Atleast in Denmark and Sweden child care is heavily subsidized, to the point of being free for very low income parents (in dk). So there is no way it can make economic sense for mothers not to work. And stay at home moms (for more than 1-2 years) is rare compared to the USA.
Forcing parents to have equal amounts of parental leave, as we do in Sweden (well, we incentivized it,) is a form of imposed equality of outcome. Equality of outcome is often said to be some disease of modern feminism, but really, what's the alternative?
Going against our primal instincts is essential for a productive society. "Man strong - hunt food, woman caring - raise child" or some religious justification of similar dubiousness is _not_ enough.
At the end of the day, it's going to be a balancing act of imposing on individual freedom such that individual freedom is at all possible. I personally am more inclined towards letting people be who they are, but that's what created gender inequality and racism in the first place.
Whether e.g. women on average tend to take more parental leave is only a small subset of those sorts of situations in society.
I (a man) took a months-long parental leave fairly recently which surely hurt my job prospects, how could it not? But I chose to do it anyway. Should other men that didn't make that choice be forced to do the same to even things out?
A relevant argument is made strongly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBSUkDXekMM
My household absolutely derives value from my wife's labor. What is impacted here is earning potential; if my wife were to need to seek employment outside the home in order to earn income, her income would be substantially less than it would have been if she had been gaining relevant experience during this time in our lives.
The analysis is at the macro level, with a view to why/how a society can pursue reforms towards fairer socioeconomic reality, instead of being submissive to the prevailing order. Slavery, for one, seemed unmovable too at one point in history.
If you are a mere 'Salaryman' there's no way your loss of income is worth more than the experience and relationship you gain.
For instance, the opportunity for a desirable job may be the result of earlier experience attained, which may be the result of choices about how much time to spend on work versus family or other pursuits.
It gets even more complex when you take this back to the time of birth. Differences among parents represent a huge difference in opportunity for their children. But it's hard to imagine this changing dramatically: parents work very hard to give their children whatever kinds of benefits they possibly can -- social, financial, cultural, educational. If you could ever truly prevent parents from giving their children benefits that not all children have, it would remove almost all of the incentive for most kinds of success, and the consequences would be unimaginable (and probably dystopian).
Commenting on this & the thread at large though there's a general confusion here between the narrow question of whether the right way to subsidize e.g. parental leave should be done at the employer level, and whether it's worthwhile to do so at all.
Many here are assuming that an objection to the former is equivalent to an objection to the latter.
That's not the case at all. It's possible to be a proponent of radically progressive social policies that would massively benefit parents raising children and be 100% against those policies having any negative downstream impact on companies trying to hire them as workers in the future.
E.g. one way to do that (just spitballing here) would be to recognize that a new individual in society is likely to have a long-term positive revenue impact for the government. Some percentage (e.g. 10%) of their taxes would be paid directly to their parents, and this amount could be paid on birth on the basis of median income in the country and adjusted past the age of 18 accordingly.
This would give parents a massive subsidy lifetime subsidy, and a huge incentive to steer their children towards lucrative careers which would have a positive impact on economic growth.
As I'm raising my kid I'm amazed at how important just keeping her curious and oriented towards the unknown is. Just teaching her how to manage her own emotions and external frustrations. Even at a very young age I see parents conditioning their male children to physically _push_ through problems and frustrations but the girls are so often taught to communicate and understand their feelings _before_ acting. This then seems to really influence the types of activities they are introduced to and ultimately excel at.
If I'm being honest with myself when my emotional intelligence finally caught in my 30s it was a bit embarrassing. I just didn't have a good skill set for dealing with frustrations which weren't physical.
Maybe I'm coming from a place of privilege but that point of view makes me incredibly sad.
I can't imagine being able to discriminate based on parental leave
Does this feel unfair in some sense? Yeah. But would it be less unfair to artificially punish the person who didn't take time off? Questionable...
It's not even about punishment. Calling it discrimination is like saying that hiring based on years of experience discriminates against younger people. It's the wrong point at which to solve the problem.
We know that taking a year off impacts employment prospects. If we want to compensate for it, what should we do?
The implied solution is to force employers to hire less experienced workers. But that has all kinds of known problems. The quality of their work will be lower. It creates an incentive for businesses to cheat and benefits the ones that do. The cost is not uniformly distributed, which creates risk and surprise for smaller businesses that may not be able to absorb the sudden cost.
What problem are we trying to solve here? We want to encourage parenting and help parents, so do that. Have a social insurance program for parental leave equivalent to unemployment insurance. Have a generous tax deduction for dependent children that compensates for the resulting lower salary. Do things, in general, that spreads the risk across all taxpayers rather than creating asymmetric costs for the employers who happen to employ parents, so that we avoid giving employers a perverse incentive to find ways to offset the cost.
It's not a problem if you make $5000/year less in salary if you also pay $5000/year less in taxes. Or $10,000/year less in taxes.
There is some nuance. For example, a $5k tax credit might help me level the playing field today, but that $5k difference still exists for social security calculation.
Sure, so identify the problems and fix them. The way social security works is illogical. It's supposed to be a safety net, so why do we pay in proportion to past income rather than giving everyone the same amount? Do the affluent somehow need a larger safety net? If anything they should be expected to have more of their own savings.
Of course, there's also ramp-down and ramp-up time on each side of the leave. I'd expect a leave of 12 months is probably closer to a total productivity loss of 18 month, which will drag pay down further if there's a reduction to a second merit increase. If you take years off, as many do, staying home until the kid enters kindergarten, then you're probably looking at a massive relative gap when you start back.
But yeah, taking a year for parental leave is not a death knell for most professionals' careers. It will realistically result in a long-term salary depression relative to peers, though.
Most women also reasonably choose to prioritize family over career when their children are very young further inhibiting them from advancing their career during that time.
I can assure you looking after a baby the first year is not leisure time.
Of course in reality human nature being what it is, some people probably do actually care. And rarely are "all other things exactly equal". I'd guess most employers would be more favorable towards someone who took a year off to raise a baby, as opposed to taking a year off just to lounge around.
Gender aside, this is still discrimination based on a persons “experience”, as you call it, or very simply: their employment status.
This is against the law. Plain and simple. Look at some of the laws enacted over the years, starting in 2011 .
I'm not a lawyer, but that doesn't sound right to me.
Consider four people who graduated at the same age, then took different paths:
* Experienced Eric worked for the same company for 11 years, is still there, and is considering a new job.
* Younger Yenina worked for the same company for 10 years, is still there, and is considering a new job.
* Late Larry searched for a job for 1 year, worked for the same company for 10 years, is still there, and is considering a new job.
* Unemployed Ursula worked for the same company for 10 years, got laid off, and has been looking for 1 year.
The law you quoted appears to say it's illegal to discriminate against Unemployed Ursula for being currently unemployed, so she should have the same shot as Younger Yenina and Late Larry. It doesn't say her year of unemployment must be considered equal to Experience Eric's extra year of work.
(There are also age discrimination laws that say you can't prefer Younger Yenina simply for being younger, gender discrimination laws that say you can't prefer Late Larry simply for being male, etc.)
The argument made prior to this is not that an unemployed person is equal to a continuously employed worker but merely that unemployment should not and cannot affect your qualifications for position X. The law is pretty general as it states an employed person is anyone who does not have a job, is able to work, and is seeking work.
If Eric, Yenina, Ursula, and Larry are all able bodies, placing Ursula in her own category based solely on a gap year is in itself discriminatory.
The parent comments are taking the gap year into account—something that can be elaborated on, but should never be a deciding factor. The general consensus ITT is that Eric automatically is a better fit for position X than Ursula based solely on their employment history.
That argument in itself shows biases toward length of employment and current status, with the latter being something that should be irrelevant in a hiring process.
Edit: to show an example, most job postings on P&G have this disclosure:
>Qualified individuals will not be disadvantaged based on being unemployed.
That one line is what everybody is arguing againat, that unemployment automatically declines your qualifications.
Isn't it? Maybe that's not what you meant to say, but even now as I re-read your earlier comment I think that's what you said. Based on the downvotes and jimjansen's reply, I'm not alone. jimjansen's reply in fact seems to have taken you to mean that you simply cannot consider someone's experience at all, which is a totally unreasonable position and consistent with your wording. I tried to be more generous in my interpretation but simply can't interpret your earlier comment in way that's consistent with the (correct) idea that one can legally hire Experienced Eric rather than Unemployed Ursula because of his additional experience.
(By the way, unfortunately I think these discrimination laws are basically toothless because in real life there are many factors that legally can be considered, they're all subjective, and employers are under no obligation to explain their reasoning. So you can almost never prove discrimination unless they are dumb enough to tell you about it.)
The commenter clearly stated their point. Businesses don't care why you have a one year gap. They only care that you have a one year gap.
In no way did they call having a baby a vacation.
Looking at the bigger picture we should be doing everything we can to encourage family growth within our own ranks. I'd argue that most people on HN etc would make excellent, above average parents if only because they are so engaged.
Sorry to go further off topic.
We’ll see in Japan in the next two decades. Europe is next.
I don't think it'd be difficult to let people enjoy the benefits the company has agreed to provide without punishing them, indeed, this strikes me as the only reasonable way for the company to behave. Ideally, as time goes on, all employees with avail themselves of the full suite of benefits making this discrimination againts those who use their benefits will become moot.
It makes me sad that anyone would want to force business to take on risk that it wouldn't otherwise in the name of "equality".
Choices have consequences, if you choose to stay out of work for a year to raise your child then you will be less employable.
2. The word 'choice' is not really apposite here, given that one sex, by the mere lottery of birth, carries the burden of pregnancy (and, culturally - with a similar determinacy - women are expected to rear their children in their early years).
In one negotiation book I read, they call "fair" the "F" word. It means different things to different people, and throwing the word around doesn't further discussions much.
Getting to the C++ dev position, as a person who hires, I've never cared how much experience a person has. I care about how much skills and knowledge he can demonstrate. And an extra year doing C++ is information-free. It tells me nothing that sets him apart from another candidate who has one less year.
I mean, seriously - in my former C++ job if I ranked people by their C++ coding abilities (which includes SW design, etc), there was probably no correlation with years of experience. My manager even complained to me privately that people who had over a decade of experience were performing noticeably worse than those who had 5 or less years.
I've never actually encountered a case where a few months off, or even a year, made any real difference. In my company people occasionally take a few months off every so many years (sabbatical). Their performance does not degrade. A former coworker of mine left the job and wandered the world for 10 months, and got rehired back to his old job. His performance was not impacted (in fact, they prioritized him over someone else external to the company because he was already familiar with the job, whereas an external person would slow things down as he ramped up). I've seen people change careers (e.g. transition to marketing), do it for 1-2 years, and decide to return to engineering/software - no measurable impact.
This is like saying a year of attending a trade school to become a plumber is equivalent to being a first grade teacher for a year.
1 year of experience + 1 year of experience is already more years of experience than 1 year of experience + 1 year of parenting. And it isn't too rare that it becomes 3-5 years of professional experience being more valuable to a company than 1 year of experience + the last 2-4 years of parenting when a parent tries to re-enter the work force.
You either have an impressive resume beforehand or accept that you traded career advancement for having children. Children are a choice and it isn't fair to people who chose not to have kids to further their careers to be brought down to "fair ground" by people who chose to have kids instead of furthering their careers.
if you're in a position where you can afford to shoulder the financial burden of having children, that's great and I wish you the best. if not, don't expect the small sliver of childfree folks to make up the difference for you. if we actually get to the point where society can't replace itself, maybe we can talk again.
It's exactly as rigorous as your argument. We've both submitted opinions to be considered. I'm not expecting more rigor nor inclined to offer more because I think we've both put out enough worth considering. But if you want to bring more rigor I'll read it.
When this is this is the case let me know. All I see is system pumping out special snowflakes that only know how to bitch and complain and scream at the slightest amount of discomfort or offense.
Welcome to life, it isn't equal, and never will be. Maybe we should stop trying to make the playing field level and just appreciate and celebrate the differences.
Right, that is 'life' in the sense that it is, to some partial extent - and I say partial because women regularly successfully reintegrate back into the work force, and many employers don't have your dim view of things - the existing state of things. But humans, if you had not noticed from the ideological and political revolutions of the last three-hundred years, can change and improve society. It is simply factually and politically absurd to say that X is reality at the moment, so X should or must always be reality. You would not say that of the various inequalities - of sex, race and class - of the past, so why say it now?
'Maybe we should stop trying to make the playing field level and just appreciate and celebrate the differences.'
There is nothing intrinsically valuable in 'difference', e.g. a master is different from his slave, but that hardly justifies the difference. So no, I don't think we should bathe in the glory of our inequalities, and chastise people who think we could do better.
There is nothing intrinsically valuable in equality.
I was arguing against your suggestion that inequality - and the ways in which society is gendered to the disadvantage of women in particular - is a natural part of 'life' that we should just fatalistically reconcile ourselves to. Maybe I was wrong, and you don't object to equality on empirical grounds (although perhaps they were never serious, anyway), but because you're an anti-egalitarian reactionary.
Funny how I never heard this argument when the anti-poaching agreements between tech giants were revealed. Maybe we ought to have celebrated the unfair differences between man and employer?
HN's capacity for empathy seems rather limited until they (we?) are at the pointy-end of the stick. Drifting back towards the topic, I believe in the hacker spirit of experimenting/striving towards how things could be, instead of being satisfied with the stolid status quo.
You said I have fluffy unicorn ideology in another thread here, and I think that's bullshit, especially in the resource-rich 21st century. As resource-rich as we are now, the future's gonna be even brighter.
If you just want to recreate the "life is unequal" structures in the 22nd century, why fucking bother at all?
But it is completely and utterly stupid to "fight for equality". If you want to waste your time and energy, feel free. But people are born differently, some have better bone density, some have a high metabolism, some can build muscle faster. Some people are stronger, faster, smarter, etc. than others.
This makes the world INTERESTING. I am glad there is resistance. I am glad that people need to fight for a better job, or higher pay. How rewarding is it when you finally get that better job, or get the raise. How fucking proud and good do you feel when you claw your way to the top and reap the reward? You want take that away and just hand out the same rewards to everyone? Nah, sounds like a great way to have a dull life and meaningless world.
"Completely and utterly stupid to fight for equality."
"I'm glad people need to fight for a better job."
Retrograde and sad, and a recipe for a continually miserable world.
Give everyone enough, give everyone what they need, and let's see what humanity is actually capable of. Any other attitudes, any other goals belong, rightly so, in the dustbin of history.
Most are owned by individuals who have families, employ individuals with families and cumulatively small businesses such as these employ a rather large percentage of the labour force.
For many individuals and their families, the fact they can put up a small amount of capital and start a business is the only way they can ensure a future for themselves and their children.
Not all business owners are already rich SV venture capitalists or multi-millionaires. And his point is valid - how much risk do you force upon blue-collar small business owners who are already operating on small margins?
I think the conflict is between those who value people more or businesses more. In the US, businesses are often seen as a core and fundamental part of a society. In many other countries, it is not. That's why you get responses like "Businesses exist to serve people, not the other way round".
>Choices have consequences, if you choose to stay out of work for a year to raise your child then you will be less employable.
There really are not many jobs where things change fast enough in one year that your ability to do the job is adversely affected. Including SW. I've looked, and it's hard to find a SW job that involves cutting edge technology (AI may be the exception these days).
I get the sense a number of people feel that the person who worked instead of taking the time off should be given extra credit for that work, but I do not find the argument compelling. At least where I work, he does get something extra for it - a higher pay. People who go on parental leave in my company do not get the same income while they are off as they did at work - they get a percentage of their salary (I think it is tax free so it's "about the same" as their salary). But everything extra (i.e. bonuses) is prorated - they get nothing for the time they are off.
Looking around my office there is a person here who's about a year younger than me but I don't think it's a given that this one year difference makes them somehow less experienced than myself. We're both adults in our forties with many years of experience each, quibbling over a year hear and there strikes me as pointless and counter productive. There are other, more important, differences between us.
Even having less time off from sports activities - broken legs from five a side foot ball cost a surprising number of days off.
Also, companies can get insurance on an employee death (although limited to X% of highest paid employees): https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/an-employee-dies-and...
I might be wrong, but I don't think a company can get insurance on an employee getting pregnant.
Sure, businesses in principle don't value employees that are parents, it's a pure cost for them. But from a higher vantage point, life is not just about commerce. Parenthood may be a problem for business, but it is a critical function for both nations and societies. Unless you propose that the primary driver for society should be accumulation of wealth by whatever means necessary, this is one aspect where capitalism should not be allowed to reach its natural endgame.
Trying to protect business, to me, has always seemed like a problem of personal greed being leveraged over the community's interests. Those who are individually benefiting by the current systems don't want to change it because they could potentially lose their current advantages or be superseded by others who are more willing to do more.
If you want to live in a libertarian fantasy world with no safety net, you are free to create one, and try to attract citizens to your country.
Even in prehistoric times, it was generally understood that there was societal benefit to letting women take care of children when they were extremely young and that perhaps letting a new mother skip some of her normal chores so she could breastfeed would be better for the tribe as her baby could grow up to be a hunter and help bring in more food and resources.
Note that I do support strong parental leave policies, and advocate for such wherever I work.
While you're obviously right that one can plan to become pregnant, that doesn't make unplanned pregnancies a non-issue. So, that safety net is beneficial.
Is that an easy moment for you? If she has an abortion, then chances are higher that she could never have a child again. It's not just a "choice". Christ.
In prehistoric times a village raised a child, not an individual.
For better or worse, you just described the early industrial United States. And people flocked from all over the world to come to it.
I'm out of this conversation. Immediate downvotes because I don't agree with the toxic alt-right views that seem to dominate conversations like these.
I'm done with this discussion; seems we can't have a meaningful one.
You're being intellectually dishonest here. You expect to be able to share your point of view without critical response but you insult others for expressing theirs.
Also, I'm not sure votes count as moderation. Moderation is generally something that exists at a level above community feedback.
I express anything not patently left and i'm instantly vote brigaded into oblivion. You're living in a fantasy world if you think anything here is "alt right".
As we build and refine our society, it's entirely up to us to determine how best we want to put businesses to work, to improve society.
Anyone who wants the benefits of owning a business can be subject to those rules. Anyone who doesn't want to play by those rules can go solo or work for someone who does.
Oh, those benefits of running a business. You know, like working more hours than everyone else, putting your own money on the line, being the last to get paid. Here's some hard facts:
1. Most businesses are small businesses
2. Most people are employed in small to medium businesses
3. Most businesses fail because they lose money
If you push for more and more requirements of businesses to fulfill, only the biggest corporations will be able to survive, because those are the companies that can deal with all the regulation, all the legal risk, who figure out all the tax loopholes, who have the best standing with banks, etc.
You'll eventually kill all the competition from the bottom. There won't be any more artisan bakeries or coffee shops, there will be McDonalds and Starbucks. Everywhere. No more innovative software startups, only Facebook, Google, Microsoft, IBM and Apple.
> Anyone who doesn't want to play by those rules can go solo or work for someone who does.
Good jobs don't fall from the sky. Big corporations also happen to be really good at making people redundant.
The financial resources required to buy and run an McD franchise are pretty hefty, so it's not exactly going to first timers, or people who don't already know how to run a franchise.
What would you change to encourage, empower small businesses?
We're living in an era where, resource-wise, we could be post-scarcity, but politically, it's all locked up in a shitty, shitty system.
I want to keep imagining a world in which people are truly free, and not just free to keep grinding away at a job because the alternative is starvation or privation.
Do YOU want to have surgery from a surgeon that hasn't performed in year?
Your idea is fine utopian, fluffy unicorn, ideology. But practically it just won't work. This doesn't have anything to do with politics or a shitty system. It is just the facts of reality, if you are out of practice of your profession for year your skills won't be as sharp as someone who hasn't taken a year off.
There can be something like a transition period. The world is not binary. Surgeons get sick. They get injured. They take time off. Just like everyone else. The reason they took time off should not be relevant.
The fact that they did could be (in some cases), IMO.
I feel like what is being done here is to [ironically] force an equality of outcome on every metric _except_ the one that swings the argument.
The very nature of equality of _opportunity_ means to me that it doesn't matter at all that I took time off. Am I qualified? Do I have demonstrable expertise? References? Education? A unique perspective?
You may be generally curious about my year off but the idea that it somehow invalidates _any_ of my other qualifications feels silly and limits my opportunity based on external factors which don't impact my ability to do the job. It's just that you don't seem to fit the world view of others so it's suspect.
_This_ is the complaint: that a talented professional coming back to the work force loses out not because of ability but because of violating social norms.
A pilot with 5K hours of experience is more experienced (in the pilot job market) than one with 4K. I don't care that you could have had that extra 1K hours if you'd worked an extra year instead of doing something else. I only care whether you do or don't (as it pertains to this dimension of the evaluation).
There doesn't seem to be room in your opinion or examples for a pilot with 3k hours flying commercial vs someone with 5k hours flying as a hobby on the weekends. 3k is simply less that 5k, right? You don't care _how_ they spent those 5k hours...simply that they have them?
If you agree that this is a ridiculous over simplification in order to prove my point then we may be on the same page.
The very nature of your comments makes me envision a women on the other side of your hiring decision wondering why she couldn't get you to focus on the _quality_ of the work and stop fixating on the _quantity_ of time spent doing it. Because that is exactly what I'm trying to do now.
I didn’t go deep, because this isn’t an aviation forum, but sure the quality of hours matters. Retract, multi, instrument, PIC, dual given, high-performance, turbine, jet, 91, 135, 121, etc all matter. Smash-n-goes in a 172 aren’t the same as flying the line/signing for a transport jet.
Anything past the FAA ATP 1500 hour mark, the quality matters. Before that, quantity dominates for airline candidates.
This example, along with ones others have given, all reduce to the same thing: You are not interested in determining the skills of your candidate - you are interested in determining experience. Presumably with a dubious belief that your metric is a good proxy for those skills.
>I am curious about your experience and competency
Yet your example only addresses one of these.
Of course everyone tries to evaluate absolute competency (ceteris non paribus) in an interview. I’m not suggesting that anyone stop doing that. I am stating a belief that experience is positively correlated and perhaps a necessary precondition of competency. If that's the case, considering experience as a component of the overall evaluation is indicated.
I also find it deeply depressing that "a person should be able to take a year off work" is now utopian, fluffy unicorn ideology on a forum for forward-thinking technologists.
If you want to take a decade off work, you certainly have that right. But that doesn’t mean employers should pretend that you have an extra decade of experience, just as your choice to forgo a degree doesn’t mean an employer should pretend you earned a doctorate.
Presumably we should discriminate against all 4 year graduates as they took an extra year to graduate's who do it in 3.
We do. All things being equal, the person hired a year earlier will have higher pay. As they should, since they have an extra year of experience. Assuming equal candidates, the one with more experience will do a better job (second system syndrome notwithstanding).
And here people are arguing the exact same thing!!! One extra year of time working means higher pay!
That's exactly what a lot of union pay scales are structured like, but that's evil unions; this is somehow just right???
Also HN, despite the meme, is not a hive mind. Some here are in support of unions and don’t consider them evil.
Are companies that short-term-oriented?
Publicly traded ones. There are only 3 months between Earnings Reports.
There is nothing stopping you from taking a year off work. Go right head. You won't get paid, and they won't hold your job, and you will have gap to explain when you are interviewing for a position when you want to return. Don't expect the world to bend backwards and ignore realities so you can take a year off.
The Scandinavian economic model relies heavily on high work life participation for funding, so encouraging people to take time off for other reasons would not make sense.
I’m debating with myself about that statement. Is the goal of society a high amount of productivity, or stable, happy families and relationships? It seems means and ends are getting mixed up.
Stable, happy families are those that don't need to worry about the necessities of life, don't need to worry about their income stream going up in smoke. This is where productivity enters the picture, because a given society can lose the productivity race, and therefore its prosperity. It results in negative impacts on the population of that society.
This paints the financial crisis in new light, where a societal function has been so rotted from the inside that it is able to damage every globalized society on earth. These people should be made examples of, but sadly, the power is so indirect, and the nepotism so strong.
I think all the other answers to this have been arguing either yes/no, but it's really the wrong question.
If you have 2 candidates, you should take into account their experience, but you shouldn't otherwise penalize the parental leave taker. So by taking parental year you put yourself one year back in the experience cohort.
There is nothing discriminatory or gender specific about this. If it turns out that women take more parental years than men, we return to your question of incentives and equality of outcomes, to be decided separately.
That's quite the rhetorical pretzel you are tying yourself into there.
Professor Iris Bohnet of Harvard wrote a great book called "What Works" that offers some creative solutions to the issue. Here's an interesting article about a small change implemented by orchestras in the 1970's discussed in the book: https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2013/oct/14/...
Finally, on a personal level, I've found that even the most well-reasoned argument will be ignored when the person making it comes across as an asshole. I'm not saying you're an asshole and I'm certainly not saying that your argument is well-reasoned. But I am saying it's something you should take into account next time you feel compelled to air your opinion.
As far as the actual object level goes, we're likely far more in agreement than you think. I absolutely want a fair system for everyone, and I'm well aware of the efficiency involved in market processes and price discovery. "Equality of Opportunity" is a lofty goal with relatively few pitfalls (we certainly don't want to punish parents for fair attempts at providing their children with opportunities), but I think we're basically on the same page here. And outright sexism is obviously unacceptable.
I think a big point of divergence between my opinions and mainstream feminist thought here is what we believe is behind differences in group outcomes. In my view, prices as a signal of supply and demand has much more explanatory power. Higher paying jobs are higher paying for a reason - they are more competitive, require longer hours, are more dangerous, more risky, require more intensive training, are less fulfilling, or otherwise less desirable in some way. The wage market is certainly not perfectly efficient, and discrimination does happen, but supply and demand plays a huge role in my opinion.
As far as I can tell, feminism tends more to see differences in group outcomes more as evidence of discrimination and other systematic problems in the system. While these problems aren't 100% solved, in my view they're getting a grossly disproportionate amount of attention.
Your comment is written in such an off putting manner that I wonder if it must be satire.
You've dictated, generalized, and disparaged with every sentence.
Even if I wanted to agree with the presentation is so ugly that I recoil.
Every time someone says this, they follow up with something about a feminist agenda that no woman I've ever talked to actually follows.
what they actually want in practice
Which is what?
Instead of becoming frustrated with feminists for not defending mens' rights, why don't we get together and start to demand safer work environments, shorter workdays, less competitive roles, and fewer sacrifices?
We all would benefit from this. It serves the feminist agenda by creating work environments where more women can contribute, and it serves the masculine agenda by creating safer, less demanding work environments for men so that we can spend more time not working. I fail to see how this is a bad thing.
If someone wants to work 60 hour weeks to make the most of things, forcing their job to be 40 hours just makes them pick up a less lucrative side hustle with their free time. Or if their risky job is made too safe, the risk premium disappears and in order to collect it they must retrain if able.
And then if you look at the US census data on occupations by gender, you can easily notice a trend in which jobs have what gender ratios. Roughly speaking it's something like "if the pay and requirements are equivalent, which is a more preferable job" often lands on female dominated fields.
Education, training, and library occupations: 73.1% female
Healthcare support occupations: 86.5%
Law enforcement workers including supervisors: 19.7%
Office and administrative support occupations: 70.8%
Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations: 5.1%
Production, transportation, and material moving occupations: 22.8%
The one big outlier to this pattern that I noticed was "Computer, engineering, and science occupations" at 25.7%. This also is a considerable category outlier in terms of skill requirements and competitiveness. "Management occupations" seems like it should also have some of this effect but to a lesser degree, and sits at 40.3%.
Source: American Community Survey, table S2401
Another interesting tidbit is comparing S2401 with S2402 - comparing all workers with only full-time year-round ones. I haven't done a full look, but one thing that jumped out at me is that excluding part-time or part-year workers drops the overall workforce percentage from 47.5% to 43.1%. It might be confounded somewhat by school teachers being considered "part year" and mostly women, though.
“Roughly speaking it's something like "if the pay and requirements are equivalent, which is a more preferable job" often lands on female dominated fields.”
Could you explain what you mean by a preferable job? Because I think an office administrative job probably sucks a ton of dick. Education also broadly sucks as a career, especially given the political climate. Healthcare support super duper sucks, but the only healthcare support I know about is those assistants for the elderly which involves a lot of really unpleasant work, or nursing which is also really unpleasant and involves stuff like cleaning up vomit and shit.
It's a desk job that gets you home at a consistent time, and requires little specialized training. It's got sucky aspects, sure, but at that level of candidate competitiveness it beats out a lot of other choices.
It's got a ton of extrinsic social reward in it. People like and respect teachers, and you get to see the result of your work when your students do well.
Again, lots of extrinsic social reward. The people you care for get better and appreciate you, and you're part of the mission to help people get better. Keep the unpleasant cleaning and remove the thankfulness and you get janitorial work, which is male dominated.
In other words, he is a libertarian type, that doesn't support the welfare state, and by extension doesn't support requiring employers to offer maternity and paternity leave.
He has also argued that Scandinavia is doing well due to the free markets, in spite of its social policy, in his book Scandinavian Unexceptionalism.
PS - Just trying to give some context. "Nordic Gender Equality Paradox" isn't an apolitical academic study, it is a book trying to push a certain political agenda.
In fact those times when your ideology does not line up with scientific results are precisely when you should sit up and take notice that perhaps your ideology is failing you.
You downvoted because you either didn't read the comment I responded to or didn't read my own in the context for which it was given.
Nima Sanandaji isn't a researcher and doesn't product academic, scientific, or sociological research. He's a political commentator who writes books and produces opinion pieces for political think-tanks.
They can't tell you why preferences are different. It is all implied. A much more straight forward explanation is that developed countries have long histories. To become developed you need to have developed industries for a long time without too many wars. The idea that the preference of Indian women, were many industries are being developed as they get into job market, is remotely comparable to the preference of Swedish women were industries have already been developed for centuries isn't credible. It simply isn't an equal comparison. Yet, that is exactly what people are drawing these conclusions from.
The second doesn't follow from the first. I generally support the welfare state, but I don't think that employers should pay for it directly; doing so significantly hinders smaller companies where a single ill/pregnant/vacationing person can cause a serious productivity disruption (especially if unplanned), even if they don't have to pay for it! Instead, I think the society/government should pay for social security, via taxes, that way it works like a very distributed insurance policy.
Download is near the bottom of the page. PDF here: http://nordicparadox.se/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/The-Nordi...
Those countries introduced equality systems because the imbalance.
Now of course those same countries with the imbalance have those introduced systems.
It's odd though how so often this "traditional" viewpoint is eager to suggest, "These are the preferences of women and their outcomes," when it's suggested women result in a net disadvantage, but is a crisis when men see these outcomes.
An excellent example of this is how a 6-10% wage gap is considered an acceptable outcome of biological differences and choice, but a 10% average difference in primary education among young men is a crisis, with multiple think tanks suggesting society caters too much to young women and that being a young man is "a liability."
This position is so common you can find it represented internationally in both the US and several European nations. It shows up in think tank materials like PraegerU videos and on America's Fox news.
In the context of the paper at hand, it seems particularly poignant how much effort goes to making one case but not the other.
I don't know how a PragerU video convinced you that this is considered a crisis outside the right-leaning think tanks but I haven't heard a single soul talk about it outside that sphere. It's easy to prop up what a political opponent labels important as something a lot of people care about but I certainly don't see this issue come up in entertainment or the public sphere at all yet the wage gap shows up everywhere.
I am fairly sure some of the audience here is acutely aware of this line of thinking. Note, for example, how many people are assuming I'm talking about the more common complaint of college statistics. I never once mentioned college or university. They think they know the argument I'm presenting even though I used language that in fact didn't present this population at all. The majority of respondents to my post have read into the argument, because they're aware of a variant of it, and have filled in the perceived gaps.
More to the point, you were responding to a comment that had already introduced the caveat "outside of right wing circles," thereby rendering your observation a bit redundant.
2. "Outside of the political block with control of 2/3 of your government and an unpredictable split on the remaining third" is an absurd restriction to place on me for this conversation. Of course I ignored it. It was a disingenuous attempt to exclude politics from a subthread I had started specifically about government policies.
That's just so wrong... (1) it's not that 10% wage gap is considered an acceptable outcome, it's that wage gap (as a sexist discrimination) is a bogus concept in itself - obviously people with better/worse education, more/less experience that spend more/less time working are going to be paid more/less - e.g. noone complains about the much greater wage gap between old and young workers; (2) 10% education gap is a problem, just like it was a problem when less women went to school compared to men... and even that's mainly a problem because for a society it's beneficial to have highly-educated people, so it's worth considering the possibility that we're actually doing something "wrong" when it comes to education everyone and that maybe we could be doing something better (especially given that it's generally accepted that there is no difference in intelligence between the sexes).
(2) Tom, to be crystal clear: I think both dismissals are equally bad things to do. My point is that people, you included by the look of it, will suggest it is natural to see differences when said differences disadvantage women. But if a similarly important disadvantage befalls men, it is "a problem" which implies it must be corrected.
Why can't both things be bad?
So, nobody is suggesting that wage gaps are fake. They're asserting it as undisputable fact. Find a place where men and women of equal experience, time at work and so on are being paid differently because of their gender and you have an easy lawsuit on your hands. In practice this doesn't happen because such discrimination doesn't happen.
Women nonetheless earn less because of choices they make, like choosing to work in HR instead of software engineering. This is not a crisis.
Re: (2) you seem to be cherry picking. It's been shown that female primary school school teachers are biased towards girls and some researchers have even started suggesting that this is partly responsible for increased female grades over time. Regardless, virtually nobody is claiming the total and absolute dominance of women in primary-age teaching is a crisis or a problem that needs solving. In fact it's trivial to find cases where men appear to be disadvantaged relative to women and there's absolute silence from the media, from politicians, etc.
There are hundreds to thousands of such lawsuits every year. And within a month of California rolling back forced arbitration, more popped up. Including 2 high profile class action lawsuits.
Maybe instead of listening to a man who thinks synonyms are clever life advice, you should research the actual subject. Comments like this suggest you don't have any understanding of the subject at all.
Why can't we require all employers to disclose, if not to the public then at least to all employees, contractors, and associates, everyone's compensation information? Why do we allow this information to be private?
I've talked to a few people who are "woke" but when I bring up transparency, almost everyone balks. Almost everyone thinks they are above average when it comes to salary negotiation but I don't know why they prefer to drive blindfolded.
They say things like privacy but salary is public information for public sector employees.
It only has one in the last three years. Moreover, a quick news search for 'gender pay discrimination lawsuit' shows that most news articles discussing such things are actually more about #metoo / sexual harrassment stuff and always only allegations, it's much harder to find reports of actual findings of systematic discrimination. And in the rare cases it has happened, it's always arguable because the jobs are usually not directly comparable e.g. high level executives where personal performance can vary wildly and people are comparing across quite different jobs but claiming they're equal.
Your reply doesn't give me any new information to work with, and my own experiences and checks says this doesn't happen. In cases where men are getting paid more than women, it's usually because they're being more effective, not because their boss explicitly decided women should get paid less.
So I'm not sure I could possibly agree with your assertion as written.
You're comparing a difference in wages to a difference in population. The maximum range of a population difference is 100%, e.g. 0% of men go to college and 100% of women, which would be a scandalously large difference. The maximum range of a wage difference is arbitrarily large, e.g. a $200,000 doctor makes 1000% of what a $20,000 fast food worker does and that is not at all unexpected. It isn't even maximally large of the differences that exist in practice -- compare the compensation of Fortune 500 CEOs with part time migrant workers.
Moreover, if you want to see a large difference, what's with the gender balance in the prison population?
This is not actually correct (and in fact, I'm not talking about college and these numbers are not correct for college participation!), but even if it were, we can formulate wage problems in terms of populations.
> Moreover, if you want to see a large difference, what's with the gender balance in the prison population?
And it's a popular argument among MRAs, literally headlining much of their materials, that women receive much better treatment in the prison system than men. This is just another example of my argument: it's a problem if there is a bad outcome for men. It's not a problem if there is a bad outcome for women, it's "choice."
But then the numbers are completely different. If you look at something like gender balance at the 20th or 30th percentile income level for full time employees, there are more men at those below-median income levels than women. Then men are underrepresented around the middle, but women are highly underrepresented at the top. The people making millions or hundreds of millions a year bring the male average way up but that does nothing for the bottom 90+% of men who on average are actually making less than the average woman.
> This is just another example of my argument: it's a problem if there is a bad outcome for men. It's not a problem if there is a bad outcome for women, it's "choice."
The argument is that there should be consistency. If it's a problem in one case then it should be a problem in every case. We have laws against employer sex discrimination and a slew of programs to try to help women advance their careers. The wage gap is smaller now than it was 20 years ago, and smaller 20 years ago than it was 40 years ago. What analogous thing is actually being done to keep men out of prison? What progress has been made there?
You're also apparently claiming that going to prison is a choice in the same way that choosing a profession is. There is theoretically a choice whether to commit a crime or not, but in the Three Felonies a Day sense there isn't, and committing a crime is demonstrably not a prerequisite to going to prison anyway.
This is an excellent deflection, and it's also a relatively recent phenomenon. A surge in health care worker requirements which involve a lot of traditionally gendered roles has caused this outcome.
If you control for that, this effect is substantially less pronounced.
> The people making millions or hundreds of millions a year bring the male average way up but that does nothing for the bottom 90+% of men who on average are actually making less than the average woman.
And once again, we get to a phrasing of the problem that implies that it's a problem when men are at a disadvantage but inevitable when a woman is at a disadvantage.
> The argument is that there should be consistency. If it's a problem in one case then it should be a problem in every case. We have laws against employer sex discrimination and a slew of programs to try to help women advance their careers. The wage gap is smaller now than it was 20 years ago, and smaller 20 years ago than it was 40 years ago.
And these laws are largely toothless because of forced arbitration and Non-disparage agreements. The month California nullified these, a flood of class action lawsuits against major employers opened up. New York is considering such a law as well. I wonder if other states will have the courage to actually let the law come into play>
> What analogous thing is actually being done to keep men out of prison? What progress has been made there?
This is a common MRA talking point I encounter. I absolutely agree with you that incarceration rates are absurd and dehumanizing. It's a travesty of justice and in many cases a systemic attack on citizen's rights. This does not have any bearing on our current conversation, and we as a society _MUST_ be able to pursue more than one social justice issue at a time.
> You're also apparently claiming that going to prison is a choice in the same way that choosing a profession is.
No, you did that. I claimed it was the same as doing poorly in primary school. To be clear: I think that argument is as absurd as suggesting that it's strictly women's choices that disadvantage them.
But that's the essence of the disparity. If you controlled for gendered roles, there would be no significant gender wage gap in any direction.
> And once again, we get to a phrasing of the problem that implies that it's a problem when men are at a disadvantage but inevitable when a woman is at a disadvantage.
Once again, the problem is the lack of consistency. If it's a problem that there are more men at the 99th percentile than women then it's a problem that there are more women at the 70th percentile than men. Either they're both problems or neither of them are.
> And these laws are largely toothless because of forced arbitration and Non-disparage agreements.
Something has been causing the wage gap to decline over time.
> The month California nullified these, a flood of class action lawsuits against major employers opened up. New York is considering such a law as well. I wonder if other states will have the courage to actually let the law come into play>
Arbitration agreements became popular when plaintiffs attorneys realized that defending against an unmeritorious lawsuit costs millions of dollars in legal expenses and companies would pay thousands of dollars to avoid paying millions of dollars. Arbitration agreements were a flawed attempt to defend against that practice. Eliminating them eliminates their flaws while reintroducing the problem they were adopted to solve to begin with, so what's your alternative solution for that?
> This is a common MRA talking point I encounter. I absolutely agree with you that incarceration rates are absurd and dehumanizing. It's a travesty of justice and in many cases a systemic attack on citizen's rights. This does not have any bearing on our current conversation, and we as a society _MUST_ be able to pursue more than one social justice issue at a time.
It does have bearing on our current conversation because it's the same issue. If gender imbalances are a problem that needs to be solved then they are a problem across the board regardless of which gender they favor in a particular context and they should be addressed in a consistent way. It is disingenuous to say that we should address imbalances that disfavor women today and imbalances that disfavor men at some indeterminate future date that in practice never comes. Neither or both, not one without the other.
> No, you did that. I claimed it was the same as doing poorly in primary school.
Which is essentially the same thing, when the argument for why boys are doing poorly in primary school is that they're being disciplined too often and disproportionately.
> To be clear: I think that argument is as absurd as suggesting that it's strictly women's choices that disadvantage them.
They are meant to be equally absurd. The point is that there is no universal gender adjustment that always applies in the same direction and with the same magnitude. You can't just average everything together into a scalar value and expect it to be meaningful or usefully inform policy.
If you have 17 male prison inmates, 80 male truck drivers, 100 female medical professionals and 3 male billionaires, just averaging their incomes by gender provides a very distorted picture of what is actually going on.
Only if you ignored them. If you pass out a net economic benefit there is a gap. It's not as big as some stats name, but it's very much there.
Heck, the very study we're discussing asserts these metrics grow!
> Arbitration agreements became popular when plaintiffs attorneys realized that defending against an unmeritorious lawsuit costs millions of dollars in legal expenses and companies would pay thousands of dollars to avoid paying millions of dollars. Arbitration agreements were a flawed attempt to defend against that practice. Eliminating them eliminates their flaws while reintroducing the problem they were adopted to solve to begin with, so what's your alternative solution for that?
This wasn't ever really a problem to begin with. Forced arbitration is always worse for the workers and it's good that it's gone. They're as unethical as non-disparage agreements and no-competes.
> It does have bearing on our current conversation because it's the same issue. If gender imbalances are a problem that needs to be solved then they are a problem across the board regardless of which gender they favor in a particular context and they should be addressed in a consistent way. It is disingenuous to say that we should address imbalances that disfavor women today and imbalances that disfavor men at some indeterminate future date that in practice never comes. Neither or both, not one without the other.
Then treat them as such. Stop making excuses for one but not the other. I'm the one saying either both phenomenon need to be examined for systemic influence factors. You can't simultaneously dismiss one problem as "choice" and the other as "a problem" and retain any integrity.
> Which is essentially the same thing, when the argument for why boys are doing poorly in primary school is that they're being disciplined too often and disproportionately.
The stats I was quoting do not imply this. I've not heard boy children are disciplined in school more than girls.
> If you have 17 male prison inmates, 80 male truck drivers, 100 female medical professionals and 3 male billionaires, just averaging their incomes by gender provides a very distorted picture of what is actually going on.
Personally, I don't believe you're accidentally ignoring the number of women engaged in the strenuous but uncompensated labor of homemaking who are conveniently stricken from such discussions but if considered along with male homemakers destroy the average you're distribution you're attempting to describe.
Pay gap after controlling for occupation is 2%. This is statistical margin of error territory.
> Heck, the very study we're discussing asserts these metrics grow!
...when you give women more choices. What do you propose, stop offering free childcare etc. in the hopes that it causes more women to choose a career over having children?
> This wasn't ever really a problem to begin with.
Litigious trolls and wasting millions of dollars on unmeritorious litigation is an actual problem that actually happens.
> I'm the one saying either both phenomenon need to be examined for systemic influence factors. You can't simultaneously dismiss one problem as "choice" and the other as "a problem" and retain any integrity.
Who is claiming that? People argue that each thing could be true, but who is arguing that it's true for women and not men?
There is a valid conditional argument that goes like this. a) It's a result of choices, therefore not a problem. b) If you don't accept a) and continue to believe that it's a problem for women, then it's also a problem for men in the same way.
That is no inconsistent state there. If a) is true then it isn't a problem for either gender, if b) is true then it is a problem for both genders. At no point is it true for one gender but not the other.
Moreover, what seems to actually happen is that people say it's a problem for women and move to take steps against it without even considering that it could be a problem for men, and then no steps are taken against the problem for men. And if someone points that out, they get called inconsistent even though what they're asking for is consistency.
> The stats I was quoting do not imply this. I've not heard boy children are disciplined in school more than girls.
> Personally, I don't believe you're accidentally ignoring the number of women engaged in the strenuous but uncompensated labor of homemaking who are conveniently stricken from such discussions but if considered along with male homemakers destroy the average you're distribution you're attempting to describe.
Only if you assign a value of zero to the homemaking work, which is obviously unreasonable. The homemaker's household is the "employer", but because the "employer" and "employee" share finances, the credit and the debit both go to the same account and cancel out. That isn't the same as being uncompensated. If the work was uncompensated there would be an outstanding balance at the end. It's like how a programmer who writes software for personal use is neither getting it for free nor working for nothing -- the cost is in labor and the payment is in software.
And in addition to receiving the value of the homemaking services, the household also has the benefit of not paying any of the taxes that would be owed if the same labor was performed on the books, and not pushing the household's tax return into the higher tax brackets.
So what's the market value of a 24/7/365 on-call polymath with a job description requiring them to do absolutely anything that comes up? (There's a reason families can only afford it when the other spouse makes a lot of money.)
That's actually a discredited stat, but a persistent 2% discrepancy is definitionally not an error as you so slyly present here.
> Litigious trolls and wasting millions of dollars on unmeritorious litigation is an actual problem that actually happens.
So do meteor strikes on datacenters. It's not worth actually fortifying your roof; it won't make a difference anyways. Arbitration is a bad rule, it's an anti-worker rule, it's bad for the tech industry, and it's also a very expensive expectation for small companies to try and support.
If you think it's a net win, you're either siding very strongly with large corporations in exclusion of everyone else or you haven't actually examined the financials of a small tech business.
> Moreover, what seems to actually happen is that people say it's a problem for women and move to take steps against it without even considering that it could be a problem for men, and then no steps are taken against the problem for men. And if someone points that out, they get called inconsistent even though what they're asking for is consistency.
If the problem is, "Now men have less systemic power and advantage" then no, you shouldn't expect payback for that. I thought folks were all in for the meritocracy here.
> Only if you assign a value of zero to the homemaking work, which is obviously unreasonable. The homemaker's household is the "employer", but because the "employer" and "employee" share finances, the credit and the debit both go to the same account and cancel out. That isn't the same as being uncompensated. If the work was uncompensated there would be an outstanding balance at the end. It's like how a programmer who writes software for personal use is neither getting it for free nor working for nothing -- the cost is in labor and the payment is in software.
This is an absolutely absurd argument. Not only do your prior salary distribution arguments ignore homemakers, you now reveal they do so on pure sophistry. You cannot eat cancelled debt, children are not clothed on those ideas. And women shouldn't be entirely beholden to their households for life.
If women end up with no money in pocket at the end of the day for what everyone agrees is difficult work with long hours, but then you IGNORE them in your salary distributions to say, "Why can't we focus more on how men feel about all this," that makes you look pretty misogynistic.
> And in addition to receiving the value of the homemaking services, the household also has the benefit of not paying any of the taxes that would be owed if the same labor was performed on the books, and not pushing the household's tax return into the higher tax brackets.
You are speaking as someone who has not run the numbers. Even modest minimum wage would radically outperform your minuscule tax benefits here. And again, I note that you only speak to "the household" and not to the actual individual women, a tic in your prose suggesting exactly the scenario you're envisioning and how women must struggle to successfully escape it should they feel the need to.
> So what's the market value of a 24/7/365 on-call polymath with a job description requiring them to do absolutely anything that comes up? (There's a reason families can only afford it when the other spouse makes a lot of money.)
Why don't we require private interests that benefit from this essential labor to fund a reasonable working wage for this then? I am genuinely all for this. And then suddenly your aforementioned male salary woes become very prominent in the distributions, and women aren't compelled to stay with abusive partners because they don't have the resources to leave. We can focus on your evidently very urgent problems, and women get compensated fairly and may freely choose how to apply that (taxed, surely) compensation to their household.
No one disagrees on the societal benefits of strong parental involvement in childhood development. No one disagrees that this has a powerful effect on local, state and national economics. This is perhaps the single most unquestioned axiom in the politics of the developed world! The only question, raised here and elsewhere, is how equitable the arrangement is to women.
I am glad you used the more accurate numbers of 7-10% in terms of male/female pay. From my perspective, the innate differences between the sexes explains this gap quite well: men are motivated from a very young age, in addition to their general biological proclivity towards competition, to seek approval through public acts to gain status; women are motivated from a very young age, in addition to their general biological proclivity towards hording value, to seek influence through private acts to gain status. There are plenty of specific examples that run contrary to my assertion, but in general, men seem adapted to the corporate system which would lead one to expect them to dominate therein. Regardless of classical dominance hierarchy, there is massive combined interest actively working to inject as many females as possible into high paying, white collar jobs.
In terms of higher education, the decrease in male participation is a significant problem because male participation in higher education was tenuous at best even before female inclusion began. Though higher education was indeed a "boys club," it was a very small club. Just because it was "all" male does not extend it into being "all male." The moment the gates opened for females, they took over the majority in public universities within a decade. They continue to dominate in education to this day. Metaphor is a dangerous game, but I think one should worry more about bad students getting worse than good students getting more attention.
In my opinion you make a very salient point about the difference in the reaction of people to the two problems. I see them as similar because both endeavours (more females in corporate && more males in education) are fighting both a biological tendency as well as cultural norms, no simple task in a world of consensus, and I don't have to elaborate and how very far away from that we are.
"Well we made policies and they didn't do what we expected, therefore women are making choices!" seems to me (with an American bias perhaps) to be a failure in the design or implementation of the policies, rather than immediately blaming women.
I'm surprised how credulously people engage these policies
Second, I don't think anyone is blaming women here. Choosing (or being pressured by the environment) to have more 'gendered' (whatever that means) career path is not necessarily a bad thing.
It can become a bad thing if it hinders opportunity, but not before
An awful lot of women have negative things to say about that situation, so maybe I should just quote them?
I don't think I am falling back on the "other side" here. I'm pointing out that the effectiveness of these measures seems quite low according to the data. It's odd to assume that the entire effect is therefore determined uniquely by "women's choice." Is there evidence of that?
It's one thing to say, "Keep an open mind." It's another to hedge off what's at least an equally likely scenario from discussion at all, which with the flood of downvotes I'm getting certainly seems like what's happening to me
No ... the data shows that there is actually more equal opportunity, and yet there is gender divergence.
The objective was never to 'equalize choices or outcomes' in fields - it was to provide access and opportunity, which is happening.
It would be really, really hard to argue against the flood of data points indicating women have considerably greater choice, flexibility and support especially in places like Sweden ... and then to have women doing different things, highlights the apparent paradox.
Actually, it shows that there are more of these "opportunity metrics." But we need to ask how reflective of reality these metrics actually are, don't we? If the metrics are bad, that's also another explanation of this "paradox." If someone says, "equal time for paternity and maternity should cause this outcome", but it didn't... well... then we need to examine every reason why that might be? It could be that the law is counterproductive, that men are choosing not to exercise rights, that women are choosing to exercise their rights differently, or that the measures themselves were not actually effective (either by not addressing root causes, or by not actually being deployed effectively).
Why is this question controversial?
After my long while on this planet, I'm of the inclination that gender is existential and that only a huge degree of social coercion would lead to some kind of equal outcomes.
In other words, the data I think agrees with many people's intuition, and that the continued quest to fix outcomes is maybe kind of more ideological than not.
As you point out, there are other ways to look at it, and surely we could dig deeper on this ... but we have a number of studies that are pointing towards the same thing.
I think we're probably going to have to accept that the world is gendered, and that this will mean some deviations here and there from a specific kind of aesthetic egalitarian which is neither possible, nor in the case of most people I think even aspirational.
I think most fields that women want to actually break into, they'll be able to do that in sufficient capacity even if it's not 50/50. But I also believe that in 100 years, the vast majority carpenters will still be men, that women will still be choosing to be primary caregivers to children more of then than men, and that we'll probably still be arguing about this.
I'm curious: do you know what these metrics actually are? Have you investigated how they are defined or what they're measuring? If so, do you find them sufficient? I ask out of genuine curiosity, because I'm having a lot of trouble fidning metrics that are not ad hoc or that don't have a lot of tricky assumptions about household income.
> I think we're probably going to have to accept that the world is gendered, and that this will mean some deviations here and there from a specific kind of aesthetic egalitarian which is neither possible, nor in the case of most people I think even aspirational.
One of the reasons I'm making a point of objecting to this is that folks like you are essentially reading this as a confirmation of a whole host of biases, which will subsequently (and have historically) been used to disadvantage a bunch of people. There isn't a question if "the world is gendered." In fact, the only people who assert this are in fact trans-exclusionary radical feminists and they're quite radical indeed.
So the question is not, "Is the world gendered?" But, "Are the measures we're taking sufficient to assure that talented individuals in any given field are not unduly coerced by social pressure to give up that work."
> I think most fields that women want to actually break into, they'll be able to do that in sufficient capacity even if it's not 50/50. But I also believe that in 100 years, the vast majority carpenters will still be men, that women will still be choosing to be primary caregivers to children more of then than men, and that we'll probably still be arguing about this.
This does seem like a significant simplification of the argument at hand. It's somewhat misleading as it stands to suggest that we should actually see 50/50 splits, and again in fact very few people suggest this. They suggest that systemic biases actually impact a variety of people to coerce their behavior in order to cater to these patterns. For example, women are multiply penalized by their choice to have childbirth, and men face systemic disadvantages if they want to be primary caretakers.
I'm not sure who you're retorting with this, but it isn't a common sentiment that the world is not gendered, just that gender is more nuanced than folks like to admit. I don't think anyone genuinely expects to see 50/50 splits in every profession, but we might expect to see more than 0.05% representation in boardrooms while also facing a storm of controversy about how male executives receive millions of dollars for sexually harassing women and abusing their power over other people's jobs.
I don't think anyone is claiming choice is the "entire effect" but I do think there is evidence that choice is the overwhelming effect. Let me ask this, do the women you know complain about an under-representation of women working at Discount Tire or in the field of Underwater Welding?
In America, during WWII a large number of women went into these types of occupations because of war time necessity and they showed they could perform the required duties just fine. But after the war most returned to traditional domestic roles. Are you saying that was not, by and large, their choice?
People are trying to have an open discussion here, and I agree that we should keep as open a mind as possible. Part of that precludes the notion of falling back into another ideology, which the parent to this comment is warning about. They are not blaming you of doing it, just warning.
There exists many theories as to why this is happening, we should identify the data we have and determine the most plausible theories based on evidence and research. That's the only rational way forward.
I'm quite tired of being warned of drawing conclusions I did not draw, while taking 10-15 karma point penalties. From my perspective, I'm receiving overwhelming feedback that even questioning these programs at the level of efficacy is unwanted and I should be silenced.
I can't really work out how these votes are actually reflective of a disruptive presence in the conversation, unless the idea is to avoid asking that question in any capacity.
> There exists many theories as to why this is happening, we should identify the data we have and determine the most plausible theories based on evidence and research. That's the only rational way forward.
Then I find your response to be disappointing. If the goal is an open debate, shouldn't we actually question these base assertions that underly and inform the statistical machinery of the study?
In fact you asserted that point quite strongly, and the reply was to the effect: "It's possible, but lets not just assume, since many people are already doing that"
At which point you double-down on defending your original position with no data, instead pressuring the commenter to provide you evidence.
You are not being downvoted for having an opinion, you are being downvoted for how you go about having your opinion.
Can you count the number of other people in this entire discussion asking the same question? For awhile, I think I was the only one!
It's quite obvious to me that you and others do not want to even enterain these questions, to the point where you're offended and candidly talking about disagree-by-doenvote for considering a fairly obvious question.
This is a discussion forum. But you're not pointing to a way in which I was hurting the discussion. You're talking about muting my questions using downvotes because you find the idea of considering them as a tough experiment offensive.
>Well, I don't agree with that at all.
That's fine, But that's how I saw it and how others probably saw it so I was providing insight. It's my subjective opinion and you don't really get to decide that I was wrong. I would advise choosing your words better if you think you were misunderstood.
>I'm surprised by the lack of skepticism towards the policies themselves.
I'm not going to ask for evidence of this because I find it to be condescending. However the reply to your first comment was stating explicitly: "I agree". And, frankly so do I. So that's at least 2 people in this thread alone.
> Can you count the number of other people in this entire discussion asking the same question?
None when you originally posted, again, that you brought up the topic is not a problem. The response was just a warning that there are people who wish to throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to this.
The response should be not: "I seriously question the validity of all metrics." it should be "How do we define what metrics work" and "this metric is broken because it doesn't account for <x>". Unless you disagree, in which case I'm curious to know why.
>It's quite obvious to me that you and others do not want to even enterain[sic] these questions
Very happy to entertain these questions, but they're not presented that way in your reply. Somehow it seems you got offended of being branded something you weren't (which, I too get frustrated with) and replied in a tone which was not entertaining the question, merely deriding those who would not tell you exactly what you wanted to hear.
>to the point where you're offended and candidly talking about disagree-by-doenvote for considering a fairly obvious question.
I commented explaining _exactly_ why I downvoted you. I didn't disagree. Your tone was not conducive to a discussion, merely sowing derision on those who would not tell you that all metrics are bad. This is not how you discuss. How you discuss is by saying "These specific metrics are bad due to <x>." or "What are the metrics by which we measure?" NOT "Well, if it's the case that the more 'equal' we are the more unequal we become is; then all the metrics are bad" because the latter reeks of ignorance and while that's fine as an opening question it does not hold up if that's all your follow up comments are concerning.
I can't tell you how _not_ offended I am. Just take my word for the fact that I couldn't really give a shit, I'm here to have my world view opened up not force my opinions down anyones throats.. unless it comes to systemd. I get offended by systemd.
>This is a discussion forum
Exactly, so let's have a discussion and not beat each other over the head with accusations and a lack of research. This goes for all of us and it includes you.
This is an extremely normal thing for a person who is not mad and not offended to write. Your self-imposed nihilistic stoicism is cracking.
You're mad because you don't find my tone sufficiently deferential. I don't mind.
I my estimation, my mistake was engaging you further at all. You basically admitted to rules violation for downvotes and then defended it as saying, "You were not sufficiently receptive to my backhanded agreement."
But that's an unreasonable expectation. I don't expect you to understand why that is. Just like I don't expect you to understand what usecases systemd is actually dramatically superior for.
In the interests of the integrity of this forum and in not wasting our time further, I'm going to use a user script I have to block further posts by you for 3 months. Perhaps next time we engage each other it'll be over less of a life-or-death issue, and I can approach it with an attitude you find less frustrating. Thank you for your time, all the same.
This behaviour is pathetic. Please do not treat people like this in real life.
And if it has happened, how would 'systems not working well' make it a paradox?
I thought dressing well and being pretty would get me a happy marriage. It didn't. I thought having a nice home would get me a satisfactory social life. It didn't.
I liked being a mom and I liked being home with my kids, but a lot of the rest of it wasn't really what I expected or wanted.
I spent a lot of years pursuing some mirage where I thought X would get me Y and being disappointed. I also spent those years sorting out why my life didn't work and resolving a lot of issues.
There are ways in which I'm very stereotypically feminine and have a history of reading to others as very feminine. But I actually don't enjoy cooking, never learned to sew or crochet or similar, etc.
I've worked hard at sorting this for myself so my life can stop making me crazy. It tends to be a lot of drama when I try to comment on it. No matter how carefully I say "X research resonated with me personally and was useful for me personally in making my life work better," inevitably other people will jump up and say (in essence) "Well, that isn't true for me and you are evil and bad and wrong for saying this is true for women generally and you don't represent me!!!!!" type nonsense.
It's insane amounts of drama that is essentially unrelated to whatever I actually said and it makes it nigh impossible to have any kind of meaningful discussion.
I think some of what I've learned over the years does generalize. But I am increasingly reluctant to try to say anything about such because that's even more drama than saying "X made sense for me as an individual trying to sort my own life."
Based on those experiences, the odds seem long against there ever being research that really seriously sorts this for "the world."
This is most of us, most of the time, in most endeavours, and I don't think it's a gender thing.
I still wish folks would stay over more often, though.
Your detractors are engaging in the No True Scotsman fallacy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman One of the issues is that identity is, for most, a very emotional construct and anything which threatens that will illicit an emotional threat response - anger, lashing out, attacking. The best response is to, as much as possible, simply ignore those responses and continue doing what you'd like to do - the same as researchers will hopefully continue to do. In old adage form - "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink."
But perhaps that isn't really an argument for not simply ignoring them. It's just the reason I have tended to not go that route historically.
Also: Hell is other people.
Replicating the nice dining table and means to allow for overnight guests failed to magically cause guests to appear. I never figured out what piece of the puzzle I was missing. My mother put a lot of emphasis on being able to serve her guests and make them comfortable and she was always surrounded by adoring friends and relatives. I tried to do the same. Somehow, that didn't get me a lively social life.
You might then be interested in doing some research on the 60s term "vibes". It could be that it was your mother's vibes, more than the house decor, which must have made her socially attractive.
But yea I see what you are saying in essence. It has been part of your "social conditioning" (if we do X we get Y). In (traditional) India, one stellar example of the male social conditioning is that "if I get a good paying job, I'll get a pretty wife".
That said, modern generations are more about going out and doing things in short social engagements. People 'feel' very busy, and the idea of an overnight stay may be too much commitment for someone that doesn't feel they have a strong friendship with you.
I'm right there with you. People are much different than they used to be; it's normal now to not even know your neighbors, let alone talk with them. I've had people decline dinner invitations, and former friends outright ignore my messages. I mean, I hope I'm not the problem but the thought crosses my mind. It sucks, especially if you want those relationships you saw your parents have but no one else around seems to.
If I am given a true freedom to choose, to decide according to my preferences, what does it matter what is the reason for these preferences? What does it matter, how did I acquire my tastes? They are MY tastes.
Basically because if it is cultural, it may be a form of brainwashing and the expressed preference may actually be something they loathe, but don't feel empowered to reject.
Whether or not you think this matters for purposes of making policy, it matters a whole lot for purposes of an individual figuring out how to create a good life for themselves.
But we can ask them, right? We can ask e.g. nurses and computer programmers whether or not they loathe the choice of their profession. If there is e.g. relatively more computer programmers loathing it than nurses then you have an evidence of culturally pushed preference (towards computer programming, in this case), regardless what the gender ratio in those fields is.
"it matters a whole lot for purposes of an individual figuring out how to create a good life for themselves"
I already responded to that, basically I don't think it matters for an individual: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18381148
For example, if you ask a women in a very poor rural region of India whether she wants to become an engineer, she might value the possibility far less than she would if that career choice was a realistic, valuable option for her in her current situation. Other typical examples would be slaves who prefer to remain slaves because they are not in a position to really imagine life as a free man, women who state that they prefer to wear a Burka, because they have been raised that way, or a peasant in feudal times who would only have very modest aspirations because he could not possibly imagine living the life of a nobleman whose higher rights were given by God.
More generally speaking, the underlying problem is that the so-called "preference satisfaction view" is false.[2: p. 4] That's the idea of classical welfare economics that people prefer what's best for them. As Broome puts it, nobody really believes it, but it forms the basis of many arguments and theorizing.
So you cannot just ask, although surveys can be used as (potentially fallible) indicators.
I mean, when I talk about asking, you can make education part of the asking the question. I am certainly not against more education, like showing what is it like to be engineer.
I might disagree with women who decide willingly to wear burka, or decide to be slaves, even if they have a different choice, but as long as they make it freely, I have to respect that choice.
It seems to me that these problems should be addressed with education first, rather than by imposing someone else's preference on people (which is my main worry here). Therefore, that some rural Indian women might decide differently is not really transferable to decisions made by well-educated women in western postindustrial societies.
So I usually look for common explanation for gender segregation that work both for women and men. 87.4% gender segregation for men and 87.6% for women is rather extreme, but it is also quite obvious that either there is a common cause or a massive coincident that both men and women end up working in mostly single gender work places.
It would appear to be unfalsifiable. If someone is sure they don't want X, and you're telling them they really do want X it's just that they've learned to be pathetic their whole life and now their entire thought process is inferior to yours, that seems not only like pseudo-science but actually a dangerously extreme belief.
You said you don't understand why other people care so much about sorting out what is biological and what is cultural in origin. A few people (me included) engaged you in discussion to explain why other people might desire to get a better handle on this.
I have no idea why you jump from that to some idea that you personally are being expected to do anything for anyone other than let such research exist so that those who do care and need it can find such info.
If it is not, it is a 'terrible', 'terrible' idea to approach gender equality from that angle.
If women and men "are indeed biologically identical in their job preferences" you could argue a good measure for real equality of opportunity would be 50/50 parity across industries. Because given a fair shake everyone would be evenly distributed across all industries (since we have the same preferences).
In a free market system people are going to be pushed into the jobs for which they have the most aptitude (or out of the workforce if their aptitude is too low/lower than machines) regardless of their preferences.
Just assuming that all of these are the equal might hide the actual problem we want to fix. Or might point to asymmetries we might not want to fix.
Of course, the 50/50 gender parity has also a different motivation, trying to address the culturally influenced preference. The argument goes like this: Because of historical reasons, some professions are male dominated. Girls are not interested in these professions because female role models are missing. So if we force the promotion of female role models, this historically created bias will vanish.
I’m assuming you picked coal mining because it’s an example of a dirty, dangerous position in an industry that’s rightfully stigmatised by most modern countries.
If you’re suggesting that we shouldn’t push women into dangerous jobs but it’s okay to push men into them, then I would counter that we should make dangerous jobs safer for everybody and no, there’s no fundamental reason that women should not have the opportunity to work in these industries.
No I didn't suggest this.
My question was not about energy policies. Let's substitute coal miners for waste collectors (colloquially referred to as garbage men, because 99% of them are male), and ask the question again.
Garbage collection is male dominated -- should we push more women into becoming garbage collectors?
On the other hand, ~42% of meat processors are women; that is certainly a dirty, dangerous unfun job.
The real male-dominated industries are lawn care, sewage treatment, and repair and maintenance. Coal mining is too small an industry to report demographics, but mining as a whole is "only" ~88% male.
I honestly don't know where I stand on that. While I absolutely believe that much of the disparity in preference is cultural, I'm apt to believe that some of it is biological. Further, I'm not sure eradicating that cultural bias is beneficial.
* Feminists really do fight for representation in these jobs to the point where one of the largest sexual discrimination lawsuits was brought up by women trying to get into the coal mining industry.
* Women already have significant representation in such jobs and especially in other low wage jobs, such as textile manufacturing (in sweatshops, for instance), nursing, fast food work, oil drilling, childbirthing (and other thankless reproductive labour), janitors/sanitation etc.
* These jobs are generally seen as undesirable anyway, and there isn't a social push for men to enter them. It's expected that with less push for dirty (and trade) jobs in general, there would be less of a liberal feminist push for them too. This is consistent with the fact that second wave feminists argued for any involvement of women in the workplace, even blue collar jobs, but now such activity is less prominent.
* It's a class issue too, and the perceptions, biases and elitist attitudes which prevent entry to such jobs for both men and women have been challened by intersectional and Marxist feminists.
* Part of feminism is challenging essentialist and elitist narratives about women and their capabilities, which managers in such industries cite in arguments against hiring women
 Sean Sayers, "Marxism and Human Nature" discusses this elitism at length as both a gender issue and a class issue
I used the word 'push' because I was responding to a comment which identified 50/50 representation in all occupations as potentially a reasonable goal. It would surely take a big push to achieve gender parity in garbage collection, which is 99% male in the US!
If that's the case, then I see how it could be an attainable goal, but what is the basis of asserting that differing are something undesirable?
Biological differences aren't things we can easily change right now. Skin color or the shape of one's fingernails or the length of one's legs. Some biological things have real world things that go with it. Skin color, for example, could put you at greater risk of skin cancer or a greater risk of low vitamin D. One simply accepts and lives with these things and works with them.
If they are cultural or from nurture, it means that as a society, we can change things. It isn't that your tastes are an issue (mostly), but that society notices that, perhaps, men don't spend as much time with children or that women are doing things differently. In these cases, we can do things like start treating boys and girls more similarly. We can teach them similar things in school. In short, we can change how we nurture and change society (albeit slowly in some cases).
Regardless of whether the differences are biological or not, the real question is are the outcomes they lead to meaningfully bad or debilitating; are women more vulnerable as a result of them (I think they are but I suppose it's debatable). And if they are, should we change the value society assigns these choices so that people who make them have better outcomes, or should we change the people who make the choices (either through force or education or medication). If we are choosing to change the people (I guess we are), then if we find out or even guess that the root cause may be biological, our responsibility is not to shrug and go "well, guess 50% of the population can keep being depressed and poor, it's their choice", it's to find a biological solution people could choose to take to make themselves more suited to society's reward system. Isn't it?
(Obviously the women who already do like programming don't need anything special except for their work environment to stop being more terrible than men's through e.g. harassment by their VPs.)
I am not really sure I buy into "treating boys and girls the same" either. I think what's more important is to give them options (perhaps against their will, to get them outside the comfort zone).
It seems to me that schools already largely do treat everybody the same, even to the point where it is being truly annoying to open-minded individuals. I am not sure it's ideal to treat all kids the same, but rather recognize their individual differences.
For example, my parents sent me to summer camps to learn some outdoor skills. I wasn't very good at it and I didn't enjoyed it as much as I probably should as a stereotypical male. But on the other hand, I think it was right thing to do.
So, if despite these attempts to make me into an expert in wilderness survival, I didn't become one, and rather became computer geek, which was certainly out of fashion at the time, I have serious doubts about the theories that cultural ideas are so influential to the actual behavior of children.
How do you justify the against their will part with your earlier sentiment that you don't understand why people care if its biology or cultural.
If its biological, forcing them outside of their biological comfort zone seems particularly cruel.
In adults, it's different. They should be offered the option and decide for themselves. It is still good thing to do from time to time.
In any case, you need to be sensible as a parent. You shouldn't push children out of their "biological" comfort zone. For example, if a kid is afraid of spiders it is not sensible to push him to have one as a pet. It might be sensible to go to a zoo to see one (among other interesting animals), though.
Gender-based biological differences are subtle enough to not really matter in a summer camp scenario.
Or, to bring up a very timely example: currently there are no legal barriers to coming out as transgender (in the U.S., anyway). I still think it's reasonable to say that people are not "free to choose" to transition, because in many cases they will be ostracized or (legally) discriminated against for it. This is similar to the status of homosexuality (though it is a less direct analogy since there were many more laws explicitly prohibiting homosexuality).
Wait – I thought back then (1950s/60s/maybe 70s), "programming" refered to something more akin to data input, i.e., someone designed a program, and the "programmer" entered that program into the computer's memory, using punch cards or whatever . Later, this activity and the designing of a program was merged and done by a single person, as it is known today.
If this is true, then the mystery is not why women's preferences changed since the 1970s, but why their preferences seem to be different from men's, back then and today.
 You can still find this terminology in the hardware world. For example, storing the bitstream into an FPGA's SRAM or flash cells is called "programming the FPGA", and the little box which is sometimes necessary to do this, is called a "programmer" – which is kind of funny if you think about it.
That's exactly right, "programming" was considered secretarial work, and guess what, pretty much all secretaries were women.
Male engagement in programming exploded with the advent of personal computers in the 80s, and female engagement chugged along at the same growth rate as before.
The "programming as secretarial work" happened in the 50s and 60s which predates this data, so I haven't found a canonical source for that.
It can also be the case that the whole thing is a dynamical system (for example driven by desire to work in a field which already has majority in the same gender), and it somewhat chaotically "oscillates" around the equilibrium. So there really is not an causal explanation as such.
The "woman in programming" example is much better. Woman in programming started declining basically the moment computer games entered the market, since computer games are marketed primarily to males (outside of mobile, but that influence is fairly new). If we just simplify the whole problem to this one influence, woman are not programmers because of the marketing of "children toys". Is that bad, something we have to change? Nobody is really prevented from choosing to do certain freetime activities, to get exerience and motivation. They are just notpushed towards it. Still it leads to an unequal outcome.
Secondly, nowadays, men and women both play games at roughly the same rate (with women playing a little more by some metrics), but that doesn't seem to have improved the chances of women entering the programming industry. What is the explanation for that (besides that it's "new", which isn't really the case anymore)? Like many people, I got into programming as a result of video games--but I find it hard to believe that that alone is responsible for the entirety of the observed difference in behavior.
Finally, what is your explanation for the huge increase in the proportion of women in biology?
It is true that the gender imbalance in gaming has mostly smoothed out, but until that happened the software industry already turned mostly male. And even if nobody intends to erect barriers, in a group that's heavily skewed towards one demographic everything starts to cater towards that demographic, pushing everyone else away. So unsettling the balance once for long enough may be enough to explain where we are today.
>Finally, what is your explanation for the huge increase in the proportion of women in biology?
I honestly have no idea.
I don't know why less girls choose computer science than do boys, but I don't think it can be so heavily linked to gaming. The gaming community is actually sometimes far harsher on girls than the comp sci community, yet girls continue to choose gaming. In the gaming community, a girl is either a "thot" or she beats out every male who plays against her. If you're neither of these things the community still believes you're one of them and will react to you/attack you accordingly, usually defaulting to calling you a "thot".
In comp sci, the barrier is more about socializing. It may be a stereotype but I have noticed that many males in comp sci are the less socially-gifted ones. It is often not possible for a female to join such a group of males because they are scared of her. Other than that, the comp sci world in academia is far less disgusting than the gaming world and far less hostile. It's about avoidance instead of outright attack.
It could just be that girls enjoy programming less than boys do. I'm not saying that's definitely the case, I'm saying it seems more likely than not.
Last week I got to meet my cousin’s daughter for the first time. It was a family dinner and after everyone had eaten she pulled out her barbie dolls to play with. Since I‘ve been on HN for a few years now and this is not the first time I came across this topic I asked my cousin: Why does your daughter play with barbies? Did she choose the barbie doll or where they given to her?
My cousin, confused at first (because remember people: Most people don‘t really care that much about this stuff), answered: I think she chose herself, or maybe grandma gave one to her first.
So this could be it: The little girl might be free to choose as far as her mom is concerned, but is she _actually_ free to choose because she got influenced by her grandma first? Who‘s to say?
I hated them. They were obnoxious, lacked creativity, and smelled weird. I was a very willful child and loud about it, so I obviously refused to use these gifts in any capacity, but I think my refusal to play with toys I didn't like holds true for most children. If your cousin's girl didn't like the Barbie, she probably wouldn't play with it.
The whole point of childhood is having an idea of "I" without having a strong idea of identity so that we have a solid reference point for learning about the world without experiencing the blind spots that ego identities often impose. Consequently, we demand what we want and refuse what we don't want without thought. We rarely make compromises and our needs and wants cannot really be reasoned away by others (because our needs and wants in childhood are more instinctual/subconscious/impulsive than they are logical and experience-based).
I think we are most free to choose in childhood. By adulthood we have developed functioning identities and feel obligated to stay consistent with our idea of self. Many people take portions of their identification from a society's expectation of them, which is when freedom of choice becomes heavily blurred.
I think what is important here is to give children different options. I personally got a lot of toys from my family that I didn't use that much as a kid, most notably sports equipment. Meccano and (later, as it was expensive) Lego on the other hand.. Not to mention computers, that was love on the first sight.
Of course radical feminists reject all this evidence en masse and pretend its all a social construct, which is absolute nonsense.
To add to your rhetorical question of the inability to trace the source of gender preferences, some research on non-human primates was done.
In 2002, a study of vervet monkeys in the UK found male/female preferences for boy/girl toys.
That behavior was independently replicated in 2008 with rhesus monkeys in the USA displaying the same gender preferences.
There were also other studies of human infants displaying gender preferences, and studies showing similar preferences across different cultures and countries.
Those results will probably not change minds on either side because -- the belief that it's mostly nature or belief that it's mostly nurture -- is too ingrained for any evidence to modify.
If one leans towards innate differences, the studies confirm the beliefs.
If one leans toward cultural influences, then the studies are rejected with "monkeys are not humans!" or "who's to say the lab monkeys didn't learn boy/girl toy preferences from the researchers?"
The meta question then becomes: is it even possible to construct a nature/nurture science experiment that can actually convince one side or the other?
(The answer seems to be "no" based on several hundred years of debate on "nature vs nurture" with no final resolution.)
 2002 paper: https://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138(02)00107-1/abst...
 2008 paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2583786/
This brings up all kinds of nature-vs-nurture questions. It also has a nice recursive issue: Those who hold this view (that you should be free to choose your identity, without your culture imprinting one on you): Did their culture imprint that view on them? (Before you say "no", remember that "their culture" may be the university rather than the town they grew up in.)
Yeah, I agree, but I disagree with this notion. I mean, if you, even after hearing this argument, still think you made a free choice, then it seems to me that any attempt to subvert that is making you less free. Who should know better whether some decision is yours than you? It seems to me that this idea really rejects agency in other people, and that's why I find it disingenuous.
As a side note. The current idea of having 50/50 split in ratio of preferences between men and women as correct culturally bears some similarity to old idea that all left-handed people should be taught to be right-handed. Eventually, it was abandoned in favor of personal choice and the question whether it is cultural or biological is no longer relevant.
But isn't this basically what much of life itself is about? To really figure out who you are? Because you are not born into a vacuum but into a number of overlapping human subcultures. And one of the main tasks in life is to figure out who the hell you really are and what you really want, and also how you change over the years. Only then you can find your vision of where you want to continue your life journey onwards.
But that's not what I am talking about. I am talking about society where people do have the free choice, and they are happy with it (or at least in correct proportions). Then these are their genuine preferences, and it shouldn't matter whether they come from the culture or biology.
A gay man in Saudi Arabia who is deeply religious and conform to fundamentalist Islam cultural mores can genuinely believe he is not gay and that god is testing him, or that he is not attracted to his wife, or just not that sexual, while being unhappy and not thinking "if only I could I would have lived as a gay man!".
Culture goes really deep.
Given some tastes lead to less power and riches in our current societal environment. If they are nurtured, it is logical for parents to want to nurture them to more lucrative alternatives.
If they are innate though, it's a waste of time to try and change them. So I feel it is definitly somewhat relevant to know.
My personal suggestion is to assume that biology plays no role and attempt to change yourself to whatever you feel you want to be. I don't think there is any downside really, because it's ultimately the journey not the goal that counts.
The culture make women an object of desire, which increase sexual misconduct toward them. We can change that culture, shouldn't we?
Look at women in the middle east, that's purely cultural. Is it alright?
Culture bring racism, is it alright?
>what does it matter what is the reason for these preferences?
The same way we can fix a bug in a software, we can fix our culture to remove theses faults. Equal opportunities means that there's no fault. We are equals, thus there's no reason for culture to make us different. It's alright for a men to want to raise his family, he shouldn't have to bear the weight of the culture that tell him that it's his wife job to do it.
For example, if girls tend to prefer playing with dolls instead of toy cars, is it nature or nurture? If nature, then maybe there's a biological basis for why less women go into stem. If nurture, then maybe it's society's norms and expectations that explains why women more often go into people-oriented jobs like teaching and nursing.
When you look at it this way, you can see why the difference has political implications.
I am not sure why would I want to do that.
As a leftist (being pro-equality), I don't really want there to be anybody who got a bad deal in society. But why should it matter which group are they part of? It seems chauvinistic to me.
If you don't know if they got a bad deal, you don't even know if there's anything to fix, much less how.
But you can't just ask people that, because people make a whole lot of choices based on what is seen as achievable for them not just by themselves but by society around them irrespective of their personal traits.
And in my opinion, society doesn't ask people enough what they want. I am a big fan of direct democracy, which is pretty much that - asking people what their preferences (about how the society should operate) are.
Unfortunately this belief is not very scientific. The very manner in which you frame the question, even if it is asking the same thing, can get a differing response from the same person.
Also, people are terrible at self assessment. Unsupervised vs supervised dieters are one of the best examples. Even worse are what people think they want. Most people have a very small pool they can think of at any given time on what they want. Most of the time it is being manipulated by outside benefactors, such as advertisers.
> I am not sure why would I want to do that.
> As a leftist (being pro-equality), I don't really want there to be anybody who got a bad deal in society.
I think the issue is that there are very large numbers of people who have gotten a bad deal in society. Investigating every individual, individually, is probably time and cost prohibitive. So investigating by common features across groups of individuals helps to try to maximise that return.
While I think we'd all like to live in that utopia where nobody gets a bad deal in society, it's not the world we inhabit today, not even close.
"I think we'd all like to live in that utopia where nobody gets a bad deal in society"
This is objectively not true. Many people don't care about other people getting bad deal.
Well this is simply not true.
I'm no fan of ballooning populations myself because I'm kind of a misanthrope but resource quanity is not the problem. There is more than enough to feed, clothe and house up to 15 billion people, just not at the same standard as the resource-guzzling United States.
The problem is logistics and political will. That's what we don't have to provide for 10+ billion people.
So be it. It seems more fair to me than some ad hoc chauvinism.
In any case, I don't think the suffering is really required. What is, in your opinion, the lifestyle that is possible to be supported by resources we have for 7 billion people?
Because the individual can't claim oppression as the cause for something like average pay differences when the individual chooses to go into a field that pays less on average.
It weirds me out to find people who believe that these preferences are solely due to cultural pressure. It reeks of ideological blindness to me.
While, sure, you can raise children to be much more willing to challenge gender norms, and you can raise them to not hide or be ashamed of where their personal preferences violate cultural gender norms, every parent I've known that have strongly believed it was all cultural have ended up changing their mind after they've tried their hardest to give their kids gender neutral toys and clothes, or a mix of "boys" and "girls" stuff, and found their kids even at toddler stage gravitate to "typical" boys/girls stuff.
I think it's great they give their kids the choice and don't judge if they pick stuff that doesn't "conform", and I personally find it very annoying how e.g. clothes stores often draw hard lines between boys and girls stuff even when there's not even a half-plausible reason (no, a minecraft t-shirt for a prepubescent child is not gender specific in any way), but at the same time I also personally saw my son express a very strong preference for or against certain things related to gender identity from he was very little, and if we'd tried to push him to ignore that preference we'd be just as bad as parents who push for conformity.
I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but I don't think it proves anything innate in gender either.
Another part of the problem is our language, and the way we think about it. We have a tendency to say "girls prefer this, and boys prefer that" as a short hand for "on average, girls prefer this and boys prefer that". Those two statements are not the same thing at all. Averages don't say anything about how any individual person thinks. This shortcut of language seems to be a big blind spot in people.
Even just hours after being born?
So, for example, in more equal countries there is a higher gender difference in trust and altruism than in less equal countries.
For the countries, they categorised them on a few factors: "we created a Gender
Equality Index as a joint measure of four indices
of gender equality: (i) the Global Gender Gap
Index of the World Economic Forum (WEF), (ii)
the Gender Equality Index of the United Nations
(UN), (iii) the ratio of female to male labor force
participation rates, and (iv) the number of years
since women’s suffrage."