Re: Men's Lack of Choice and the Pay Gap
- From: patrick.barnes@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 04:43:22 -0700
On Jul 22, 8:11 am, "dd...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dd...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Men's Lack of Choices and the Pay Gap
By Denise Noe
Martha Burk has written, "women working full time, year round, still
make only 76 cents for ever dollar that a man makes." Then she
attacks "naysayers" who claim that the difference is due to a tendency
for women to choose jobs that have less risk and says "Tell that to
the women cleaning toilets at the airport or caring for HIV patients
in hospitals every day."
Right, Martha. Working in a hospital is certainly one of the most
dangerous careers around.
Is a woman cleaning toilets in as much danger as a man hanging off the
side of a garbage truck or being hoisted in a lift so her can trim the
tops of trees? While there may be some risk in caring for HIV
patients, are nurses as apt to be injured or killed on the job as
construction workers, miners, and firefighters?
It's not really about danger itself. It is about limiting the labor
pool. For each negative factor you add to a job, you need to raise
the compensation for performing that job in order to keep applicants
willing to work that job. That's true whether the requirement is
risking your life in 18 hour shifts on an Alaskan commercial fishing
boat, or whether it is requiring a law degree to work in an upscale
private practice. Both requirements limit the pool of available and
So a woman cleaning toilets has a dirty job, yes, but she also has one
that has virtually no requirements at all. Anybody can do it. It
requires no special skills, it requires no travel, it does not require
an expensive education, it does not require working in a harsh
environment, it doesn't require working a lot of weekends or overtime,
etc. It is, to be honest, very little different than flipping
burgers. The maid can expect a couple bucks an hour more than she
could running the drive-thru at Taco Bell, but that's about it.
A good example of this is the contract labor for the middle east.
Nobody really wants to go to Iraq, but work has to get done there just
like it does here and there are certain positions that because of
skillsets required or security reasons they don't want locals doing.
So they will import Westerners to do the job, and those people will
make easily 5 times the money there that they make doing the same job
here. Amongst the possible negative factors in a job, "requires
relocating to Baghdad" is pretty high up on the list, and they have to
pay a pretty penny to get competent people willing to go.
Another example is police and teachers. Being an officer appeals to a
whole lot of men. Teaching children appeals to a whole lot of women.
So even though the first job is dangerous and the second requires
greater than average education, neither job pays all that well.
Because the pool of people willing to do it is just too large. The
non-monetary job satisfaction people get is high enough to offset the
The job market is a free market, with supply and demand factors like
any other market. Employers are competing to buy labor to fill their
She had also attacked the argument "that motherhood - not sex
discrimination - is the real culprit" and added, "If that's so, we all
need to take a hard look at why the workplace punishes women for being
mothers, but fatherhood carries no economic risk at all."
Because fathers don't leave their jobs when their kids are born at
anywhere near the same rate that mothers do. I've heard this
"punishing" mothers thing many times, and it's utter garbage. If you
quit your job, you quit your job. You made a choice. You are not a
victim. Nobody punished you. You chose to quit your job, and the
consequence is that if/when you go back, you will have a lot less work
experience than other people your age who spent the whole time
"Punishing mothers" is calculated to play on the emotions, but it is
just code for a good old fashioned sense of entitlement.
Perhaps this is not a case of the workplace punishing mothers, but of
culture granting few choices to fathers. Mothers typically can choose
to stay home with the baby full-time, combine caring for the child
with work outside the home, or continue to work full-time after a
Well, I wouldn't say "typically". It takes a pretty good income on
the father's part to be able to add a mouth to feed and take away a
paycheck at the same time. Your average couple needs both checks
coming in, and needs it with a new kid to take care of more than ever.
When men become fathers, they usually spend more time away from home
than before in order to support their families rather than cutting
back on outside work to be with babies. Is this because men possess
more delicate sensibilities than the rougher, grungier women and so
are more averse to dirty diapers and spit up? Since men do not get
pregnant or give birth, this is possible but the high representation
of men in jobs such as garbage collector, sewage worker and plumber,
occupations in which the worker gets dirty and can be assaulted by
foul odors, tends to belie the hypothesis.
As suprising as this may be, men are human beings. Yes, we are people
too. I don't think you need to look at sewer workers to debunk
ridiculous notions like new fathers trying to get out of the house to
avoid being with their new families. It's simply absurd on the face
of it. Men are people too. They love their wives. They love their
children. They are excited when a new son or daughter is born. Time
they spent away from the family is because the family needs money to
survive, not because they are trying to avoid fatherhood.
Warren Farrell in The Myth
of Male Power claims that the majority of men he has talked to said
they would take time off from work to be with their newborns but only
if the family would not suffer financially.
There's maternity leave mandated by federal law. There is no
paternity leave except at the generosity of the employer.
Even if their wives
worked outside the home, the men he interviewed still felt the
ultimate burden of financial support was on their shoulders. Thus,
they suppressed their true desire to be with their young believing it
was for the good of their wives and children.
The ultimate burden of financial support is on the man's shoulders.
It really doesn't matter what the wife makes, the man still has to
bring in money. Women are attracted to providers. It is biologically
wired into them. A stay at home husband is quite frankly just asking
his wife to lose her attraction and respect for him.
The Fair Pay Act that Burk touts has languished on Capital Hill
because it is anything but fair since it means that people must be
paid on basis of what some experts determine are equal "skill, effort,
responsibility and working conditions, even if the actual work is
dissimilar." The demand that apples and oranges be treated
identically is hardly fair. In a free market, capitalist system it
would also seem simply unworkable.
The truth is that there are many day-to-day discriminations against
men that go largely unnoticed and unremarked. Nightclubs often allow
women in free while men pay cover charges. When a man and woman are
in a restaurant, serving persons in restaurants may automatically take
the bill to the woman. Men who cannot take the heat of the labor
market do not have the option of getting back to the kitchen. Indeed,
the fact that men have no respectable "out" from the labor force is
reflected in how disproportionately men are represented among those at
society's very bottom. Roughly 85% of the homeless are men as are the
vast majority of the imprisoned.
I've seen feminists on this newsgroup imply that the majority of the
homeless are men because, to paraphrase, men are pigs and jerks and
their families will take care of the women but won't take care of the
But I think what is closer to the truth is that there are plenty of
down-and-out women and men both. However, the women can get welfare
whereas it is almost impossible for a man to get assistance. He can
get a bed and a meal at a shelter, sure, but a regular check he can
use to buy his own food and pay rent? No way.
Perhaps the difference between male and female pay rates decrease will
when men have more choices so they do not feel trapped in the labor
I think the difference in pay is a natural factor of market economics
and biology. As I said, the worse a job's conditions are overall, the
more you have to pay someone to do it and women will not work in jobs
with poor conditions at nearly the rate men do, even when those jobs
This wage gap will not decrease unless the government steps in and
tries to micromanage the labor market to purposely make it decrease.
And if they do, they will be artificially valuing certain professions
above others. This is likely to have negative consequences, just as
trying to manipulate the market usually causes more harm than good.
- Men's Lack of Choice and the Pay Gap
- From: ddnoe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Men's Lack of Choice and the Pay Gap
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