People base a great deal of their personal identity around their job. When asked what they wanted to do when they grew up, I never heard anyone answer “I want to be a good person and a productive member of society” or “I want to be a stay-at-home parent and spouse.” It was always “a policeman,” “a spaceman,” “a writer,” “an actor,” “a retail worker,” etc.
So when issues like the gender pay gap come up (as they have been again and again recently), I am not without sympathy. Even as a card-carrying member of the oppressive and selfish patriarchy, I firmly believe that the same work should get the same pay, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or any of the other millions of traits for which people can be prejudiced against. And I would like to see more women in the workforce (hell, you can have my job).
But there are some very simplistic arguments out there regarding gender equality that don’t take the whole picture into account. Over-reliance on aggregate “sound-bite” type statistics is creating a farce of the issue and is obscuring a number of important factors. Here are some thoughts based on my impressions, and a little research – all presented with a dash of my winning and unique male-perspective bluster.
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