On Carpe Diem there is a posting that references a series of articles on the state of women in the employment figures. Primarily as a result of the disappearance of risk capital, which led to a disappearance of risky, high reward careers, which will not come back (possibly ever) unless risk tolerance returns.
It’s no secret to anyone in Silicon Valley that math, science and technology fields remain dominated by men, despite some progress by women in recent years. Women make up 46% of the American workforce but hold just 25% of the jobs in engineering, technology and science, according to the National Science Foundation. To Sally K. Ride, a former astronaut, that persistent gender gap is a national crisis that will prove to be deeply detrimental to America’s global competitiveness.
Or this one
Why are there so many women veterinarians? In part because educated women are drawn to professions that are providing flexibility to combine work and careers, Harvard University economist Claudia Goldin said in a lecture at the American Economic Association in Atlanta.
The increase of women in various professions since 1970 has been spectacular. But why do highly educated women enter some professions and fields more than others? “Women are 77% of all newly minted veterinarians, but they were a trivial fraction 30 years ago,” she noted.
How about a more obvious answer:
In a free society, people freely pursue their careers of preference. Isn’t that the purpose of a market? To provide for people’s wants and preferences?
Women prefer to empathize with all kinds of animals (human and otherwise) the way men prefer to empathize with tools and abstractions. Women have a higher preference for empathic interactions. Men have a higher preference for tools, abstractions and physical experiences. A predominantly female field (and there is good data for this) becomes a negative status symbol for men. If a field becomes predominantly feminine, ambitious men avoid it. Visible excellence , which is a status symbol for men, is a function of time and specialization.
What is hard to understand about this set of fairly obvious circumstances?
That once women are no longer prohibited from the workplace, that they will dominate the fields of their preference rather than distribute evenly across careers? Men dominate the physical, risky, combative, material, and abstract roles. Because they prefer to, because it increases their status. On the other hand, if we managed by some feat to make dressmaking a masculine status symbol they’d dominate that too. Men certainly dominate the restaurant industry, despite cooking being the dominant specialty of women since the dawn of time.
Empathy is not valuable in objective testing, which is what most technical jobs require. This is NOT true of customer service in technology, consulting with technology, or sales of technology, or administration of technology. It is true ONLY of the craft of technology design, development and experimentation. Empathy is a function of understanding people’s views. Science is the process of objectivtly ignoring those views. These are two ends of a spectrum. Women accuse men of seeing women as objects. but it’s not that they see women as objects, they see the world as objects, because they are tool and object makers.
If women did not have empathy, or the ability to ‘experience’ other people’s emotions, they could not empathize with children it would be impossible for them to be mothers, or to cooperate in groups to raise children, who must learn over very long periods, how to articulate by verbal means, their wants and needs. If men did not empathize with tools, or ‘experience’ tools they would not be able to craft them or sit forever waiting for the one moment in which they must focus all mind and body on thirty seconds of danger. WHile it is possible to train humans to do almost anything, that is not the question free people ask. It is, how to satisfy their wants and preferences. And CETERIS PARIBUS, women, given the opportunity to excel, will do so in fields where they gain most enjoyment – where the empathy of life experience , which to which they are more ‘sensitive’, just as men would most often prefer to empathize with tools and abstractions, to which they are more ‘sensitive’. Doing otherwise is simply illogical. Why would someone pursue his or her weaker perceptions and preferences unless it was of very material benefit to them?
Furthermore, and this is the important question, why should society subsidize women and penalize men, for the fulfillment of women’s’ preferences at the expense of men’s preferences? That’s the real political question here. GIven equal opportunity, if we each choose these things and men choose one set of careers and women another, and if women have a preference for child rearing and men do not, then why should men be penalized, to support child rearing, when the problem that the world faces is overpopulation, not pollution, not global warming, not scarcity of resources, but overpopulation.
There is an ocean of data on this, which is why these silly little surveys about women in technology are ridiculous. Of course women are a minority in technology, because they prefer to be a minority in technology.
Giving women equal legal status, equal political status, and investing in them equally so that they have equal access to THEIR OPPORTUNITIES OF PREFERENCE, all are means by which we ensure that women are not politically, or economically discriminated against. However, it is not an ambition of political equality to engineer equal PREFERENCES among men and women. That would simply be some form of slavery. Society may have an optimum that we can consistently pursue, but
Men and women are unequal. We are unequal in our preferences, and unequal in our abilities, at least at the margins. We are unequal in our rate of development and unequal in our rate of maturation, and unequal in our verbal and spatial reasoning. We are unequal in the physical activity we need. We are unequal in our social development, in that girls learn to care about society by testing and developing expressions of empathy and empathic dominance, and boys to care about society by testing and developing the expression of the physical world, and physical and political dominance. We are unequal in our intelligence distribution, with men over-represented at the margins. While we are equal in productivity in the majority of the work force, because the majority of the work force is clerical and administrative. We are unequal in our ability at the margins of the work force where ability is ether physical or extraordinarily abstract and specialized.
We will not build a society that is durable post the American Empire by assuming that political and opportunity equality should result in career-distribution equality, because career development is a preference among free people. Men and women are not equal in their preferences, and they are very different in meaningful ways. Even small differences like the difference in male and female daily word budgets, or how we relax or experience stress, or how we empathize with people or objects, will simply show up in the distribution.
Fixing a problem of oppression is one thing. Utopianism, Platonism, and social engineering are simply a different form of oppression.
If you want to look at data, then lets get away from this positivism, and back to some causal analysis. There is plenty of data out there. Not the least of which is that no matter how we engineer society, the mating ritual will prevail. And in that mating ritual, women want certain things and men do, and that dance will never change, ever, absent the application of chemistry during the natal process. Again, there is an ocean of data supporting this.
A not insignificant portion of men would prefer to hunt and fish all day, and build things. Another not insignificant portion of men would prefer to hang out on street corners and drink or make tea, or something simple. Another not insignificant portion of men would rather fight, rape, murder and steal, than do an ordinary job if they could get away with it. Plenty of others would be perfectly happy to spend their lives in military service if it tolerated collateral damage. Not all, but many men live painfully dull lives instead simply to participate in the status and mating rituals.
If you change that process, you will not get the utopia that you dream of. Especially if it’s in a heterogenous empire like ours. You will get the Mediterranean, or eastern european, which is that men simply check out of society, and practice corruption, and interpersonal dominance, because they feel society is against their interests. Our men are doing it right now with video games and prescription drugs.
The redistribution of western technology, and western calculative technologies in particular (what we call capitalism), which have been our institutional advantage against other cultures, is eroding that western historical advantage and redistributing production, and and skills worldwide. Capitalism slows birth rates and creates aging populations. Aging populations are less productive, have less military power, and are less capable of maintaining trade routes. Therefore less capable of maintaining a justice system, and less capable of maintaining a dominant currency, and less capable of maintaining social programs that are debt financed. Aside from debt, social insurance programs have been designed not to be funded by saving, but by having the younger generations (which will be smaller, and more likely immigrant, and often from different classes and races who will eventually want political power) pay for the services of the older, rather than having the older lend saved money to the younger, as we have done for all of human history. The role changes that we see, the distribution of jobs, are all temporary functions of the conversion of world society from agrarian cooperative, to urban capitalist. They are minor temporary variations in the ebb and flow of that process of calculative urbanization, and population peak followed by population decline. They do not necessarily represent a trend toward an egalitarian utopia.
If you want to know if men and women are equally productive in the work place then, except at the margins, in similar jobs, they are so. If you want to make sure that women have the same rights as men, that is only sensible. And current legislation would demonstrate tat they have MORE legal rights than do men, just as minorities have special rights against the dominant culture. To the point where, at least, economically, it appears that women now “Marry The State”, and use that state apparatus to extort money from men, replacing the interpersonal violence of man against woman, with the political violence of the state against men. Men are beginning to understand this. All men have a limited advantage over women, because they do not have to bear children or rear them. SOME men have an advantage because it appears that men can more easily specialize and dominate a field than can the same number of women. MOST men have a disadvantage over MOST women, in that they must specialize in some skill inorder to have value in the mating ritual, and that their social status, and access to mates, as well as their possible male alliances, is determined by that specialization.
At some point, lazy statisticians and social science amateurs would do better to study ALL the data and then make determinations, rather than think that some subset of simple ‘vulgar’ statistics are sufficiently informative that they may draw conclusions from them: otherwise it’s not using the scientific method. It’s not even the error of positivism. It’s ignorance and idealism.