Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Women victimize themselves?

Feminists will blow a gasket over this:
Women make up almost half of today's workforce, yet hold just a fraction of the jobs in certain high-earning, high-qualification fields. They constitute 20 percent of the nation's engineers, fewer than one-third of chemists, and only about a quarter of computer and math professionals.
Over the past decade and more, scores of conferences, studies, and government hearings have been directed at understanding the gap. It has stayed in the media spotlight thanks in part to the high-profile misstep of then-Harvard president Larry Summers, whose loose comment at a Harvard conference on the topic in 2005 ultimately cost him his job.
Now two new studies by economists and social scientists have reached a perhaps startling conclusion: An important part of the explanation for the gender gap, they are finding, are the preferences of women themselves. When it comes to certain math- and science-related jobs, substantial numbers of women -- highly qualified for the work -- stay out of those careers because they would simply rather do something else.
Liberalism presumes that all inequality is injustice. In other words, if I make less money than you do, I am somehow being victimized and you are oppressing me.

Stated so bluntly, this premise is laughable, but liberals are adept at smuggling this premise into their rhetoric in such a manner that most people don't notice it. Think of how Democrats demonize oil company executives who make multimillion-dollar salaries. "The CEO made $10 million! The company made record profits! And we're paying $4 a gallon!"

To which the conservative must answer, "So?" What business of mine is what Exxon or ARCO pay their executives? Why should I be offended by oild company profits, any more than I'm offended by the profits of coffeee vendors or videogame merchants? If I think gas is too expensive (did anyone ever complain gas was too cheap?) I can either cut back on my driving or else adjust my budget to compensate.

Oil companies are big. Their profits are large, and the head of such a large and profitable enterprise will always be handsomely paid. So liberals start jumping up and down, shouting about million-dollar salaries and billion-dollar profits, and thereby mislead people who are foolish enough to accept the false premise: Inequality is injustice.

The same thing with feminists and scientific careers. Because jobs in engineering, research science and similar technical specialities pay better than careers like education or journalism, feminists look at the shortage of women in scientific and technical fields and say, "A ha! Injustice!"

If 50 percent of engineering majors aren't female, the feminist sees this as oppression and discrimination. Never mind that women are now a majority of college graduates, or that women with degrees in nursing or management aren't exactly poor. The inequality-equals-injustice mindset must relentlessly seek out evidence of statistical disproportion and attack these inequalities as "oppression," regardless of whether any of the alleged victims have complained.

Liberalism causes conflict where conflict is neither helpful nor necessary, and the firing of Larry Summers at Harvard is a classic example of where such egalitarian fanaticism leads.

A few years ago, the feminists were up in arms because Mattel produced a talking Barbie doll, one of whose sayings was, "Math is hard." This, said the feminists, was sexist brainwashing that discouraged girls from studying math. Never mind that Barbie was right -- math is hard -- and that acknowledgement of the difficulty doesn't mean that it's OK to skip your algebra homework.

No, feminists had spotted an injustice! Mattel changed the dolls, and 8-year old girls struggling to memorize their multiplication tables were deprived of the comfort of hearing their plastic role model commiserate with them: "Math is hard."

Another liberal triumph! And now Mattel has developed Engineer Barbie. Toys for social justice . . . .

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