HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Women should NOT be econo...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:05 PM

Women should NOT be economically penalized for bearing children and caring for their families.

Last edited Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:15 PM - Edit history (1)

I have to say I really don't understand why the substantial pay disparity between men and women is routinely justified as nondiscriminatory because "women take time off to have children," or the related "women choose careers that have fewer hours so that they can take care of children."

A thread currently trending in GD is a case in point of this phenomenon:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022430939

It references a CBS News report on the increasing percentage of men going into nursing, and the fact that these men are being paid more. While the article does emphasize that a large part of this is due to the more lucrative career paths that male nurses are choosing, it also mentions that even within the same occupations, male nurses are making more money than female nurses do. Even so, the disparity between women and men within nursing is less than the national average, where to date the average woman earns about $.77 on the average man's $1.00.

Now, I can't speak to the specifics of this profession because the article doesn't specifically reference it, but I have studied occupational wage differences within the last six months, and I can hypothesize with some confidence that a major reason for these wage differences is that women have gaps in their employment as a result of having children and caring for family members. I would wager that nurse anesthetists--the position which male nurses are going into at the highest rate--spend more time not only receiving an education, but also working on the clock; while LPN's, which are much more likely to be women, probably do not have the same educational requirements or time requirements. I would welcome clarification from someone more knowledgeable in the medical field. My guess is that the career choices of women in nursing, like women in most fields, are guided by the need to have time and flexible options to allow for family care-taking.

This by no means rules out plain old misogyny as a factor in wage differentials--controlling for every other conceivable factor (such as specific career paths, experience level, number of children, etc.), there are still differences between men's and women's average wages that seemingly cannot be accounted for by anything except sexism. Nevertheless, at this point in our history, the life-experiences of men and women are very different, due largely to the fact that women bear children and men don't, and our career choices reflect that.

However, I don't know about other women, but I never went to the uterus store to decide the particular role that I would play in the reproduction of the human race. Nor do I accept the contempt levied at women who carry out their reproductive role on the basis of the need for "population control." Even a stable or decreasing population is going to require that babies be born on a pretty frequent basis, and women are going to be the ones bearing those babies. As a matter of biology, women who have children bear the majority of the physical burden for creating and rearing new humans; it is unfair that we should also be saddled with the economic burden of this service to society.

Of course, a large part of the problem is that reproduction and care-taking are not adequately recognized or rewarded in our society as "services," though society would literally cease to exist without them. Perhaps another part of the problem is the notion that improvements in the structure of our work-lives that would facilitate these services should only benefit women (though to be honest, I don't know any advocates of greater gender equality who think this way). If we are to establish workplaces which allow individuals to prioritize their families, and social structures which offer some form of compensation for this activity, men should be able to reap its benefits as well. Perhaps the problem is not that women are denied entry onto a ladder-like career path that demands total dedication to one's work to succeed; perhaps the problem is that such a harmful and dehumanizing career path exists at all.

33 replies, 3244 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Women should NOT be economically penalized for bearing children and caring for their families. (Original post)
antigone382 Feb 2013 OP
antigone382 Feb 2013 #1
Heddi Feb 2013 #2
antigone382 Feb 2013 #3
roxy1234 Feb 2013 #4
antigone382 Feb 2013 #6
Heddi Feb 2013 #5
antigone382 Feb 2013 #7
valiberal26 Feb 2013 #8
antigone382 Feb 2013 #9
uppityperson Feb 2013 #10
valiberal26 Feb 2013 #11
Peter cotton Feb 2013 #12
antigone382 Feb 2013 #13
valiberal26 Feb 2013 #17
antigone382 Feb 2013 #18
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #27
antigone382 Feb 2013 #31
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #33
Texasgal Feb 2013 #16
Peter cotton Feb 2013 #23
Texasgal Feb 2013 #26
Peter cotton Feb 2013 #28
Texasgal Feb 2013 #29
Peter cotton Feb 2013 #30
gollygee Feb 2013 #14
smirkymonkey Feb 2013 #15
valiberal26 Feb 2013 #19
Spider Jerusalem Feb 2013 #21
TheKentuckian Feb 2013 #24
maggiesfarmer Feb 2013 #20
antigone382 Feb 2013 #22
maggiesfarmer Feb 2013 #25
antigone382 Feb 2013 #32

Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:31 PM

1. shameless kick. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 04:48 PM

2. Hi, I'm an RN (female) and I'd like to address a couple of points in your post

Firstly, you cannot compare the wage of an LPN with an CRNA (nurse anesthetist) because they are completely different in regards to education, experience, etc:

CNA: certified nursing assistant - usually a 6 month or less program, have the fewest responsibilities in the hospital (making beds, getting water, bathing patients, etc). Cannot give medications, cannot teach, assess, or discharge patients. Low pay, generally in the $teens per hour. Very limited scope of practice, cannot work independently reports to RN(s) on duty

LPN/LVN : Licensed Practical or Licensed VOcational nurse - generally a 1 year program taught at the community college level. Can only give medications in certain doseage routes: oral, subcutaneous, intramuscular (shots). Can't give or start IV's. Can't teach, assess, or discharge patients. Pretty much being phased out these days, work mostly in nursing homes. Not many hospitals hire LPN's (or if they do, they're hired as higher-paid CNA's) because their scope is so limited. Cannot work independently, Reports to RN(s) on duty

RN: Registered Nurse - there are 2 types of registered nurses: ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing), which is a 2 year program (plus 2 years of science and math pre-requs), obtained at a community college, and BSN (Bachelors degree in Nursing) which is a 4 year program (2 year RN and 2 year prereq) obtained at a College/University. They both are the same license and scope of practice wise. Starts IV, hangs IV medications, can be in mangement or charge nurse positions. Works independently. Wide scope of practice. Delegates to CNA and LPN's. Most hospitals see no difference between ADN & BSN RN's, other than the BSN will get an extra $.50 - $3.00 extra per hour because of the bachelor vs associate degree

CRNA : Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist : this is a masters degree program. There are very few CRNA programs in the US. They are very competitive to get into and to stay into. Very demanding, prestigious, and expensive.

ARNP: advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner: Masters Level program. Much easier to obtain ARNP than CRNA, and pay is considerably lower because of it. Can work independently depending on the state, some states allow ARNP's to practice under their own license like an MD, and prescribe medications, do simple surgeries, admit patients to hospitals, etc. Other states require that the ARNP work under the license of an MD in the same practice, and their scope is generally more limited (Cannot prescribe narcotics or do simple surgeries, etc)

MSN : Master of Science, Nursing. Master's Level program. Allows for more high-level managerial jobs, research, and teaching.

----

So you can't compare the pay scale of an LPN with that of a CNRA, it's comparing apples to tires. Completely different job and scope and education.

Also, you have to look at whether a hospital is unionized or not, because that affects pay scales. My husband is an RN with 2 fewer years experience than I have. We are both ADN and getting our BSN now. His pay is pretty comparable to mine despite his 2 fewer years, but also my hospital is under a different union with a different contract, I work at a state hospital so my pay is directly tied to state budget where as his isn't, and my hospital is a community non-profit, so again, we have lower profits because 80% of our patients are uninsured.

When I worked at a non-unionized hospital, I got $7 an hour less than I do now because the hospital wasn't unionized.

Also, my husband makes about $80 extra per paycheck because he does not get benefits through his job, we get them through mine because the cost is lower, so he gets extra $$ per hour because he's declining benefits.

----

Then, you have different job categories for nurses, and the pay is different depending on what type of employee they are:

Part time: 1/2 time, usually will have to pay higher rate for benefits, Pay rate is the same (generally) as full time workers
3/4 time : same pay as fulltime, fewer hours, higher rate (but less than part time) for benes
Full time: Same pay, lowest rate for benes.

Per Diem: "As needed". No guarantee of hours per week, generally not eligible for PTO benefits like sick time or vacation (again, depends on the facility). Also pays highest rate for insurance benes. Will get a higher rate of pay, though, because of the lack of benefits (often up to $10 an hour more for per diem vs hourly)

Contract/Travel ; Not a direct employee of the hospital, is an employee of staffing company that sends the worker to work 8, 13, or 26 hour contracts at the hospital. Benefits provided through travel company (often dismal with high deductables and out of pockets). Not eligible for sick time or vacation. Highest rate of pay because you're there to fill a need. Often $15 - $30 an hour OVER what the base rate at that facility is.

There are also differentials in pay for certifications you can get (CEN - certified emergency nurse, CCRN - certified critical care RN, CORN certified oncology RN, etc) that range between $1 and up per hour per certification.

There are also shift differntials if you work evenings (between 3pm-11pm) and nights (between 7pm-7am) and weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun). My shift diff is $4 an hour for weekends and $4 for nights. So Fri, Sat, and Sun nights I'm making $8 an hour over my base pay.
----

So there's a lot of categories, both license wise and worker cagetory wise that can affect pay. WHen I was a traveler, I was making $45 an hour at a facility who would have paid me $32 an hour if I was an employee of the hospital. I wasn't doing anything different than if I was an employee of the hospital, it was just how I was categorized as an employee.

Also, pay rates are very high on the West Coast and very low on the East Coast (comparatively). There are RN's in California who make $60+ an hour, and RN's in florida with the same experience and education who are making $22 an hour. I work in the PNW and make nearly $40 an hour without differentials. WHen I worked in Florida I made about $30 an hour without differentials.

----

I will say that nowhere I have worked have I seen a difference in pay for nurse with 1 year experience that is a female vs nurse with 1 year experience that is a male. Even in non-union hospitals the pay rates are based on experience (years as an RN), education (BSN vs RN), and certifications, if any. The hospitals I've worked at have always published pay scales so you know if you have 10 years as RN, and an ADN, and 2 certifications, you can expect to get $X this year an $ Y next year.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Heddi (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:12 PM

3. Yes, the article mentions that there are important educational distinctions between the two.

And it's valid to point out that nursing is a hugely diverse profession within the complexity of the medical field. Thank you for taking the time to describe that in useful detail.

At the same time, my broader point with regard to the other thread is that, when looking at the overall statistics, it isn't enough to say that women earn less than men because they tend to choose careers that involve less time investment, whether in education or on the job, than men do. The important question to me is why they might make that choice, and whether it has to do with unpaid burdens that are disproportionately placed on them.

So while it could certainly be argued that an LPN doesn't have anywhere near the educational investment or skill set that a nurse anesthetist does, the question for me is why those two career choices have such a big gender disparity, what the consequences are for the people who are living out these choices, and what we can do as a society to ensure that we are taking peoples' circumstances into account when we devise systems to ensure economic justice. If bearing and raising children places women at an economic disadvantage relative to men, we need to do more to ensure that they are either compensated for their time, or men have the opportunity and the encouragement to take time for care-taking as well, so that neither gender is disproportionately affected.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:28 PM

4. if the per hour rates are the same

 

And the yearly earning are different then some other factors are to blame and if it is women taking more off times to take care of their kids then something else should be blame instead of trying to convince the world that employers are discriminating against female employees

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to roxy1234 (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:12 PM

6. The point is that women face disproportionate barriers.

Whether that is because of outright discrimination or because of unequal burdens of family duties, the result is that women are at an unfair economic disadvantage.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 05:49 PM

5. Well the women I work with who are CNA's

or LPN's tell me that they are LPN's or CNA;s (and have been for years, if not decades) because they didn't have the educational background to make it through all the math and science classes. And they liked the idea that they could go to school for 6-12 months and come out with a career where they were paid higher than minimum wage, be unionized (if the hospital is unionized), and, at the end of the day, have 1/100th of the responsibility and legal ramifications that I, as an RN have when I do my job.

I am by no means saying that LPN or CNA's have cushy jobs...they run their asses off and work harder in 8 hours than I do in 16. But the reality is that they are not considered to have the same scope and responsibility that I have. That's partly why my pay is higher than theirs. *I* am responsible for every job I delegate to them. If I tell them to get a blood pressure, and they don't, it's my ass that's responsible for it, not them. If I tell them to get a blood pressure and they take it incorrectly, it's my ass that's responsible for it, not them. It's especially my ass that's responsible for it if they take the blood pressure incorrectly and I treat (or don't treat) a patient based on that blood pressure reading. I am ultimately responsible.

And you don't need to rack up $25k in student loans to get an LPN or CNA. You don't have to spend years and years in school. You don't have to take calculus and statistics and college algebra I and II and microbiology and intro to chem, inorganic chem, organic chem, cellular biology, biochemistry, biophysiology, anatomy I and II, physiology I and II, 3 Englishes, 4 psychologies, nutrition, numerous art and history classes....AND you're not having to apply and re apply to nursing programs again and again and again because there are no more waitlists (or they're very few) and getting into nursing school is VERY competitive.

I know I woudln't go through it again if I had to, and many people choose not to.

Also, the men in nursing I know have really no interest in doing long-term bedside care or nursing home care. I don't blame them, I don't either. My hospital does not pay higher salaries for RN's that are in the ER or ICU, but some hospitals do, and men tend to have higher numbers in the critical care units. Same reason more men are paramedics than women are.

Now, in my ER men are definitely a minority in all areas EXCEPT CNAs...there are about equal number of Male and Female CNA's at my hospital, but far more women RN's than men (although that number is slowly increasing), and the units with the highest number of men tend to be ER, ICU, and OR.

My husband is an RN, and we both work in the ER (different hospitals). My personal opinion based on years of being an RN in different areas of the hospital and being close friends with many men who are RN's, paramedics, and EMT's is that men in nursing have been seen for a long time as being "gay". That no straight man is a nurse by choice. He's closeted or self-hating, but any man that has RN behind his name is gay. Of course it's not true, but it's a stigma.

So many men choose the high energy, high skill set, highly desirable, hard-working, martyr-for-the-cause departments like ER, MICU, ICU, etc, because it's more "manly" than the ortho floor, where you're really just wiping ass and passing meds for 12 hours a night (hence why I don't work on the med floor anymore). The pace is faster, more dynamic, and the team you work with tends to be younger, fresher, more into cutting-edge nursing care than generally working on medical floors tend to be. You run your ASS off in critical care. When I worked on the med floors, there was a lot of bitching when you had a sick patient because you couldn't play computer solitare for 8 hours....



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Heddi (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:14 PM

7. Those are very interesting insights into the world of nursing.

Thank you very much for what you do; my grandmother was a nurse, several of my best friends and role models have been nurses; it is a profession that can't be honored enough in my opinion.

Some of what you are describing confirms my ideas about what is going on from a broader context of gender socialization; other things make it clear that each situation is unique and no individual's choices should be reduced to social forces; there are other factors to be considered.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:28 PM

8. A long term fix to our economy...

 

Would actually be to encourage women to have more children and for families to have six or seven children as opposed to just one or two. In an ideal world, the government would have free daycare and other support programs to help alleviate the cost of raising children so it would be more feasible to have large families again. Combine that with barring employers from penalizing women for taking time off work for pregnancy and raising children, and it could be done.

My reasoning here is that long-term we need more taxpayers paying it forward over a number of decades than what we already have. Simply put if we have more people paying taxes then there will be more money to pay for things such as social security, WIC, transportation, etc.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:32 PM

9. As an environmentalist, I don't necessarily agree with that.

In a context of increasing climate disruption and other consequences of pollution, and decreasing access to cheap energy and other resources, I don't think the world can support the population it already has. I think our tax problem would be solved by acknowledging the incredible (and rapidly increasing) social stratification in this country, and making those who hold the majority of the wealth pay the majority of the taxes.

However, thank you for your contribution to the thread. Welcome to DU!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:39 PM

10. And then when those children grow up, they would also need to have 6 or 7 kids too? How many people

can the world support? If there always need to be 3 times pop increase/generation, then how could this be a "long term fix"?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to uppityperson (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:57 PM

11. Like I said, in an ideal world...

 

You could allocate resources and concentrate the population in such a way that the world could support a larger population. Instead of having people commute across town, perhaps you could mix residential, commercial, and industrial zones so that you're never more than a mile or two from anything you need. Likewise, instead of building McMansions on massive suburban lots, it would be better to encourage people to dwell in more reasonable settings; that could be accomplished by restricting what could be legally built as residences.

Increasing the population indefinitely wouldn't work; at some point you really will have too many people. Its a moderate approach; you're better off aiming for a 3:1 ratio of taxpayers to those dependent on social programs. It would take a certain level of social engineering and government incentives to accomplish but it could be done.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 07:57 PM

12. Overpoulation issues aside, I have no desire to subsidize large families.

 

If someone can support a brood of a half-dozen or more progeny on their own, more power to them...but don't ask me to help.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Peter cotton (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:03 PM

13. It is unfortunate to me that the discussion of compensating women for reproduction...

...almost always, in some fashion or another, is derailed by the issue of overpopulation. I'm not saying that is what you're doing here, but it is a recurring issue. The fact is that some level of reproduction is necessary to maintain society; the bulk of the work of reproduction is likely to fall to women, at least during the early stages of pregnancy, birth, and nursing. It makes sense that this responsibility not become an additional economic hurdle faced by women; some kind of compensation should be built in to the system, whether through employment or through the government.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:12 PM

17. That was my point actually.

 

We need to encourage reproduction through some sort of government action; either by making it easier financially to have and raise children, or perhaps even paying women for it. It is essential that we have X amount of children be born each year to keep our society productive; and our policies toward women should reflect that.

It does sound horrible that we discuss women and reproduction like this, but biologically they do most of the work like you said. Men can't give birth or nurse infants; they're not built for it and women are; hence the discussion.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:18 PM

18. I don't know that we need to encourage it to the point of six children per family.

In fact on a global level I am pretty sure that even the most ecologically friendly arrangement still could not support the amount of people we have on the earth in the long term. However, we do need a replacement population, and I agree with much of what you have said otherwise.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:41 PM

27. We already subsidize breeding through the tax code

No, we need to get to ZPG, immigration will take care of growth needs.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #27)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:37 AM

31. ZPG=zero population growth?

Getting onto another plane, I think we need to fundamentally reconceive our global economic system so that it doesn't *depend* on growth. However, I differentiate between reproduction that expands the population and reproduction that replaces the population. At any level, we will still need children to be born, and women will be bearing those children.

I realize that in my OP I haven't really addressed the drastic changes that need to happen in our governmental and economic structures to achieve ecological resilience. It is one thing to talk about this or that social program in a paradigm of endless access to energy and resources, and quite another to put such a program in place in a way that can be sustained given the many environmental walls we are about to hit. Normally I rail against discussions of social justice that ignore environmental justice.

However, my point with this OP was to critically analyze statements made on DU and elsewhere that explain away the differences in earnings between men and women by noting that statistically, they go into different professions and perform wage labor for different lengths of time. My point is that we are ignoring the reasons for that: many women are taking time off from work, or curtailing their job choices, in order to do unpaid reproductive and caretaking work. I don't have time to go into the details right now, but this undervaluing of labor traditionally performed by women has major implications globally, both for the lives of women (and really, the lives of men as well), but also for a lot of our current environmental issues.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Reply #31)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:47 PM

33. You are correct

in figuring out what ZPG means.

Human beings have already figured out how to limit births to replacement people. We move from a predominantly agricultural lifestyle to a manufacturing/service economy. In the former, lots of children are needed to plant, tend and harvest crops. In the latter, children are an expensive luxury.

Look at what's happened to the birthrates in the developed world. When we can get the undeveloped world up to the same standards, the population will stabilize, perhaps even decline a bit. The Earth can do nicely with under five billion people someday.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Peter cotton (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:12 PM

16. I believe this conversation is about

working folks and disparity with wages.

Where your comment came from I am not sure.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Texasgal (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:47 PM

23. Post #8 advocated having the government encourage women to have half a dozen children or more.

 

I replied to this post, disagreeing with that proposal.

Clear enough?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Peter cotton (Reply #23)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:14 PM

26. No not clear

Seriously, who is employed and having a half of dozen children or more while working now days anyway?

Clear to you?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Texasgal (Reply #26)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:56 PM

28. Interesting question, but not one I addressed.

 

Someone advocated government policies encouraging women to have 6 children or more. I disagreed.

That's it. I'm sorry that you seem to have a problem with that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Peter cotton (Reply #28)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:32 PM

29. The problem I may have is that

your beef is not an issue.

It isn't happening. Thus going back to your claim has no basis and not what this conversation was about in the first place.

No problem, just stay on topic.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Texasgal (Reply #29)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:44 PM

30. Why should one stay on topic for the entirety of a thread?

 

If a point is brought up that's tangential to the OP, what's wrong with responding to it?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:07 PM

14. Or we could look at immigration laws

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:11 PM

15. What! The last thing we need is more overbreeding.

Its more of a strain on the economy and on families, especially when the job market is so bad.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:23 PM

19. Long term fix...

 

Children are an 18 year investment on the part of the parents at a minimum. Right now we do need short term fixes but the best approach is one that plays out over multiple generations. There are things we could do to employ the jobless within a few years, but what are we going to do over a matter of centuries is more important.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:40 PM

21. Two words: "Carrying capacity".

That's a really BAD idea and honestly there should be about half as many people on the planet as there actually are.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valiberal26 (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:53 PM

24. Only if your model has unlimited resources and opportunity

and that huge increase in population doesn't glut the wage market to death.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:35 PM

20. I've read your OP and your responses. I believe I understand your points.

You're willing to acknowledge that a gender-pay discrepancy may be based, at least in part, on comparable discrepancies in education and training. I believe your questions/points are:
- why are women driven to career paths that seem to be less lucrative?
- if the answer to the above is "children", then you're asking whether there should be some mechanism to compensate, as nature requires that women fill the child bearing role.

First, disclaimer: I'm male.

issue #1
I think there is a good point that in many cases, women seem to make choices that lead to lower compensating careers (reference SuperFreakonomics). I suspect that stereotypes and bigotry also drive the discrepancy in many cases, but let's keep the focus on the former for the moment -- I don't think many of disagree on bigotry driven discrepancies.

When I majored in Computer Science at a large state university (class of 2006), there was <10% female enrollment in that major. Engineering as a whole fared slightly better, but the ratio was still less than 25%. Why don't more women major in engineering? It's not lack of capabilities, it's not lack of opportunities (there are many more scholarships for women in engineering). I suspect that societal and family pressure is some of it. It's a lot easier to major in a field where all your friends are than to be a minority. I suspect there may be some truth to psychological differences (men more willing to risk failure by pursuing a challenging career), but I don't have the background to speak to it. I read once that men are more likely to apply for jobs where they don't meet all the qualifications but women tend not to apply to any job unless they meet them all (can't site my source).

Within engineering, i do not perceive that women pursue less rewarding specialties than male counterparts. The few that do enter engineering compete for the same positions as men, to my knowledge.

Tangent: My daughter is entering college in the Fall, majoring in engineering, and I'm anxious to see how the ratio has changed in 7 years.

issue #2
The other question is whether or not there should be some method of compensation to make up for genetic differences. In other words, should women be given some form of financial compensation to make up for the time lost to child rearing (while their male counterparts are gaining experience and proficiency). This is a big question. Should all women get the same compensation? should women get a bonus per child? Should this compensation reflect child rearing as well as child bearing (counter point to that is that men are biologically qualified for the rearing part)?

If we agree women should get some compensation here, then the next issue is who should provide it -- employers? the government?

I have no answers, but think the discussion is interesting.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to maggiesfarmer (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 08:43 PM

22. Interesting points, thanks! I think that general time off for family issues should be compensated.

This should include child bearing, child rearing, and care taking, as well as other things I may not be thinking of. As far as who should do it, I am more in favor of such things being tied to the government than to employment, since our society requires that a certain number of people be unemployed even in the best of times--some of those people are going to be pregnant women. However, I'm not asserting that this would hands-down be the best arrangement.

I certainly think that such time should be available to men as well; there are certain European nations that have paternity leave as well as maternity leave and I think that is a fair and humane choice for both genders. For one thing, I think the pressures of the "ladder of success" are disproportionately placed on men, and that this is a factor in shorter life expectancy.

I think that is a key thing, as well; our current gender arrangements place disproportionate burdens on both men and women, to the detriment of both. I don't think of it as a zero-sum game where men have to give up quality of life in order for women to gain it.

P.S., congratulations and best of luck to your daughter!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to antigone382 (Reply #22)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 09:13 PM

25. thanks for picking up the humble brag about my daughter,

she started getting acceptance letters last week -- I haven't been this proud since i saw her taking off on a 2 wheeler without me hanging on.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to maggiesfarmer (Reply #25)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:40 AM

32. It sounds like you have a good reason to be proud.

From the sound of it, having a father like you is probably a good part of her success.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread