Harvard Study: Gender Pay Gap Explained Entirely by the Genders' Work Choices

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  • #33976

    Kristina
    Participant

    @kristina,

    That’s a nice sentiment, but it doesn’t really make sense.

    It will make more sense when/if you become a mother.

    That doesn’t really have much bearing on what I wrote. I am saying that there isn’t a fixed relationship between things like sacrifice, hours worked, value and compensation. It’s not really a statement on what sacrifices mothers make or or don’t make, or whether or not it is worth it.

    Until then it probably won’t make sense to you. Unless you have walked in the shoes of a working mother, especially if you are a single mother, you have no clue. I have faced these challenges first hand and I can tell you from experience that no company that hires you to perform work really gives a shit about your personal life. You are expected to check it all at the door, and leave every sob story, excuse, “family emergency,” and drama outside of the work place. Your kid gets sick? Tough shit. You get sick because your kid got sick? Too fucking bad. You have to come in late because your child gives you drama about going to school in the morning? Nobody really cares. All they care about is, are you on time? Are you on point? Are you performing your job to the best of your ability? Are you performing and competing along with your male counterparts who have wives that take care of their children so that they can work 60+ hours per week without interruption? If the answer is no to any of those questions, then sorry sweetie you’re not getting that promotion! It really is that simple.

    Part of why many workplaces are trying to change that is it’s really just fighting against reality. The reality is, the pace of life is such that there will be many reasons people need some flexibility and leeway, and if you have the capacity to build it in, that means you may be able to reduce stress and stress-related illness/ absences, improve work-life balance, make better promotion decisions and generally improve quality of life not just for workers, but for their managers as well. It won’t always be the case, but there are possible gains to be made in productivity, quality of work, innovation, esprit de corps etc.

    That’s how businesses work and that’s how businesses think. They are in business to make money. They don’t care about your feelings. It’s a cold hard world. And regardless of the fact that this is just one study, it’s a glimpse, it’s a sliver of a bigger picture of what women go through just to compete in the workforce.

    It’s not really a cold hard world though. We act like that, but that has more to do with the system we’ve enabled rather than some objective necessity. In countries like Canada and the United States, let’s say, we’re not exactly dealing with great resource scarcities. We produce considerable excesses in many areas. If our collective psychology was more amenable to it, we could easily work out a better system of resource and workload distribution. That’s not how we tend to organize ourselves.

    Feelings are an innate aspect of human experience. I don’t know if employers tend not to care about them. They just don’t always care about them in a mutually beneficial way.

     

    #33977

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    Raising children is an investment in a country’s future, so women should be appreciated and compensated for their contribution to families. Then men, too, working for families at home. Imo the state should provide support and compensation per child, from -9 (or more) months of age through high school years. Requiring businesses, especially small businesses to take on that burden is an inefficient workaround, also with unpredictable costs (without insurance to cover those costs) on balance sheets. Not an optimal solution.

    Perhaps a minimum basic income program should start there, with moms and kids? Later, if civilization “progresses” (as it were) to “end of work” for all humans as robots take over, we’d have to expand the program to include everyone out of work. Already, that’s kinda what we’re dealing with during this covid unemployment crisis. Seems to me that Germany already supports businesses so that businesses can support employees, making unemployment less of an issue for the population. Not to mention general health care benefits not made to be a burden on businesses.

    Just dreaming here in “anti-socialism” USA I guess. A bit off track, too. Although more pandemics are probably in the cards.

    #33978

    Davis
    Moderator

    In most of Western Europe companies offer all kinds of flexibility to parents with sick children. I don’t have a single friend in Spain or Belgium whose career was put on hold or faced aggressive bosses because they had to pick up their sick child and take them to a doctor or who wasn’t given a chance to make up for the work or even just paid for the time. America can have a vicious free-market “business is business” mentality and that can only change by social pressure and labour protections and regulations. The fact that the mother faces pressure to deal with sick children far more than the father only shows that women (and single mothers) are overly burdened and face glaringly unfair expectations which only worsen the situation. That their career is put on hold because of things like that do not point to a fair justification for receiving lower salaries but unfair expectations being put on women.

    I don’t understand why it is the woman who should be expected “not to have a child if they care about their career” but the same doesn’t apply for men. If America had equal maternity and paternity leave then women having to make most of the sacrifices wouldn’t be an issue. If pay was equal then the default “lower paid mother being expected to sacrifice overtime or leave without pay” also would be less of an issue (creating a viscous cycle). A driving force behind feminist voices is a reaction to the status quo that it is logical that women are overburdened with child care, domestic duties and sacrificing career. If progress shows that attitudes can somewhat change then there is no reason parity in social burden cannot change. My male European friends want to share and have shared in maternity/paternity leave and share in their child raising burden (to varying levels of success). The fact that paternity leave is still disproportionate to maternity leave in many countries only speaks of social bias in what people see as the “higher value” of men working and the social/economic convenience of women not working.

    #33979

    Ivy
    Participant

    @davis

    In most of Western Europe companies offer all kinds of flexibility to parents with sick children. I don’t have a single friend in Spain or Belgium whose career was put on hold or faced aggressive bosses because they had to pick up their sick child and take them to a doctor or who wasn’t given a chance to make up for the work or even just paid for the time.

    oh my god that sounds like a dream! Oh what I wouldn’t give to live somewhere like that. That has not been my experience at all not even in the slightest. And it has essentially forced me into poverty. I had to make the choice between being able to work, or parenting my child. I have a special needs child which comes with even more challenges. It has forced me to take jobs that are way below my education and skill level just for the flexibility. I have a masters degree. But I worked fast food for a year and a half because that was the only job I could find that would be flexible enough with my schedule and allow me to takeoff at the drop of a hat if I needed to be there for my kid. So I was essentially put in a position where I had to start utilizing and relying on government assistance programs. Only now because of the pandemic are things getting better. I just landed a job that normally would not have been remote from home, but now is because of the pandemic, and it pays more money than I have ever made in my life. Plus my son is older, he is independent enough to do “school from home,” downstairs while I work (online). Oddly, the pandemic has opened up doors of opportunity for me that didn’t exist 7 months ago…I am now FINALLY able to work from home and be there for my kid. I am finally able to get a leg up out of poverty because of it. It’s so sad that in America, it took a pandemic for me to finally see a way forward..

    #33980

    Ivy
    Participant

    It’s OK, I found a loophole for 1492 that may allow me to get Spanish citizenship. Trust me I’m working on it! https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/09/spain-offers-citizenship-sephardic-jews/598258/

    Turns out on my dad side my family is from Spain, and I’m 99% sure I’d probably qualify for this. Thank God for ancestry.com, allowed me to find my biological parents! Anything to get me the hell out of this country!

    #33981

    Ivy
    Participant

    A big part of our problem now in the US is we have a president who think women still “stay home with the kids.” Some women do but they are lucky as fuck to have a man take care of them like that. Just the other day he said, “women, we’re putting your husbands back to work!”…omfg give me a fucking break. It’s because too many white men like him in power that hold us down. It’s always the white man that has the power and calls the shots.

    #33982

    Ivy
    Participant

    @kristina,

    It’s not really a cold hard world though. We act like that, but that has more to do with the system we’ve enabled rather than some objective necessity. In countries like Canada and the United States, let’s say, we’re not exactly dealing with great resource scarcities. We produce considerable excesses in many areas. If our collective psychology was more amenable to it, we could easily work out a better system of resource and workload distribution. That’s not how we tend to organize ourselves.

    I am so sorry but that’s just not true. You would not believe the obstacles that some people face in America. And while there may be plenty of resources to go around, that does not mean that it is easy to get those resources. I could tell you stories for days of things I have personally experienced, or people that I know, where in America we are suffering. And it’s all because of rules and regulations that some white man thought up. Nobody cares, nobody’s coming to rescue you, you have to figure it all out on your own, and if you don’t, you go hungry. Don’t count on some “government program” to come to your rescue…it’s like playing a slot machine. If you think the world is all roses, you’ve never gone hungry. That’s why people start to “work the system.” In some ways you almost have to. And in some places you literally have to do other illegal things just to make it. If you suffer any kind of mental illness? Forget it. You’re toast. And nobody gives a shit. And you have kids? OK maybe you’ll get some help, but maybe not. It really depends. Depends on where you live, and how you conduct yourself if you’re able to get assistance or not. There are places where you could literally be on the street with an infant and nobody will help you. There’s not enough resources to go out round. And yes I’m talking about in the United States of America. We really are not a good country LOL. We think we are. Maybe we were for a short period of time, maybe. But honestly like Davis was saying, there are way better parts of the world to be, or people actually care enough about you as a human being to make sure you don’t fall through the cracks.

    #33983

    Kristina
    Participant

    @kristina,

    It’s not really a cold hard world though. We act like that, but that has more to do with the system we’ve enabled rather than some objective necessity. In countries like Canada and the United States, let’s say, we’re not exactly dealing with great resource scarcities. We produce considerable excesses in many areas. If our collective psychology was more amenable to it, we could easily work out a better system of resource and workload distribution. That’s not how we tend to organize ourselves.

    I am so sorry but that’s just not true. You would not believe the obstacles that some people face in America. And while there may be plenty of resources to go around, that does not mean that it is easy to get those resources. I could tell you stories for days of things I have personally experienced, or people that I know, where in America we are suffering.

    I am already well aware, but you’re completely missing the point. I am not saying those things don’t happen. I am saying it is not the result of some ‘cold, hard world’. People created that system. People can change that system, hypothetically. There’s so much momentum behind rationalizing a system which promotes inequity that I don’t know what it would take to turn things around. Still, the world isn’t demanding any such thing. There is no necessity to it.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Kristina.
    #33985

    Ivy
    Participant

    @kristina,

    People can change that system, hypothetically.

    There are certain things that people can do to increase their chances of changing circumstances for themselves individually. But from a systemic level, it is never going to not be the case that very small percentage of people carry all the wealth and everybody else is at the bottom. It’s called a Pareto Distribution https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_distribution

    and trust me single mothers will always be at the bottom of that distribution. There’s a very small percentage of single moms who are able to make it, and the ones that you always have somebody to help them, even if it’s not a romantic partner, a mother or other family member or friend. It is literally impossible to raise a child by yourself and have a successful career. Maybe not in this other countries where it seems like employers are understanding. But definitely not in corporate America. It’s just not happening. And no single person is going to change that. We can pressure the system all we want, but businesses are in business to make money, and I don’t see corporate America changing anytime soon. There are too many people like Donald Trump in power who really don’t give a shit, and think that women should just be at home baking cookies.

    #33986

    Kristina
    Participant

    But definitely not in corporate America. It’s just not happening.

    It is, just not on the scale it needs to, and it doesn’t tend to bleed down to things like service-sector jobs. It also needs to be approached with public policy and in some cases litigation as well. I am well aware of how political lobbying and political propaganda are issues in the United States, and I am aware of just how deeply poisoned many Americans are against even the slightest hint of “socialism” but change simply isn’t impossible.

    #33987

    Ivy
    Participant

    @kristina,

    I am aware of just how deeply poisoned many Americans are against even the slightest hint of “socialism” but change simply isn’t impossible.

    sure it’s not impossible. But just saying that does nothing because the people that are affected need that change like – yesterday. It does nothing for the here and now. People like me who are struggling from the bottom (And I’m still fortunate compared to a lot of people), After a while it sounds like a lot of just blowing smoke up your ass. All these politicians that make all these promises of what they’re going to do… But they’re not gonna do shit. It’s every man for himself, or every woman for herself. That’s why I say, it’s a cold world out there, and idealistic promises of a better tomorrow are luxuries of those who are already part of the “haves” not the “have nots.” For those who have not, they spend their day just trying to figure out how they’re going to eat, and keep a roof. There’s really not much time for anything else.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Ivy.
    #33989

    Davis
    Moderator

    On the one hand we shouldn’t be so quick to idealise the European modern welfare state. I mean some countries are a whole lot better than others, that doesn’t mean it is a paradise for parents in all jobs (certainly the lower status the job the more likely your boss will face pressures to keep workers on as many shifts as possible) and yeah, it’s not as though you get silver cheques coming in every month. But I would imagine that working conditions for a single mother in Belgium are a whole lot less stressful than in Kentucky or Indiana.

    As for social progress, you need only look to the states in America which emulate European socialism as closely as possible (thing of Massachusetts, Connecticut or Vermont). Of course this is an approximation but I know for a fact that each state has some (certainly not all) of those labour laws and social safety nets. You’d have to do your research to find out which ones do which but the very fact that some states do so (and even a few Republican states have some progressive labour laws and social assistance) shows that the hysterical fear of a communist plot if European-socialist principles are adopted cannot be overcome. America tends to resist ideas other countries adopt and then at some point embrace them almost as though it was their own idea and they own it. Think about smoking bans in bars (“over my dead body”), free public education, minimum wages, the slow legalisation of marijuana and euthanasia etc.

    #33990

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Ivy, before you use that 1492 law to attain Spanish citizenship you may want to investigate whether you will have free reign in Spain. In Germany Jews who i surmise mostly fled persecution in Russia are legally required to live in designated areas with other Jews living nearby. I have no idea if it is the same in Spain but of course ghettoization comes with stigma.

    Based on that link antisemitism continues to be a factor in Spain and if you are identified as Jewish it may not be easy to live there. So how have the experiences been of Jews who have availed themselves of that law?

    #33991

    Unseen
    Participant

    Of course the situation can change if people take action in various ways. For one thing, if women were to drop the “superwoman” model of the female who is both a top performer at work and at home. Why? Because all too often the result is a female worker whose divided interests let more monomaniacal men and women surge ahead as more valuable workers while the children lose by being watched over during the day by people who simply cannot love them and care for them the way an actual parent would.

    At night, a work-exhausted mom who maybe turned down some overtime either because her childcare worker couldn’t stay a few hours longer or because she’d just like to be home with her children, but has to set them in front of the TV so she can do the day’s remaining housework.

    Some people say, “Well, you can always give your kids quality time.” I’m pretty sure Ivy will agree with the standard response to this nostrum: “For children, quantity time is quality time.”

    In some households, males can pitch in but don’t for a variety of reasons both good and bad. However, we now also have the phenomenon of supermom wannabes who actually choose to be single moms and don’t want the bother of a husband and don’t mind giving up the extra income a male partner would bring in.

    Anyway, I don’t see any way past the social inertia problem. While statistics tell us that a lot of women want a career outside the home, it’s undeniable that a lot of women don’t. This may be because they were happily raised in a so-called “traditional” home or in one of the single-parent homes that actually worked well for them. But people in general resist the new.

    “But the public went rather quickly from most opposing gay marriage to now where 2/3 of Americans support it.” That comparison doesn’t work, because we can’t agree on what the solution is to a problem a lot of people don’t or won’t see. With gay marriage, the majority finally said, “Let them marry. It’s no skin off my teeth,” but changing the workplace will affect many adversely and, to their mind, unfairly. When they see the female coworker who isn’t available for overtime and shows up late or takes time off due to family issues, which more available workers have to cover for, getting wages and raises on par with more valuable workers, they will not be happy.

    We could try an experiment requiring companies big and small to pay strictly by job description. We could do this with a representative sample of companies to give a basis for comparison. The question then, of course, is that if the evidence shows that this requirement reduces the performance of the business. And this matters, because well-performing companies grow and give people jobs. Poorly performing companies shrink and lay employees off and are forced to reduce the wages they pay.

    But I think the biggest obstacle to change is the number of people who don’t want change to happen. They like the nuclear family with at least one stay-at-home parent. They believe that, generally, females are better nurturers. They don’t want anyone—least of all the government—in their kitchen anymore than they want it in their bedroom. They don’t want top be anyone’s social experiment and believe that, as adults, they are qualified to set up their familial relations.

    Let’s call that “social inertia.” And I think you’ll find it nearly impossible to get around.

    I’m left of center myself, but one thing I see as I bring my 70+ years of experience to bear is that radicals insanely overestimate the readiness of the public to want or absorb radical change. The United States is not ready for a Revolution in the workplace if it affects the family.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Unseen.
    #33992

    Ivy – I am not up to date on the 1492 law but if you can gain Spanish citizenship you can travel, live and work anywhere in Europe. You are also entitled to social welfare in each country to. Your Spanish Citizenship entitles you to a European passport. You could fly to (say) Ireland or France directly as a Spanish citizen, get social assistance in either country, without ever having set foot on Spanish soil.

    When it comes to International soccer teams, players can qualify based on the “Grandparent rule”. If by any chance you happen to have an Irish grandparent who emigrated to the USA, then you are also entitled to automatic Irish citizenship. See the eligibility section here.

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