My Opinion on The Gender Wage Gap

A friend asked me my opinion on the gender wage gap. Below is my response.

Literally everybody who cites statistics not from social scientist on all sides tends to use crap numbers that miss the bigger picture. Lots of social scientists from all kinds of fields also have crappy numbers that mischaracterize reality. Bundling all types of jobs together when different types of careers and occupations are developed on the basis of all kinds of siffereny local or workplace cultures is nonsense. Basically, obviously there will be industries where controlling for everything else some systemic type of sexism is the remaining factor controlling for wage gaps or comparable metrics of equity like authority in the workplace. Unfortunately, this level of nuance is lost in the broader culture wars by virtually literally everyone who isn’t discussing all the above content in the context of research.

What anyone ought do in practice, on a piecemeal basis, identifying those industries wherein sexism is legitimately having the worst consequences where nobody has tried anything, for which it actually matters[1], and which something can be done about it without systemically changing the values of everyone in society, it should be done. This is started by reaching out to the people in and around those industries most likely in practice to be willing and able to do something about it. Lots of people these days say action isn’t worth it if it doesn’t result in systemic change. I’ve talked to all manner of people of every perspective on this issue, and from now angle is that position seen as sound by anyone else, so I reject it outright.

There are people who do urge for systemic change, and put their money where their mouth is. This is a difference between liberal, Marxian and radical variants of feminism I don’t know enough about to follow the state of discourse at this time, but I encourage its continuation. Of course, by this point I’m entailing commentary on the state of organization and discourse on the political left in general, which is a separate topic.

[1] I am not going to become upset about the inequality between men and women in the field of midwifery, and I’m not going to become upset the more men than women are firefighters when any firefighter regardless of self-identified sex or gender must be constantly meet some minimum threshold for fitness to be able to reliably and sufficiently perform their jobs in emergency situations, and it just so happens men are more likely to be able to run while lifting 300 lbs. people on their shoulders than women.

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