Would the payment be just for people without jobs who care for kids at home? Or, if someone does both, working AND caring for a child, would there be some kind of payment forthcoming in that instance?

          I wonder, too, would there be other requirements like for any other business? Like – would you have to have a license to be a child-caretaker? Would there be inspections periodically, like in a day care center? Would time clocks be installed in everyone’s houses, and would the new government employees report to someone, so that “society” can be assured that they’re doing their jobs?

    2. “I would like to get paid for doing this work, should I ever decide to become a mother. Why is that not a choice?”

      Because there are too many women willing to do it for free. Maybe you could start a union.

      1. Ah, so it’s women’s fault. Got it. No actions by men contributed to the fact that this choice is not available to me.

        1. I think davew was actually being a bit snarky, there. :)

          I don’t think that being a mother should necessarily be compensated with a paycheck, but I do think people seem to forget how important mothers (and fathers, for that matter) are for the entire human race — which includes men! — and seem to deem it as “unworthy” compared to, say, engineering (like skullsrus seems to be doing upthread).

          There’s a reason why I don’t want to be a parent: It is a job that I would be terrible at. And, yes, it is a job. And one of the hardest there is.

          1. At the very least, society could stop penalizing women for being child-bearers, or even potential child-bearers. I pay more for health care because I am a potential child-bearer, even if I decide never to have children. If we are really interested in equality, we will find a way to compensate for the few biologically imposed inequalities there are between men and women. As it stands now, women are basically forced to pay for being child-bearers, both in actual expenses and in terms of lost opportunities vis-a-vis career and education. That’s because educational and business social structure are set up to acommodate the needs of men exclusively.

            I mean, I get paid, often fairly well, for taking care of other people’s children. There’s no particular reason society can’t decide we want to collectively compensate people who do that for their own kids as well.

        2. It’s nobody’s “fault.” Men don’t get paid for raising children either.

          Who do you expect to pay you for having babies? Why would anyone care if you have a baby or not? I mean – it’s nice if you do, in my opinion, but I am certainly not concerned enough to write you a paycheck every month.

      2. “Because there are too many women willing to do it for free. Maybe you could start a union.”

        Wanting to have a child != willing to do it for free

        There’s that lack of choice again.

    3. It is a choice.

      If you found someone willing to pay you to do that, that would be fine. If you asked me, for example, I don’t particularly care if you have a child or not, so why would I pay you to go through all that?

      Lots of things are hard work. Just because something is hard work doesn’t mean that someone will pay you to do it. Who do you expect to be paid by?

    1. I already posted that! :P

      As @davew pointed out, it is a fairly narrow study (in that it only studies MBA students). It initially was only ivy league-centric, but I believe they expanded it to other schools as well.

  25. Okay, everyone, here’s the thing: Romulus is pretty clearly trolling. He’s posted a contradictory, deliberately inflammatory opinion to pretty much every single post. We should probably stop feeding him.

    1. I think I agree with you, as I seem to remember that he’s done similar things in other threads.

      skullsrus, on the other hand, is likely not a troll. He just really likes the word “conspiracy”.

        1. Yes, clearly all the estrogen has made me an irrational “emotive thinker” who only relies on “women’s intuition”. :p

          1. And dontcha know? Women get degrees in education and accounting because they secretly all want to bang, marry, and have babies with the superior male engineers! (He really seems to like to repeat the fact, over and over, that he is an engineer, I’ve noticed. Like we should all fall on our lady-knees and bow to his greatness.)

            Seriously, that comment made my mouth drop. I can’t believe he had the vagina** to say something like that in a skeptical blog/community specifically for and by women.

            **Betty White reference! (“Why do people say “Grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!”)

      1. Yeah, Romulus did a lot of moaning in the “crotch” threads, doing his tons-and-tons of responses thing, and expressing some pretty strongly misogynist thinking while totally failing to actually “get” the point, and also indicating a lack of having actually read the article (as his list of “male-gendered insults” included stuff I’d actually addressed in the quote, like “motherfucker”, and things that are CLEARLY female-gendered, like “twat”) And his two dozen posts or so in the reddit jailbait comment thread were all about claiming it wasn’t child porn because she was wearing underwear, and saying silly stuff like “if the ladies of skepchick get their way, we’ll have to censor the victoria’s secret catalog!”. There were, I think, a couple other such troll-a-thons.

        I don’t know about skullsrus, though. I don’t think I’ve had enough experience with him. But you all seem to be doing a great job of addressing his claims. I love the moments where it’s like, “oh, I guess I don’t have to say anything. Everyone else has got it covered.” :)

        1. Know what’s funny? I only just now watched the video (I was at work earlier and in the middle of a project that didn’t allow me to watch a video). Notice I never commented on the subject matter of the video (aside from acknowledging that, yes, institutionalized sexism does exist and is not a “conspiracy theory”), but rather on how a few certain people (men) were responding to all of the women here (mansplaining, gaslighting). I just watched the video, and all of my points still stand.

          Also, I don’t think what he’s saying in the video is (completely) wrong. I think he’s mostly stating how things are in terms of the wage gap. I don’t like his use of “choice” and the lack of explanation of how society influences men and women and their paths in life as a whole, however.

          Also, it’s really, really frustrating to constantly hear this sort of stuff. What he says in the video isn’t anything new. I think that’s where most of the frustration comes from. Yes, we know this is how the world is. But we can’t seem to discuss why it is this way or how we might fix the problem (see the mansplaining and gaslighting above). The mansplainers, for instance, are taking the word “choice” literally, when it’s just not that simple, and they just plain ignore us when we try to explain to them why it’s just not that simple (even going so far as to ignore actual data that we provide, telling us we are being irrational and not using facts, and then claiming they are being factual by using anecdotal evidence!).


          I think this is what I take most issue with in the video:

          “What’s happening here is not discrimination in the labor force, but differences in the choice that men and women make about investing in their knowledge, education, skills, and job experience that lead them to getting paid different salaries.”

          First, he’s denying out-right that there is discrimination, which we all should know is not true. I’ve certainly experienced it, and I don’t even have a degree! That doesn’t mean that every woman experiences it, of course, but it does exist. Secondly, his use of “not discrimination in the labor force” denies the many, many social factors that a lot of people above have mentioned (how women are raised, and taught to think, and how they are encouraged to do things like education instead of engineering, or how women working in male-dominated fields presents a LOT of hurdles that men won’t face). That is one part of institutionalized sexism and, yes, discrimination (telling Emily that she should play with dolls and become a teacher because playing with trucks and wanting to become a doctor is “man’s work” is discrimination and very common in our society).

          Finally, he’s definitely using choice pretty literally here:

          “but differences in the choice that men and women make about investing in their knowledge, education, skills, and job experience that lead them to getting paid different salaries.”

          Completely denying many, many complex social factors that many people above have brought up. They do exist and they are important. We can’t ignore them when we talk about the age gap.

          1. I think a huge problem is that a lot of guys look at sexism and discrimination in a fairly basic way. They see it as only ever being a top-down structure, of people deliberately and consciously discriminating against people on the basis of gender, race, sexuality, etc. Sort of “without sexists, there can’t be sexism!”

            But the reality is far more complex and subtle. It’s a culturally emergent system of biases that is totally encoded into our culture, everything from how we’re socialized as children to the language we use. Even harmless looking things like restroom signs: those are taken as basic “iconic” signs that represent what men and women look like. Note that the ladies’ room sign is wearing a skirt. Skirts are only female signifiers due to cultural convention. The male figure is more or less “neutral”.

            Sexism isn’t a top-down structure of men consciously keeping down women and enforcing their privilege. It’s mostly a bottom-up structure, a culturally emergent sent of assumptions and ways of treating gender, a big, silly, mostly-arbitrary split right down the middle of the human race, that ALL of us, even feminists, find ourselves reinforcing, and need to constantly work against. I think that failure to recognize the subtlety of it, how deeply encoded it is into our cultural bias and way of thinking, and how much more complex it is than things like the wage gap, is what ends up being the biggest barrier in getting men to recognize the patriarchal elements of our society. That and the fact that they’re less screwed over by the status quo than women are, and therefore a lot more naturally uncomfortable with the thought of rolling the dice.

          2. He appears to be using “choice” in the way economists tend to use the term: without compassion, morality or judgement.

            In economic terms, you are “choosing” to eat rather than to starve to death. The ability to make that choice affects the supply and demand of food.

            So if this guy is as much of an economist as he sounds like, when he talks about “choice”, that’s without consideration for motivation or pressure. Anything that is possible is a choice whether to do it or not in economic terms.

            And with that rant, I think a non economist or two probably should have checked the script and let him know that women might get pissed off at his choice of words.

        2. I love the moments where it’s like, “oh, I guess I don’t have to say anything. Everyone else has got it covered.”

          This! You guys are amazing!

        3. No need to make personal attacks. One day you’ll learn that just because people disagree, that doesn’t make them “misogynists.”

          Your post about the sexist profanity was wrong, by the way. In the post you’re referring to, where I provided a long list of words applied to men, I demonstrated exactly how and why you were wrong.

          You can feel free to chalk that up to alleged “misogyny” so you can pretend to be suffering more injustices because people don’t just roll over and except every one of your premises without argument or discussion. That’s your call.

          1. Marilove – You forgot to “eyeroll” and add a snotty little sarcastic comment, dontcha know?

        4. Just out of curiosity, when would the image of Princess Leia on the new thread about Halloween costumes be “pornography,” and when won’t it be? Is it just whatever you think the intent of the person posting it is, and whether men are “getting off” to it.

          What about the woman in the bikini in the thread about the animals getting released from the exotic animal facility in Ohio? Is that both porn and not porn, depending on who is and isn’t masturbating while looking at it?

          I’m truly not getting what you’re saying on this issue, and I find what you’ve expressed so far as, well, let’s just say “unique.”

      2. Actually, I take back what I said about not knowing enough about skullsrus. Just saw this:

        “he vast majority of women are getting the easy degrees (education, accounting) and plotting for a nice house, fast cars and rug rats by shagging the men in engineering and business school.”


        1. “But the reality is far more complex and subtle. It’s a culturally emergent system of biases that is totally encoded into our culture, everything from how we’re socialized as children to the language we use”

          Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Whenever skullsrus was replying to women commenting on the social problems by calling them “conspiracy theorist!” he was referring to this, which is institutionalized sexism.

          It’s not a damn conspiracy theory. It’s part of our culture. No matter how many times he screams “conspiracy theory!”

          And, yep, he totally said that. Isn’t that nice? He basically showed his true, sexist colors there. romulus is an annoying, trolly mansplainer, but at least he didn’t go where skullsrus did. I mean, skullsrus blatantly claimed that women become teachers and accountants because all they want is a man and babies, and preferably an engineer, ‘cuz that’s all women care about (finding a husband and having babies and using their careers to do it). He’s using his experience as a man and an engineer to color his entire worldview, and ignoring what EVERY SINGLE WOMAN has been saying in this thread about institutionalized sexism, and claiming that his experiences as a man in a male-dominated field are somehow more important, and that we are conspiracy theories. Sorry, bub, but your penis and engineering degree doesn’t make you any less wrong or sexist.

          In reality, he’s just a sexist asshole. And, yep, I’m using an ad hominem attack (mentioning it before he points it out himself, like I had no idea), because as soon as he said “lulz women just wanna bang engineers and have lots of babies and become teachers lulz” I knew his “opinions” were bullshit.

        2. Also, telling all the women here that we are conspiracy theorists who can’t seem to use facts, while blatantly ignoring most of the linked facts they brought up, and then using his anecdotal experience as a man in a male-dominated field as some sort of proof against institutionalized sexism. Classy.

          It’s like he’s the fucking poster child for both mansplaining and gaslighting!

          1. I think the gaslighting angle is a really good one. I’ve been noticing this a whole lot in various internet debates with guys about stuff like sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. Somehow, no matter how patient we may be with the discriminatory stuff, and how much of an OBVIOUS emotional investment they have in the issue (why spend a bunch of time on a feminist blog, for instance, if you have such a dismissive attitude towards it? Obviously they’ve got some kind of personal investment in it), the talk always seems to come back around to how we’re “overreacting”, “irrational”, “hyper-sensitive”, “looking for things to be offended by”, “unrealistic”, “unscientific”, “dancing around the issue”, “whining”, being “emotional” about it, need to “get over it” or “just ignore it” and so on. All the expectations end up on us to never be upset by any form of discrimination, never speak out, and maintain some kind of impossibly dispassionate attitude towards our own marginalization and subjugation, but they don’t have to take any responsibility whatsoever towards listening to our perspectives, acknowledging their own bias, attempting to maintain a level of respect, tact and understanding, or respect the perspectives and experiences of those on the receiving end of discrimination. They always act like they somehow understand what the appropriate emotional response to discrimination is better than the people actually experiencing it!

            Sometimes, it seems like what they really want is totally guilt-free privilege. “SHUSH! Stop making me feel uncomfortable by pointing out how I benefit from social inequality!”

          2. Another problem with Skullsrus’ fondness for the whole ‘conspiracy’ angle: although the conspiracy theory mindset is generally a flawed one, genuine conspiracies have existed (not many but not none).

          3. Grrr! My parenthetical remark ate the end of the sentence I was adding it to.

            My final sentence should read: …although the conspiracy theory mindset is generally a flawed one, genuine conspiracies have existed (not many but not none) so sometimes calling something a conspiracy is necessary.

            I would also like to add that I am not intending to imply that sex/gender bias in the workplace IS a conspiracy, merely pointing out a further way in which this assertion (which happens to strike me as an attempt to poison the well) is nonsensical. The assertion is doubly wrong, the individuals disagreeing with Skullsrus are not behaving in the manner stereotypically associated with the name ‘conspiracy theorists’ and individuals who posit that something is a result of a conspiracy are not always incorrect.

          4. Thanks, James K and Ryan. That actually makes a lot of sense. I knew something was off with his choice of words. There was a photo going around Facebook recently that identified how the public thinks of certain words differently than the general public (the word “theory” for example, I think we can all relate to).

            I get it, and understand it.

            But … didn’t we kind of already know this stuff? It doesn’t seem like news at all, and I think that’s another problem. He’s presenting it like no one has ever said this before, but that’s not true. Yes, we know there is a wage gap, and yes we know it’s because women tend to go into different fields, and they are the ones that become pregnant and have to make far different choices when it comes to family than most men do.

            It’s a little condescending. And doesn’t seem to have much of a point.

            And then, of course, when we, as women, try to address why things might be the way they are, we get brushed off!

            In a Skeptical, feminist-leading blog, a space for Skeptical women, we have been called irrational, and told to “calm down”, several times, in reply to very calm responses.

            Skeptical terms have been condescendingly defined to us.

            We were told to use facts, and when we present data to support our ideas, they are blatantly ignored, and the responding argument uses anecdotal evidence.

            We were told that institutional sexism doesn’t exist, by a man who is basing his opinions solely on his experiences as a man in a male-dominated society and a male-dominated career. Even after numerous women spoke up and said, hey, you’re wrong, it does exist, because I’m a woman and have experienced it, we are brushed off and called conspiracy theorists. Because clearly, if he’s never experienced or witnessed sexism, it just doesn’t exist! Everything is peachy. We women are just emotional and irrational. Our experiences mean nothing.

            And this is a fucking Skeptical community FOR WOMEN.

            And people wonder why we get pissed off? I mean come the fuck on.

            Of course we’re fucking pissed off.

    2. Not trolling in the least. I think if you look at what I actually say, you’ll find I’ve been polite and on topic. I’ve not tried to insult anyone. But, I’m not surprised, based on the content of your posts, that you’d be making that accusation.

      1. Insisting that data that have been disputed are still “facts” without acknowledging (or even reading) the provided contradictions is trolling behavior.

        Calling others on their behavior while exhibiting the same behavior (see: preconceived notions) is trolling bahavior.

        Giving hypothetical examples that are only tangentally related to the topic to “prove” your point is trolling behavior.

        And using the sentiment “but guys have it rough too” on a feminist blog is definitely trolling bahvior.”

        Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are acting like a troll.

        No more soup for you!

        1. “Insisting that data that have been disputed are still “facts” without acknowledging (or even reading) the provided contradictions is trolling behavior.”

          You must be thinking of someone else other than me. I’ve not insisted on any data as being undisputed “facts.”

          “Calling others on their behavior while exhibiting the same behavior (see: preconceived notions) is trolling bahavior.”

          I have no preconceived notions on this issue.

          “Giving hypothetical examples that are only tangentally related to the topic to “prove” your point is trolling behavior.”

          Any examples I have given were precisely on point, and illustrated exactly why the proferred definition of “pornography” as dependent on whether viewers are “getting off” on an image, and what the subjective intent of the person posting an image is, is flawed.

          “And using the sentiment “but guys have it rough too” on a feminist blog is definitely trolling bahvior.””

          I’ve never stated or implied that.

          “Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you are acting like a troll.

          No more soup for you!”

          Unfounded complaint. By your definitions of “trolling behavior” then you and Felicia are both trolling me, by the way.

      2. “I’ve not tried to insult anyone”

        immediately followed by:

        “But, I’m not surprised, based on the content of your posts, that you’d be making that accusation.”


        Look, you clearly don’t have any respect for feminism or for the kinds of ideas that get presented on this blog. But over the last week or so you’ve been coming and spending lots of time posting huge quantities of posts that all take completely contradictory positions to whatever was said here, and that are obviously going to be inflammatory. If your only interest in this blog is to come in and have arguments with the people who read it, that is the very definition of trolling. It doesn’t matter how “polite” or “on topic” you may think the are… it’s about getting your kicks from creating conflict.

          1. Retreat to a cocoon. That’ll keep you safe from anyone who would voice an opposing opinion to what you see as inarguable. How very “Skepchick” of you.

        1. Apparently, you interpret “taking an opposing view” as some sort of “trolling.”

          I find the threads I’ve posted on here, incidentally, quite interesting because of their strangeness. I am trying to understand them, and I’ve been trying to employ some dialectic to get a clearer understanding of where folks are coming from on these issues.

          I must say, that I’ve noticed a decided lack of tolerance on this website for any opposition. It comes across as “if you don’t agree with us, you’re a misogynist, and you’re a clueless mansplainer who just doesn’t get it…” That’s the way it comes across anyway – take it for what it’s worth to you, which may well be absolutely nothing.

          However, if the operators of this website think that they are presenting a “skeptical” image, along the lines of logical, rational, freethinking and free inquiry, well, I can tell you that I am definitely not the only one who sees it otherwise. It seems to a great many people in the “skeptic” community to have become agenda-driven and dogmatic.

          Why does it matter? Because members of this website pop up at a variety of atheist-related and skeptic-related events and are billed as “skeptics.” If that is not what they are, then they ought not be presented as champions of skepticism.

          1. Romulus, a discussion involves an EXCHANGE of ideas. While you are quite willing to tell us what you think, you have failed to demonstrate any willingness or ability to listen to anyone else. How many times are the posters on this site expected to respond to you, when they would get -better- results by talking to a brick wall? These people have lives that extend beyond this website, and time is at a premium. Unless you show some willingness to respond to their comments in an intellectually honest way (which you have not done), it is not their “job” to educate you on debate, on feminism, or on being a decent human being.

          2. Quietmarc – I have responded to the substantive posts made by folks addressing the main article. What I got in return was nastiness and name calling. I’ve had to address all that – being called a fuckwit – told to fuck off – and all that – you’ll find I have not once responded in kind.

            The folks who have been insulting me couldn’t, by the way, educate me on anything. If they had that capacity, they wouldn’t be so quick to launch into sarcastic, namecalling tirades.

            Look at the insults and snark and sarcasm they leveled against Dr. Horwitz? He made certain statements people didn’t like – none of those statements was profane or nasty to anyone – but he was called names, told he was telling women they should stop hitting themselves, asked if it would be alright to punch him, told he was calling women “stupid” and various other items of nastiness.

            That’s what you call “debate” and “discussion?” Even Dr. Horwitz – who only participated in the debate through an intermediary who posted a very polite, and professional, clarification of Dr. Horwitz’s intent, was lambasted with personal attacks. He wasn’t doing a reasonable study, we were told, rather he was attacking women, telling them they were stupid, and defending sexism in the workplace.

            That’s the garbage thrown at Dr. Horwitz. That’s what passes for “Debate” and “discussion.” Me – I’m supposedly a troll for objecting to that sort of thing, but then when the same people who attacked Dr. Horwitz call me a fuckwit and tell me to fuck off, it’s somehow supposed to be reasonable to call me a troll.

            …if it wasn’t so tragic for the skeptic movement, it would be funny. It’s a horrible sign of the times, that “skepticism” is being coopted in certain areas by the nasty, intolerant and dogmatic.

      3. I read through the “crotch” post that was posted recently, and you trolled the shit out of that too.

        And, in this particular post, you blatantly ignored links that were provided to you. You ignored points that were made. You have made several contradictory statements.

        Either you’re a troll, or you’re just an idiot. Either way, I don’t think anyone is taking you seriously or really cares what you have to say.

        If you aren’t a troll and you’re trying to be sincere, maybe you should change your tactics and, oh, I don’t know, actually READ what others have to say? Yeah? Ya think that might be a good idea? I do.

        1. It’s that kind of snotty snarkiness that pervades your posts and the posts of many others. If someone expresses an opposing view, they are immediately met with “eye rolling” posts with sarcastic statements. Namecalling – like your post to which I’m now responding – is a first resort for you and your ilk. It demonstrates a lack of ability to defend one’s position, which is why I won’t respond to you in the same vein.

          As long as we’re giving each other recommendations – maybe you should learn to discuss issues, rather than just point out how stupid you think your opposition is. More substance and less snarky sarcasm would create a more substantive conversation.

          Of course, if what your after is just mutual masturbation where you congratulate each other being so right and so enlightened, and to banish all the evil-doers who dare to take a position that opposes yours, then have at it. You’re doing a fine job of it so far.

  26. I got a different moral from this video than seems to be flying about here:

    I felt the most important point was that equal pay is being given for equal work. This is awesome. Huge step forward. This used to be a massive problem. A waiter and a waitress used to get paid differently for the exact same entry level job.

    The fact that there is still a significant difference in mean pay has more, now, to do with societal pressures and glass ceilings which prevent women from obtaining the same jobs as men.

    That’s what I got out of this. Progress has been made, more needs to be done.

    1. “I felt the most important point was that equal pay is being given for equal work. This is awesome.”

      That is still often not the case. According to some of the references posted around in this discussion, that claims in the video is wrong on this point. The balancing out thing he does in that video is false. It does not equal out if you account for the variables he mentioned.

      There has obviously been progress. But we’re far from there yet.

  27. I’ve watched the video and based off your comments I think I understand why Horowitz’s presentation of his evidence left you cold. If my take is off base, do let me know.

    Horowitz spoke too much like an economist for his presentation to work well for a public audience (I’m an economist myself, so I know the signs). Just as physical scientists can mishandle explaining their findings to a general audience, so can social scientists.

    First off Horowitz is answering a narrower question than you are interested in. Unless I am mistaken (and please inform me if I am) you are thinking of Horowitz as addressing the question “are women getting a raw deal in employment?”, when he’s really asking is a narrower question “Is there some failure in the labour market causing women to be systematically underpaid relative to men?”. The distinction between these questions is that Horowitz is deliberately taking women’s preferences and constraints as a given because analysing those start to get outside an economist’s expertise, and in any case you don’t need to worry about that stuff if your analysing the performance of the market mechanism, and not the society that surrounds it. When he says “choice” he doesn’t mean quite the same thing as an ordinary person, he thinking about economic decision-making models, not philosophical or sociological issues of freedom in the presence of social pressure.

    This is why his discussion of changing attitudes and career advice comes across as an afterthought, for the question he’s addressing it is an afterthought.

    You might well ask why bother looking at just a small part of the problem. The reason to do this is that it helps identify what kinds of interventions would be best to solve the problem. For example, consider a law that mandated equal pay for equivalent positions, enforced by strict monitoring and severe penalties. Based on the information Horowitz is presenting this would be a bad way to address the problem because the discrimination isn’t happening in the labour market, it’s happen outside the market in wider society. That’s where any efforts to arrest the problem need to take place.

    The reason all of this is apparent to me is that since I’m an economist Horowitz and I speak the same language. The question for me is did he intend this video to be for the general public, or just economists and economics students? If the latter, then the only problem is that the video reached the wrong audience. If the former, then didn’t communicate well enough for a general audience.

    1. This. So much this.
      The “choices women make” are taken as a starting point, and is simply not part of the question he is trying to answer.

      1. I very much appreciate this perspective, it’s nice to get an explanation of why he persists in using the word “choice” the way he does. However, what he’s TRYING to do, as I’ve said before, doesn’t really matter when it comes to how people PERCEIVE it. As evidenced by my post above. Most people who see that video are probably NOT going to be economists and hence have no idea in what dispassionate way he is using “choice”.

        1. “Most people who see that video are probably NOT going to be economists and hence have no idea in what dispassionate way he is using “choice”.”- Felicia

          I am pretty much with you the whole way but I’m not going to hold Mr. Horwitz responsible for using the technical meaning of word in his field. He’s entirely right to do so given the question he’s asking and trying to answer.

          The same thing happens in evolution discussion when a biologist says Evolutionary Theory. It really isn’t his fault fault the public is taking it the wrong way. And it certainly isn’t his fault if someone like skullsrus shows up and uses ‘choice’ to hand wave the problem away.

          Although I would agree attention should be paid to what words we use to communicate. It can save everyone a lot of time.

  28. I haven’t read the comments, I’m sure people posted many studies. I thought this recent one (April 2011) was pretty straightforward; for equal hours, equal job position, women make less than men. This guy should look up his facts. But it’s true that there are many factors involved. Men need to recognize that, but what actually concerns me is that us women need to, uh, grow balls. Seriously.

  29. Bah, I made a reply, but replied to the wrong thing (should have just made a new comment). I don’t like this new commenting system, whiiine. :P It’s upthread, guys.

  30. And let me tell you what. The two things that bother me the most, and I’ll just repeat something I said above:

    “We were told to use facts, and when we present data to support our ideas, they are blatantly ignored, and the responding argument uses anecdotal evidence.”

    And, being told that most women go to college (choosing education or accounting, of course) to “shag” the engineers and have their babies.

    Seriously? Can you be more of an obvious sexist prick? I mean come the fuck on.

    It’s a power trip. That’s his emotional investment. That’s why he’s here.

    He is the one being irrational, and hugely defensive to boot (doth protest too much, etc), but of course he’ll deny it.

    Ugh. Seriously, just shut the fuck up. (I’m sure he’ll claim I’m being emotional and to calm down, but I think y’all know me well enough to know that I don’t give a rat’s ass. He’s being a douche-canoe.)

    And I’m soooo tired of this attitude that being an engineer or a doctor is somehow better than being an educator or, heaven forbid, a parent (specifically, a mother). Being a parent is one of the toughest, most important jobs out there. It’s important for very different reasons, but important all the same. And I don’t even want to be a parent! (Fuck that noise. I couldn’t handle it! It’s a lifetime commitment, more of a commitment than any career. You can’t just one day decide to not be a parent!)

    Anyway, I’m done for the night. It is after 11, y’all. Way past my bedtime. I’m gettin’ old.

  31. Are feminists still raving on about that wage gap myth? you do know that you fail to provide any proof in opposition of this man’s statement from the video. Not one link in your post to back your claim.

    If you want to show proof of your long dis-proven wage gap, link me to solid evidence where a woman get’s paid less than a man for doing the exact amount of work. You can’t. Because it’s illegal, and if a woman was paid less she would just sue her employer.

    1. First, she has to know she is paid less. It’s not very usual for an average worker to know how much everyone else is getting paid unless they are working in payroll.

      Second, these type of lawsuits ARE happening all the time – they are really common, and judgements and settlements for the complaining parties are quite common as well. The biggest case ever was recently decided, resulting in Novartis being ordered to pay $250+ million in damages after 5,600 female employees successfully sued them for wage and promotion discrimination. KPMG is currently involved in a similar lawsuit with an even higher amount of damages at stake.

      And see my post below for FACTS.

    2. Read my above comment. Your argument is based on a very shaky premise in that you ignore any possible social issues at all. You compare people doing a to people doing a, and assume everyone has the /opportunity/ to do A.

      They do not.

      The way our /society/ works, certain things automatically fall to women unless a man ‘steps up’ to do it. And if the man does not, that is not a flaw in the man.

      Children happen. And in our society, when they do, it is the women who bear the brunt of it. Yes, this is in part because biologically there is the literal carrying of it, but beyond that there is the fact that everything about it defaults to women. Men can walk away, no problem, no societal penalties. Women cannot. Men have the choice, keep doing school/work/whatever, or else, choose to give that up and do more. Women do not.

      You might choose to argue that a woman could choose to have an abortion, but that is both being very substantially chipped away at, and bears the societal taint of being one of ‘those’ women who ‘kill children’ rather than give anything up to raise them. Not to mention the entire ‘*gasp!* what about a father’s rights?!’ people.

      Someone above says that because they have never seen a woman be denied progress because they might get pregnant, and seen 2 people get pursued back, it never happens. This is both arrogant (Only HIS experiences matter, and as a man, he’s never seen it happen!) and wrong (It does happen. MANY people here have seen it. Many people on the net have documented it.). Of course it is illegal. But when was the last time you saw ANY kind of discrimination suit that did not involve direct proof go anywhere beyond existing? If you don’t have a letter saying ‘Sorry, we are letting you go because you are a woman/a mother/black/gay/whatever’ it is virtually impossible to /prove/ discrimination.

      It is the ultimate win/win for the people doing the discrimination. Sure, when they make their decision of who the new executive should be, they aren’t going to SAY ‘oh, she just got married and we assume that means she is going to have children in a year or two, so I am going to hire the man’, but it is there. And, shock!, it is radically the man who gets the promotion/job/whatever. There are exceptions, but you need only look at the number of women HIRED compared to the number of men HIRED to see that, all other things being equal, people will choose a man over a woman.

      Feminists HAVE provided stats, data, studies, etc, etc. They don’t help. Because there will always be someone who will say they aren’t there,and of course, people just believe them. And because it is hard to prove WHY women don’t get promotions when the people giving them /can and do lie about why/.
      Discrimination is only illegal if you are dumb enough to make it obvious. Assuming you even recognise that you ARE. Plenty of people think that those are, in fact, perfectly valid reasons not to hire someone and women should just shut up about it already.

      In fact, there are a whole lot of men even in this thread who think women should, in fact, just shut up and stop harshing their buzz with their unhappiness at society.

      For a great example of why many of us no longer to bother to find and post links to studies, numbers, etc, see above where a post about women being /literally/ forced to ride in the back of the bus and get out of a walking man’s way /in New York/ was blown off as being a figurative example of something that might happen in Isreal; reality has no influence on people even remotely willing to CONSIDER they are wrong.

      1. “The way our /society/ works, certain things automatically fall to women unless a man ‘steps up’ to do it. And if the man does not, that is not a flaw in the man.”

        I stopped taking you seriously here.

        Please, tell me how society works!

    3. Are feminists still raving on about that wage gap myth?

      Clearly you didn’t read my post nor any of the comments. You just felt it necessary to explain how we’re wrong anyway. About something that’s not even the focus of discussion. Bravo!

      1. Sorry Felicia, but have you read the comments?

        At every job I’ve worked at, along with my friends and family, there has never been a woman who was payed less on a $/hr basis. And I have yet to see a study to prove it.

        1. I long for the day that science finally acknowledges the world-changing importance that your personal life has to offer the collection of data. I do hope that one day scientists and statisticians everywhere can access your personal life so that we can see what exactly the world is REALLY like. Thank you for your contribution to humanity by simply existing.

  32. I’m curious what we all do when everyone stops making the financially unsound choice to be teachers and nurses, and start making the more financially sound choices to be doctors, engineers, lawyers and business execs.

    How will we get new lawyers and engineers, etc when there are no teachers?

    How will everyone cope mentally when there are no psychologists and the already stressful high-paying jobs become even more stressful (because there will also be no nurses or administrative assistants?)

    I also find this strange, because I was never under the impression that this issue had anything to do with comparing different people in different jobs, my understanding was that women make less than men doing the exact same jobs, not that women make less overall than men, and THAT is the issue.

    This is what I found from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “The ratio of women’s to men’s earnings, for all occupations, was 81.2 percent in 2010.” (http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2011/women/). This is not overall, this is working within the same occupation. Interestingly enough the gap is higher in more “professional” occupations, and women actually earn more as stock clerks, bill collectors and food service workers. The biggest gaps, the ones that are more extreme than the overall average are: postsecondary teachers, lawyers, insurance agents, property managers, retail sales and personal financial advisors. In these industries women make 77% or less of what men make with 58.4% being the biggest gap for financial advisors.

    1. “In these industries women make 77% or less of what men make with 58.4% being the biggest gap for financial advisors.”

      Wow, is it really this bad? That’s pretty pathetic. Though there’s probably a _huge_ stereotype surrounding women and finances, this is still ridiculously bad for the 21st century.
      The wonders of capitalism: where who you are and who you know is more important than what you do.

      So yea, Norway and Sweden really _is_ the place to be..

    2. I’m waiting to hear how the BLS is wrong, or that the data is being misinterpreted.

      Or perhaps we’ll get an assplanation about why it’s perfectly rational and logical that the wage gap exists, therefore everyone should just shrug it off and accept it as the burden of being female.

      We all know, only incompetent people have unplanned pregnancies, and if you don’t terminate, you obviously chose to earn less money. And of course, you fucked up in the beginning, by choosing to have hetero sex.

      Men can afford to be more cavalier about the issue. Dare I say, it’s a privilege of men?

    3. This actually touches on a point that completely frustrates and baffles me, and I know is directly tied into sexism because they are ‘women’s work’ so deserve less, which is ‘why the heck do we pay teachers so little’?

      I remember hearing a lot growing up how ‘children were our future’ etc etc. But we pay teachers /like crap/, work them nearly to death (a 12 hour day is a short day for a teacher!), in conditions that can only be charitibly described as near-sweatshop conditions…

      Teaching is a Last Choice profession, because it SUCKS. You only get the people who either have a deep passion for it (Of which most burn out after a few years because there is only so much a mortal can do) and people who care so little that they would do almost anything for a paycheck.

      Shouldn’t education be the /foundation/ of our society? How can we expect the future generations to be ready for the steaming pile of crap we are leaving them when we do everything we possibly can to make educating children as cheap as (in)humanly possible? Why is teaching not one of the best paid things there are?

      And yet everywhere I look, in BOTH countries I call home (America and Australia) we cut education spending at every possible opportunity. The very thought of having to pay MORE for it illicit strangled gasps of ‘you can’t just throw money at the problem!’.

      Well, no, you can’t. But throwing money at the problem should damned well be PART of the solution! And certainly, it isn’t going to get BETTER by /TAKING/ money from the problem!

      I know, only tangentially related to this thread, but it is something driving me insane of late.

    4. As the supply of teachers goes down, the price they can demand will go up. So their wages will go up, and people would be attracted to the field.

      As it happens, my understanding is that people aren’t attracted to teaching for the money, although teachers’ salaries in most US States have gone up considerably in the last decade or two. Rather, teachers have another set of benefits: good working conditions, gold-star health care plans, excellent working hours that can be coordinated more easily with family life (which can’t be said for doctors and lawyers and such), summers off if they want them, and more holidays and other time off than anyone else.

      There are pros and cons to everything.

      And, I don’t think anyone has called anyone else stupid or the equivalent. To say that people make “choices” is not to say that if they don’t make the choice to earn the most money that they are making stupid choices.

      Steve Jobs, for example, made a lot of sacrifices in his life to be the head of Apple Computers – 16-20 hour days for decades – complete dedication to his company, to the exclusion of much of his family life. That’s a choice he made, which many people might not think is the right one to make. He made a lot of money, but lost a lot of other things.

      1. “Rather, teachers have another set of benefits: good working conditions, gold-star health care plans, excellent working hours that can be coordinated more easily with family life (which can’t be said for doctors and lawyers and such), summers off if they want them, and more holidays and other time off than anyone else.”

        Ok, obviously either the teachers you know must work in Utopia or the teachers I’ve heard from work somewhere on Hell’s half-acre.

        “Steve Jobs, for example, made a lot of sacrifices in his life to be the head of Apple Computers – 16-20 hour days for decades – complete dedication to his company, to the exclusion of much of his family life.”


        Not gonna go there.

        1. That was just an illustration to make a point. You may not like Steve Jobs, but he didn’t build Apple Computers by staying home nights and watching television, or playing with his kids.

          In any case, I do know plenty of teachers. Please tell me what you think I have said that is wrong.

          1. I’m a teacher. So is my husband. We work together at the same school my children attend. I work 10 hour days but get frequent holidays (13 weeks per year). I do little to no schoolwork at home. I go on fabulous holidays all over the world. I have saved enough to buy a house in CASH in just over 5 years. I have a full-time maid. I get my accommodation, health care, utilities and other things paid for by my employer. My kids get free education in one of the best schools in the country.

            Did I mention – I had to sell all my belongings, pack up my children, say goodbye to my parents and family and move to Brazil to do this? Could not find a job at home (Canada). Teachers are considered losers so I went somewhere I would be appreciated (at a salary of $5000 after tax per month – result).

            Sorry! Tangent!!! Romulus’ fault – he dared me.

          2. mizzpratt –

            Your post illustrates a big problem. Talking past each other.

            I never said that teachers were wealthy world travelers with maids living in the lap of luxury, did I? Of course I didn’t.

            What you did was extrapolate from my position: that teachers receive certain benefits that other folks generally don’t get – and turned that into something to the effect of “oh, I guess teachers just live the Life of Riley, traveling the world, driving fast cars, and living in mansions.” Again – I said no such thing.

            Yes, teacher’s salaries tend to be lower than average. That is true. So, if you’re going into teaching for a high salary, that is something you might want to consider. That doesn’t take away from the fact that they do get more time off than a lot of people, and do get more vacation days, and do get better health and retirement benefits than most people. So, there is somewhat of a trade-off.

            i never said that teachers don’t work hard, and I never said it wasn’t a hard job. To be a good teacher does take talent and effort and work. Yes. So, does being good at a lot of different things.

            Is recognizing all the aspects of teacher compensation taboo, or something? It’s not supposed to be mentioned? And, mentioning it means that one thinks that teachers are living the LIfestyles of the Rich and Famous?

      2. “As the supply of teachers goes down, the price they can demand will go up.”

        Yeah, right. There’s not exactly an overwhelming abundance of teachers–many areas are in dire need of teachers. You clearly know nothing of how primary and secondary education systems work. It is not just a simple supply and demand issue. Many of the assumptions you make about being a teacher are out of touch with reality.

        “teachers have another set of benefits: good working conditions”

        Have you visited some rural and urban schools? Obviously not.

        “gold-star health care plans”

        I’m not sure what the health care plans are like now, but growing up my dad’s health care plans as a teacher were nowhere near the quality that my mom’s health care was as a lawyer. Sure, they get covered, but “gold-star”?

        “excellent working hours that can be coordinated more easily with family life”

        CLEARLY you have no idea what a teacher’s life is like during school. They aren’t just all done when the kids leave at 3. They often stay a few hours later, and work evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing lesson plans and exams.

        “(which can’t be said for doctors and lawyers and such)”

        Coming from a family where one parent was a teacher and one was a lawyer, I can tell you it was *much* easier for the lawyer to schedule time for family stuff. She worked longer hours at the office, but hardly ever brought work home with her.

        “summers off if they want them”

        Often unpaid.

        “and more holidays and other time off than anyone else.”

        I don’t agree. Many of the “holidays” that kids get off are teacher in-service days.

        1. Ridiculous.

          One – teachers generally get the best health care insurance available. Lawyers generally don’t, unless they work for a large firm.

          Two – teachers work far shorter hours than lawyers, and their schedules are such that make it easier for them to be home when the kids are home. That’s why many women traditionally became teachers, in order to have the schedule match their children’s schedules.

          Three – I do know EXACTLY how teachers work, in a variety of different schools. I’m not saying they don’t work hard, and their jobs don’t require skill. But, one thing you won’t see are lots of teacher’s cars in the parking lot of the schools, as they toil away, burning the midnight oil. Don’t try to sell that. School is out at 3pm, and the teachers leave by 4pm, generally speaking. Do they have to stay late once in a while, sure. But, let’s not overexaggerate. They have more holidays than anyone, work reasonable hours, and have summers off. They do have benefits that other jobs don’t have.

          1. The only thing “ridiculous” about this is your utter inability to comprehend what you read.

            “One – teachers generally get the best health care insurance available. Lawyers generally don’t, unless they work for a large firm.”

            It appears to me that you are assuming all lawyers work for firms or are litigators. Need I remind you there are lawyers working in many different segments of society, including for major corporations? So, yes, my mother who worked for a large oil and gas company had much better benefits than my dad who taught biology at a middle school. NOT “ridiculous,” and she did not work at a “large firm.”

            “Two – teachers work far shorter hours than lawyers, and their schedules are such that make it easier for them to be home when the kids are home. That’s why many women traditionally became teachers, in order to have the schedule match their children’s schedules.”

            As I already said (but you failed to comprehend), teachers often bring their work home with them and work well into the night and on weekends, in addition to arriving at school early for meetings and spending all day at school, usually with only a small break for lunch. How can you POSSIBLY say that teachers work “far shorter” hours than lawyers? What a baseless and completely asinine statement.

            “Three – I do know EXACTLY how teachers work, in a variety of different schools. I’m not saying they don’t work hard, and their jobs don’t require skill. But, one thing you won’t see are lots of teacher’s cars in the parking lot of the schools, as they toil away, burning the midnight oil. Don’t try to sell that. School is out at 3pm, and the teachers leave by 4pm, generally speaking. Do they have to stay late once in a while, sure.”

            You fail at reading comprehension. I said teachers TAKE THEIR WORK HOME WITH THEM, not that they “toil away, burning the midnight oil” at school.

            “But, let’s not overexaggerate. They have more holidays than anyone, work reasonable hours, and have summers off. They do have benefits that other jobs don’t have.”

            You say “let’s not over exaggerate” and then you speak in hyperbole. Cute! And then you repeat claims that I and others are telling you are not necessarily as perky as you make them out to be. Lots of jobs have benefits that others do not have. So what’s your fucking point about teachers? You keep repeating that you’re not saying they have it easy, but then you qualify that with “but man their hours are so short and they almost never work!” That sounds to me like you’re saying the have it easy.

            I am beginning to think the other commenters are correct about your trolling behavior. I was thinking you were just arrogant or willfully ignorant, but now I’m starting to think you are just trolling for attention.

      3. Teachers /do not/ have good working conditions or family flexibility. Most teachers are lucky to get a lunch break, and they generally do all their curriculum building in unbilled personal time, along with grading and such. Most teachers get to work by 7am, go home near 5-6 PM, then do grading and curriculum until 10-11pm.

        Summers off is often not optional. You simply don’t have a job those months, often, or else you are on the same ‘all day, every day’ schedule you are the rest of the year.

        Health care is no better than anywhere else, and more and more is being chipped away with all the rest of the things those horrible teacher’s unions negotiate for teachers. Look at Wisconsin for examples of how badly the people in charge want to take away any ‘exceptional rights’ teachers have, which are things like health care. And pensions. And trying to get them reasonable pay and mitigating their workload.

        People don’t become teachers for the money. They become teachers because they love teaching. And it is just getting worse, not better.

      4. “As the supply of teachers goes down, the price they can demand will go up.”

        This is such a simplistic understanding of how economies work that I begin to see why you are failing at grasping other equally-simple concepts in this thread. You do know that the world, and reality, operates with more than two variables, right?

        1. Yes, I understand that completely. There are many factors; however, the fact still remains that the availability of qualified labor in an industry heavily influences the market price. The concept is sound.

          Other factors, of course, include price setting by government and other regulations, which effect the market. Minimum wages, of course, are one influence. Union collective bargaining is another influence, etc. I don’t deny any of that (nor do I suggest – as I’m sure some would jump to conclusions – nor do I suggest that those other influences are necessarily bad things).

          It doesn’t change the fact that the concept is sound. Double the number of physicians in the medical industry, and the result is downward pressure on physician compensation due to price competition. That’s not particularly controversial.

  33. I didn’t watch the video.

    As far as I’m aware where I work (at least at the level I work at i.e. the bottom) the pay is based solely on a combination of an individuals performance and their length of service. To me that is how it should be. But I know it’s never that simple. Unfortunately I also work in a male dominated industry (IT) so it’s hard to know how well this translates to more generalised situations.

    Small anecdote. An ex g/f of mine once complained about equality of the sexes and her being paid less than men for the same job. What amused me about that was that she was working as a teachers assistant in a church funded school where probably 90%+ of the staff were female, and I don’t think there were any male TAs.

    1. When reading through studies yesterday I came across research that showed that white men are automatically assumed to be more competent and qualified than women and/or non-whites.

      The point is that much of the issues people brush off as “choice” in this discussion have underlying sexist and racist reasons that is a part of the problem.

      So again back to my main point in this discussion. The video is grossly oversimplifying the situation.

      1. Here’s where I saw it:

        “Evidence indicates that members of low-status groups (i.e. women, racial minorities) are subject to negative stereotypes and attributes concerning their work-related competences.[61][62] In contrast, members of high-status groups (i.e., men, whites) are more likely to receive favorable evaluations about their competence, normality, and legitimacy.[63][64][65]”

  34. Equal pay for equal work is a wonderful thing. Equal pay for unequal work pisses me off. Warning: upcoming anecdote.

    I’m an educator. I’m exhausted. Sexism is present on my campus. Fortunately for me, it’s not present in my division. My colleagues in other divisions have many stories of how men in their divisions are given preferential treatment, such as not having to serve on committees. It’s infuriating, but none of us have the energy to address it at a higher level. Clearly it’s a failure at the administrative level; these particular men are not being held accountable for their slacking off (no office hours, skipping committee work, etc.). I’m angry. But I’m even more tired.

    Yeah, educators have it easy. Lots of vacation, gold star (bwa-ha-ha-ha!) health insurance (oh, that’s rich!), great schedule (Ha! I’m the only one who teaches my discipline on campus, so I’ve got morning, afternoon, AND evening classes, all in the same semester!)

    Not that I’m bitter. Really, I’m not. Well, not usually. I do love my job. Teaching is a blast. But the inequality really frosts my shorts.

    Did I mention that I’m exhausted? :P

    1. Did someone say they had it “easy?” I pointed out some of the benefits they get. Most non-teacher employees of private companies don’t get as good quality health insurance, matching 403(b) retirement accounts, pensions, and not many industries get 2 months off in the summer.

      That doesn’t mean a good teacher’s job is “easy.” It just means that the job structure and benefits are different. Dollar for dollar salary comparisons do not paint a complete picture.

      No need to take anything as an insult where no insults were made.

      1. On the other hand, when you are being insulting, denying the existence of the insult doubles the rudeness.

        1. Insulting? You’ll have to identify the insult. Saying teachers have some good with some of the bad doesn’t constitute an insult. They have summers off. They damn well do. So, good. If that’s something someone wants, then teaching is a good option for them. They have good health benefits, too, and nice retirement plans like the 403(b). They don’t have huge salaries, and their pay increases are very regimented. So, that’s a downside.

          Where is the insult?

      2. You were already corrected about the 2 months off thing, romulus. It isn’t a perk. Teachers are unemployed for 2 months with no say in matter and unless they can find someone willing to hire an employ they know will quit in 2 months are out of a pay check.

        It’s like saying seasonal jobs are great because they give you 8 months off. No, you’re unemployed for that time and trying to sell it as a perk is an insult to the people on the ground doing a poorly paid, often dangerous and incredibly constricting and demanding job.

        1. You can spread your salary, at least where I worked, over the 12 month period. You can also teach summer school. When I taught, I preferred to lifeguard in the summers and teach swimming lessons and tutor. I have never known a teacher to have a hard time finding a summer job if they want. I know I never did. But yes, the pay does such, or at least where you top out at….

        2. Look – teachers in Michigan, for example, make good wages – I dated a teacher who was 28 years old and making $40,000 a year as a public school teacher in Oakland County. That’s a pretty good annual salary for someone who is 28 years old, and it would be pretty good for someone who worked 12 months, and not 10, and didn’t get endless vacation days, along with a lot of sick time, and the like. Some people make $40,000 a year working 12 months out of the year with one week vacation and 3 days of sick time.

          1. Teachers do not get “endless” vacation days. Some of us already addressed this point (as well as summers off), but you have conveniently ignored it. So what the hell are you trying to say? You say it’s not that teachers “have it easy,” but your posts imply that message. Look at the way you are using language! “Endless” vacation my ass.

            Do you not think teachers should get “a lot” of sick time considering their work environment? Seriously? Not that I’m even sure they DO get “a lot” of sick time–the teachers I know get a normal amount, nothing out of the ordinary.

            Are you advocating that we change the way teachers are paid/compensated to be more in line with “normal” jobs? Do you think that one week vacation and 3 days sick leave is GOOD? We should be advocating for people to have more vacation and sick time, not less.

            Finally, I would say that, judging by the difficult time you’re having in this thread, that it might benefit you to take a step back and LISTEN to what people are saying to you. When you get all defensive (regardless of people’s tone or words towards you), you are missing an opportunity to closely examine the situation. Multiple people are telling you that the way you are coming across as rude, dismissive, and sexist. Take this as an opportunity to try to understand WHY people feel that way. And even if you disagree, maybe you can try to find a better way of communicating such that you can explain your “contrarian” perspectives without the subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints of male privilege (and trust me, it’s there). Just some friendly advice–take it or leave it as you will.

  35. @Felicia
    I just want to clarify that I do not identify with the views Steve Horwitz expresses in this video. I submitted the link in order to see what other (especially female) skeptics and feminists had to say about it.

    I hope the submission was not perceived as aggressive or offensive. I feel I should say this as your first paragraph gives me the impression that I came across as supportive of Horwitz, which was not my intention.

    1. Oh, absolutely not! Imagine a winking smiley in there. People send us stuff that make us angry all the time, it’s half the fun of being a Skepchick writer. ;)

  36. PROTIP: The reason men earn more is that they work harder than women. They work longer hours, take on harder jobs and are naturally more competitive and driven than women.

    If women want to earn as much as men then they need to start working as hard as them. It’s not complicated.

    1. Are you for fucking real? I want to believe that you’re being ironic, but that takes a lot of effort and I’m a woman. So I guess you’re just a dick.

    2. Spend some time studying the social interactions of teenaged girl groups and you’ll see just how “uncompetitive” women are. I’d say they are simply less obvious about it then men.

  37. Brand new here (though I’ve been well aware of ElevatorGate and the absolutely mortifying manner in which my gender has responded to it), but lemme tell you, the funniest thing in this whole thread is the conclusion-by-anecdote mansplainers who continually say “the engineers do x, their WIVES do y”, “the doctors and businessmen do X, their WIVES do y”. Not one single ham-fisted defender has referred to what a teacher or social worker does versus her HUSBAND. Nor even contemplated in their wildest porn fantasy that when they say “doctor or “engineer” that the terms needn’t have an implied gender.

    But, fair enough, have at it dude-bros, and keep referring to your “facts”. Anyone who comes to a different conclusion is clearly a hairy-legged sapphist. Or the wife of someone smarter, who’s not categorized by their marital designation. Cuz I got some free time this afternoon, and could use the laughs.

    1. Complete nonsense, anbheal:

      1. Only a small minority of “our gender” responded to Elevatorgate in a mortifying manner. Most men were pretty sympathetic to Ms. Watson. So, rather than lump all men into one and impose collective guilt for the sin of “my gender” – it would be more correct to say that some small minority of men responded awfully.

      2. Mansplainer is a sexist term, used to dismiss the opinions of men which are other than agreement with a stated proposition. It ought to be treated as if someone referred to women as “chicksplainers.”

      3. One person referred to engineers and what their wives do – not more than one – and multiple “mansplainers.” One guy. As for the other “ham fisted defenders” – they didn’t refer to what men do and their wives, OR what women do and their husbands.

      4. Not a single person on this thread expressed any wild porn fantasies or used the terms doctors or engineers in gender-oriented fashion.

      5. Nobody suggested that women who come to different conclusions are hairy legged sapphists, or implied that in any way. Rather, to the contrary, the few folks who did take contrary positions to the prevailing view on this thread have been ridiculed, snarked and sniped at, name-called, called clueless, called mansplainers, and told they just don’t “get it.” The minority view on this thread has generally been polite, and those adopting the majority view, like your post, have been rude, sexist and obnoxious.

      In sum, your post is a giant straw man, dressed in an ad hominem. Nice job.

      1. I find it interesting that you are so good at finding fallacies in others’ posts, even ones that aren’t there, but you can’t see them in your own.
        Mansplaining is not dismissive, it is descriptive and, in the case of some of the posts on this thread, entirely accurate.
        The only dissenting person who have been polite are @Corey Feldman and @davew while @James K offered a different take on the use of choice.
        They stated an opinion with respect and have been treated with respect. You on the other hand have been dismissive and rude and have received in kind. You get what you give.
        As @Donna already pointed out you said That is your own hang-up talking. It’s certainly nothing I have said. I never stated or implied that you or anyone else here was “irrational” and I never asked “why bother listening to anything [you] have to say, or reading anything you post.” I have been one of the few who actually give you the courtesy of treating you as equals, and not simply patting you on the back and saying “yes, honey, you’re right – absolutely right in whatever you say.””
        I must say it’s awful nice of you to allow the shefolk to be considered as almost equals to yourself. So very kind.
        Since you don’t seem to be amenable to listening to women I will say this as one man to another, you are being a fuckwit. STOP IT.

        1. Look – I am more than willing to listen to “women.” That doesn’t mean that when a particular woman, like Natalie and marilove, are rude and nasty to me, that I’m going to take it. It also doesn’t mean that what every woman says is to be accepted without question.

          I also did not suggest that women were “almost” equal, I stated that that they were equal. I also have referred to them at all times as “women,” and not stupid euphemisms like “shefolk.” That is you talking, not me.

          My responses that you describe as rude and dismissive, they are nothing compared to what has been fired at me, and it wasn’t me that started it. It was the couple of “eyerolling” posters whose material drips of sarcasm and reeks of snarkiness at almost every turn. I’ve been mild in my responses, preferring to merely defend myself, and to simply explain that such personal attacks do not address the issue at hand, which I am very much willing to discuss calmly and civilly.

          You’re one of the ones that doesn’t want to do that though. You’d rather call me a fuckwit. Very nice of you. I won’t fall into your silly trap, though, and respond to you in kind. I know that if I responded to your and Natalie’s namecalling, you’d both run to get the “mod hammers.”

  38. I think what we really ought to do is just stop giving him the attention he wants.

    That’s why I describe him as a troll. It has nothing to do with his actual opinions, as ill-informed as they may be, the fact that he’s got such a low regard for this website and the people that write here, that he’s often rude, insulting and dismissive, or that he routinely misunderstands the entire point of most of the articles or posts he’s gotten so riled up about. It’s not even the whole billions-and-billions of posts thing.

    It’s that what he really seems to want here is to just get the attention, and to create conflict. He usually starts with just posting whatever opinion is going to be opposed by as many people as possible, whatever has the biggest chance of creating a “debate”. He then tries to keep that running as long as possible, usually by just ignoring most of the points people make and obliging them to repeat them. And when people eventually start to get fed up, he gets all smug and “Oh, wow, you’re all so snarky and irrational and apparently can’t handle any dissent! All I wanted was a nice, polite, intellectual discussion! but apparently all you girls can’t handle any disagrement!”. And if people say they don’t want to entertain his garbage any longer, he moves straight to outright insults: “fine, retreat to your cocoon! how very ‘Skepchick’ of you!” to me, or “Whoa, offended easily? I guess I’ll leave you to it” to Amy. It’s CLASSIC trolling, and the motive is completely transparent.

    The only way to deal with him, and to get him to eventually shut up, is to stop giving him fuel for the conflicts, stop giving him the attention he wants (even calling him a fuckwit is giving him satisfaction), ignore him, and hope he gets bored soon. Either that or someone could lay down the mod hammers. But the former is a bit easier, and won’t leave him feeling like he’s “proved his point” about this site being one-sided and opposed to any kind of dissent or whatever other ridiculous self-congratulatory narrative he’s making for himself (“the valiant unbiased free-thinking skeptic heroically battles against the histrionic irrational feminazi PC-thought police to selflessly defend the integrity of free intellectual skeptical discussion!” I’ve been seeing that one a lot lately…)

    1. I find your constant attacks on me to be quite interesting, especially coupled with your claims that I’ve been rude to you. I — rude to YOU? That’s rich. And, dismissive? You wrote the book on that.

      You accuse me of what applies to yourself. You’re projecting, Natalie. I’m not in the least “riled up,” and your suggestion that I am is just another way you are rude and dismissive. You prefer to tell me that I don’t “understand” the issues, that I “want attention,” and that I’m “riled up,” rather than simply discuss the issue. You make it a personal thing Natalie. That’s your choice, not mine.

      You accuse me of the sin of posting “whatever has the biggest chance of creating a “debate”.” Wow, really, Natalie? I do THAT? Wow – who would have thought that a site dedicated to skepticism would brook some “debate” on the issues that it raises… Huh…well, note to everyone – do not post things that have a good chance of creating debate! The less debate the better, ay?

      As for snarkiness – you’ve been snarky since your first post. Sniping and sarcastic little snide remarks are your forte’. But, I’ve never called you irrational. Your suggestion that I have is just a flat out falsehood. I assume you’ve innocently confused me with someone else.

      I also didn’t refer to “all you girls,” I referred to you and marilove. The people that I was responding to. YOU, Natalie, cannot brook dissent. YOU, Natalie, can’t handle a civil discussion. Not “all” women or girls. You.

      The comment to Amy, about “leaving her to it,” came after she became very upset to the point at being irate at me. Not wishing to irk someone who runs this cite further after they notified me that the particular thread was for “voting” only and not for discussions, I “left her to it,” and I have not since posted on that thread. But, do go ahead and pretend it was something else.

      You have no credibility regarding “insults,” Natalie. You do it so well. After you said you’d not be responding to me, I said “fine retreat into your cocoon.” That’s reflective of exactly what you were doing, Natalie. You can’t seem to handle a simple, calm, discussion of the issue without making some “eyerolling” sarcastic comment, calling me names, and then falsely accusing me of doing exactly that!

      And, now you obliquely call me a “fuckwit.” How nice of you, Natalie. You are so kind.

      Mod hammers? It would only be arbitrary. Your posts deserve action long before mine would. I don’t call people “fuckwits” like you do, and my posts aren’t rife with personal attacks on other people posting here. That’s you. If any mod rules were to be enforced, if they were enforced in a fair manner, you’d be the first cited.

      And, you close by accusing me of being self-congratulatory. That too is quite rich, coming from someone who merely wants agreement, and thinks that a person merely taking the contrarian position (at least without the appropriate supplications) is a fuckwit who should be “mod hammered.”

      Good show, Natalie. We should put that post on a poster celebrating skepticism and free thought.

      1. Just wanted to take a moment to point out that “fuckwit” was in reference to the post I was replying to. As always, you should read more carefully. The rest? *shrug*

        1. I like how Mr. Troll is trying to claim he isn’t being dismissive, when he constantly, and once again dismisses what you have to say ((re: “fuckwit”).


          1. I didn’t even call him a “fuckwit”! I was just pointing out that doing so would just give him more satisfaction and fuel! Which sort of nicely got illustrated immediately afterwards.

          2. Of course, I addressed every single thing she had to say. Rather the opposite of “dismissive,” actually.

        2. Hence my use of the word “obliquely.”

          Mrmisconception directly called me a fuckwit.

          No mod hammers coming down anywhere, not that I have seen anyway.

      2. Oh, fuck off. On several occasions, you blatantly ignored important points and links provided by several women. You did this more than once. You continue to do this. You are a troll. I don’t care if you perceive me as nasty or rude. You are a troll and your opinions and statements mean nothing to me. IF you don’t want to be seen as a troll, then stop acting like one.

        Notice that several other people, as mentioned by mrmisconception above, respectfully disagreed with some of us on our points, and we respectfully replied to them. You, on the other hand, are being dismissive and rude, and so you are getting the same treatment back.

        If it looks like a troll, it is likely a troll. And you certainly look like a troll.

        1. Let’s see – you call me a fuckwit, tell me to fuck off, and constantly follow me around the thread trying to tell me off…and you have the unmitigated gall to call me a troll?

          You can stop calling me names anytime now, as it is not going to get the reaction you’re hoping for. I know what you’re doing, and I’m not taking your bait.

          1. Correction – I don’t think you called me a fuckwit – you did tell me to fuck off – but mrmisconception called me a fuckwit. Natalie seemed to “obliquely” acknowledge that she thought I was fuckwit, but just pointed out that calling me that was just giving me what I wanted. It’s hard to keep all of you straight – it’s like trying to keep track of which hornet in a swarm is which.

          2. I called you a troll and/or a possible idiot (and I”m leaning more towards a trolly idiot now).

            mrmisconception called you a fuckwit.

            Once again, you aren’t actually, you know, reading what others are saying.



    2. Yeah, I was surprised that even after he was identified as a troll by multiple people, replies were still wasted on him. Feeding trolls won’t make them go away. Thank jeebus his posts are TL;DR-eyeblights anyway so scrolling past them is almost pleasurable.

      1. Yeah, I was holding out hope that he was just arrogant or ill-informed and that he would somehow wake up and realize the error of his ways if only I pointed them out enough.

        I’m giving up on that now. Clearly he has no interest in respectful and intellectual dialogue. He is here to tell people how it is and that’s that. No amount of discussion is going to change his mind.

        I pledge to stop feeding the troll! ;)

        1. What amount of discussion is going to change your mind? Or, Natalie’s mind? Or, Marilove’s mind?

          If rudeness is what you’re worried about, then why no reaction to Felicia, Natalie, Marilove, or mrmisconception’s out-and-out namecalling and sniping?

          1. You are a troll.

            Your comments in the “let’s come up with new insults that aren’t gender specific!” proved that. This entire thread proved it.

            I will now be ignoring any comment you ever come up with, along with MrCandida, because I do not deal with trolls.

            If you’re not a troll, you’re still a clueless idiot, and I don’t deal with those, either.

            I don’t care what you think of me. Like, at all. Deal with it.


          2. Marilove, my comments in the “insults that aren’t gender specific” were right on point, and directly countered Natalie’s argument. Her argument faltered when examined in light of the fact that there were plenty of other words besides “dick” which applied to men. My post revealed that there are just as many anti-male sexist words, particular body-part words, used exclusively against men than there are toward women. In fact, it’s probable that men are greater targets for such verbiage. That’s not trolling. That’s called “addressing the point being discussed.”

            I would prefer that you ignore my posts. I prefer to talk about the issue at hand, and I really don’t have any interest in constantly defending myself. I don’t let bullies push me around, though. So, I’ll not give in to your efforts.

            See, there you go again – you continue to call me names – “clueless idiot.”

            I haven’t expressed what I think of you. I’m not rude that way, and I prefer not to stoop to that level. I’m grown up enough to deal with people expressing views I don’t like or agree with. I just talk about the issues, try to understand, etc.

            If people can’t agree, there is no reason animosity has to grow out of it. Immature folks who take disagreement and disagreeable positions to be affronts and outrages – they react by namecalling and insults. Some of us don’t need everyone to conform or be cast out…

  39. “I prefer to talk about the issue at hand”

    Could have confused me, since you CONSTANTLY ignore what others have to say, and if you look back at the “come up with different, non-gendered insults” post, you were doing the exact same thing! (Twat? Really? Fuck you, troll.)

  40. The video infuriated me. I am a jobless female engineer now because i had the guts to speak up against unfair pay and i got fired for it. I sued for reinstatement. I wanted my job back, the EEOC is a joke, I settled for close to $500K instead and hoped to get another job, I was dreaming… I had more education, experience, and licenses than the man that i replaced in the exact same position. Discrimination and the good old boys club is alive and well. Warn your daughters!

    1. @Storkess: one of the problems with litigating or seeking regulatory redress is that it will show up on even a cursory background check under most circumstances. So if you’re ever willing to fight against illegal discrimination, it haunts you when employers assume that you’re “sue-happy”.

      This happens to other minorities, too; it’s frustrating to see the issue largely ignored.

  41. Sorry for the late comment; I see this sort of “reasoning” a lot. I think what this commenter is saying is a great case of taking “that’s not the whole story” to an absurd extreme.

    There has been some decent research on the income disparity between men and women of similar background and education. This research is a valuable addition to any conversation where people feel that companies simply pay women less because they’re women — it’s more complicated than that.

    There is, of course, still outright blatant sexism in many cases. However, there are other, more subtle forces at work.

    It is true, for example, that professional women tend to value things other than money when choosing work and negotiating compensation. I don’t remember the details precisely, but I believe the study found that women were significantly more likely to accept a lower salary for better work-life balance and other non-monetary compensation. The conclusion of the study was that women were still under-compensated, but that measuring salary was kind of a poor way to measure progress (or lack thereof) in this regard.

    Additionally, women do tend to be more hesitant to ask for raises. This is a good example of a data point that men like the commenter you’re calling out will often (unintentionally, I hope) abuse. Women tend to be more hesitant because, while they are equally likely to get the raise they ask for, they are far more likely to be seen as overly-agressive or otherwise be socially punished as a result of asking. So yes, it’s still sexism.

  42. Sadly it is a common thing for male skeptics or “nerds” to ignore the patriarchy while they complain how anybody could still doubt evolution.

    The thing is, the patriarchy is just as real as evolution. Every woman suffers from it, every male benefits from it. Blaming women for anything under the patriarchy is just as stupid as doubting evolution.

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