Minor Thoughts from me to you

Archives for Women (page 1 / 1)

Some Precaution on Pence’s Precautionary Principles →

On the subject of Vice-President Pence's unwillingness to be alone with women other than his wife, I think Sarah Skwire makes a very good point.

It’s a cliché, but a true one, to note that the real work of many professions gets done at the bar or on quick lunches or dinner grabbed with a colleague, outside the formal constraints of official meetings. When that cliché is true, and to the extent that it is true, precautions like Pence’s, that cut women out from that kind of social interaction, also cut them off from at least one route to success.

Sauce for the Goose

I wonder, then, whether Pence and others who guard themselves in this way would consider extending their prohibitions on such private meetings with opposite gender colleagues to colleagues of the same gender. In other words, if Mike Pence won’t allow himself to meet with female colleagues for a casual private dinner or drink, then perhaps he should consider disallowing interactions like that with male colleagues as well.

I think, at a minimum, that considering that possibility will tell us a lot. If your immediate reaction to that suggestion is to think that it would be unfairly restrictive to men to tell them not to go golfing alone with the Vice President, or join him for an impromptu cheeseburger, or take advantage of a quick trip on a private jet in order to get to know him better and pitch him a few ideas…then maybe that policy is even more unfair when it is applied only to women.

If it is unreasonable to think that a woman’s career is damaged because the VP won’t meet with her privately, then it is unreasonable to think a man’s career would be damaged for the same reason. If it is not unreasonable to think that such restrictions damage a woman’s career, then Pence owes it to his female colleagues and constituents to ensure that their male counterparts don’t have better access to him than they do.

It is, at least, worth thinking about seriously.

A Brief Defense of Man Caves

Carrie Lukas, writing at Acculturated, presents her argument against man caves. She thinks they're a symptom of men who are self-focused children in men's bodies, using their isolation to avoid their responsibilities.

At the basest level, she argues that man caves represent a withdrawal from the shared spaces of the family into an exclusive space for self.

the man cave by its very name announces that it is for me. Whatever happens in the room is merely an artifact of my desires and my personality.

The implication is that the rest of the house—the joint bedroom and the nice kitchen and the kids’ messy quarters and the other TV room—cannot adequately serve me and my precious individuality. (Women, apparently, are not such fragile snowflakes that they need their own room to express themselves. After all, she has the kitchen, right?)

She implies that the entire house is a shared space, reflecting the entire family, and that men aren't satisfied with that. I disagree.

I argue that the entire house is an expression of the woman's aesthetic and interests. The woman puts her mark on the entire house, leaving the man no space to express his own aesthetic and interests. Far from the woman having just the kitchen as her space, you can see her influence throughout the house, including the other TV room, the kids' rooms, and the shared bedroom.

If you don't believe me, ask yourself a few questions. Who chose the color scheme in each of the rooms? Who chose the furniture? Who chose the fittings for the bathrooms and kitchen? Who selected the artwork for the walls? Who decided what is—and isn't—appropriate for each room?

More importantly, who holds the veto over design decisions? Does a man's "I don't think like that" carry the day or is it just an ignorant opinion to be ignored? Conversely, does a man get his choices in spite of the woman's "I don't like that" or does her dislike carry the day?

In my experience, each room of a house expresses the woman's personality and sense of style. Men retreat to man caves because that's the only way they can express their own personalities and see a tangible sign of their own presence in the family.

This entry was tagged. Women

Extract Child Support From Poor Men Who Aren't Fathers →

How is it possible in the Land of the Free that men can face huge fines, revocation of professional licenses, forfeiture of the right to international travel, and sometimes (as in Alexander's case until this week) even jail time, from owing child support to kids that aren't theirs? I wrote a feature about that 11 years ago, entitled "Injustice by Default." Short version:

Governments (and sometimes even hospitals) are financially incentivized to attach paternity to the children of single mothers, particularly those seeking welfare benefits. Departments of Child Support Services will sometimes go on information as flimsy as "Dude with this name living in Southern California"; if a records search turns up only one dude, he will likely be mailed a court summons. That court summons will often be very confusingly written, so that the men don't realize that they are just 30 days away from being declared the father via default judgment. Once you have been named the father, you owe all back child support (sometimes with interest), said support will be garnished from your wages, and it is devilishly hard to get your paternity undeclared, even with DNA proof and sworn affidavits from the mother.

So why don't we hear about this outrage more? Because nobody likes to defend "deadbeat dads," and the people hardest hit are typically poor men who have even less political and media clout than they do access to good lawyers.

Sometimes the modern version of women's rights seems more like making someone—anyone—else pay the bills than it does true equality.

Women: Hardy Equals or Fainting Flowers?

When I was young, before junior high, I strongly believed that women were the weaker sex and that it was up to men to protect them. I believed that women shouldn't fight in the military, that they probably shouldn't engage in the hurly-burly of the working world, and that men should take on all of the physically demanding work leaving women the easier, less physically demanding work.

Through the loving, persistent efforts of a Sunday School teacher and many female friends, I became accustomed to the idea that women were just as hardy as men, just as able to take on any task, just as able to bear any burden, and just as able to engage the world. For the past 15–20 years, I've heard that women are equal to men in any area that they care to be involved in and that men shouldn't treat them any differently from how men treat other men. I thought that being a feminist meant believing that there were few, if any, differences between the genders.

Over the past 2 years, I've run into a different brand of feminists. They tell me that women are horribly discriminated against. They tell me that men are predatory beasts who prey upon women and that it's up to men to protect women from these predators. They tell me that women want to be computer engineers, software designers, scientists, and mathematicians but that the culture in these fields is too toxic for women to endure. They tell me that these fields need to be cleaned up and sanitized before women can feel safe enough to work there.

Now I don't know what to think. Are women strong and resilient like men? Are they hardy, able to live in unpleasant conditions, to clear a space for themselves, and to blaze a trail? Or are they hothouse flowers who need a carefully controlled environment before they can live and thrive? Are women as I was taught: strong, confident, able to defend themselves? Or are women as I first believed: a weaker sex that needs to be protected by the strong sex?

Here's a perfect example of my dilemma. An anonymous women provided this advice on software development: Engaging With Hateful People in Your Community Lends Legitimacy to Their Presence. She's writing in the context of a software development project that takes feedback and contributions from the general public. The words are hers. Any extra emphasis comes from me.

What’s the right way to deal with male supremacists and similar hate groups showing up?

I don’t have a clear answer. What I care most about is that community members are protected.

Here’s my suggestion #1: Don’t engage. It’s better to instantly block that person from the repo and delete their comments.

GitHub’s weaknesses make it not very safe for women and minorities, so if you want those voices heard, avoid the GitHub issue tracker.

By the way: Similar things apply when male supremacists send you reasonable-looking pull requests.

I noticed that this gr.amergr.ate person had sent a small PR to a [my-project] plugin, and the plugin maintainer merged it.

This made me super uncomfortable, and I hope I don’t have to interact with that maintainer, because I really don’t trust their judgment.

When you get a PR from an author whose very name spells hate, then even if the diff looks reasonable, don’t merge it.

This women is arguing that the best way to get women involved in software development is for other people to carefully police the software project, instantly banning commenters and contributors just on the basis of their usernames.

She's not arguing that these contributors have demonstrated harmful behavior and need to be banned on that basis. She's not arguing that these individuals have personally done anything that's even threatening. She's arguing that usernames that represent a community that she doesn't like are themselves a threat and that anyone with such a username should be immediately banned from the software project. Without this, she won't feel safe enough to contribute to the project.

To my ears, this represents a view of women as hothouse flowers that need protection. This isn't something that a strong, confident, assertive, girl power, "hear me roar" woman would write. This is something written by a woman who always needs a fainting couch nearby, a shrinking violet who can't survive in the harsh, uncontrolled environment of the real world.

I'm willing and ready to treat women however they want to be treated. Just, please, make up your minds. Should I censor your mail, only passing along what's safe for you to read? Should I carefully pre-screen your online communities before letting you engage? Should I create special woman-safe zones, carefully monitoring language and behavior for anything indelicate or offensive? Or should I stand back and let you engage the world as equals, trusting that you're strong enough to face whatever comes your way, that you're up to the challenge of engaging the world without a male chaperone?

This entry was tagged. Women

A ‘War on Women’? →

Republican Congressional candidate Martha McSally recently spoke out about the true war on women. Ms. McSally is running for Gabby Giffords' old Congressional seat. Oh, and she's also the first woman to fly a fighter jet into combat.

Obama Overloads a Tale of Equal Pay →

Victoria Toensing explains the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, in the Wall Street Journal.

President Obama makes much of his concern for women's rights, particularly regarding equal pay, but he seems not to be aware that for nearly half a century we have enjoyed the protection of two laws requiring equal pay. The 1963 Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act combined to settle the matter in law.

Mr. Obama brags that the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act bestowed equal-pay rights for women. The act, he has said, "is a big step toward making sure every worker," male and female, "receives equal pay for equal work." No, it was a teensy step. It merely changed how the statute of limitations is calculated.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits wage disparity between men and women who work in the same place and perform jobs that require substantially the same "skill, effort, and responsibility." The statute of limitations for filing suit is two or three years, depending on whether the discriminatory act is intentional.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act covers discriminatory hiring, firing and promotions as well as pay. It requires filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days after an intentional discriminatory act.

Ms. Ledbetter didn't file suit until after her retirement, years after the discrimination ooccurred. The Supreme Court ruled against, stating the law's explicit 180-day statute of limitations.

Statutes of limitation are not technicalities. In Ledbetter, for example, the Supreme Court pointed to the dead witness, stating it is unfair to fail to put an adversary on notice within a specific time period because employers should not have to defend claims far in the past. The court reflected that it does not want to alter congressional deadlines.

In 2009, the Democratic-controlled Congress amended Title VII, allowing a suit to be brought within 180 days of any "discriminatory compensation decision"—in other words, any too-low paycheck. In its legislative "findings," Congress proclaimed that the Ledbetter Supreme Court decision "undermines . . . protections by restricting the time period . . . contrary to the intent of Congress."

So the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was premised on the legislators' pretending that Congress was not responsible for the precise words of its own law setting the 180-day deadline.

The War on Fertility →

I like James Taranto, in the Wall Street Journal, on feminism, fertility, and choice.

"Family planning is good for families," she insists, ignoring the sharp rise in divorce and illegitimacy since 1960, when the Food and Drug Administration approved the pill for contraceptive use. In fairness, maybe she means to make a more modest claim--that for the subset of the population who have been able to form and sustain marriages despite the social dislocations of the past half-century, birth control has on balance been beneficial.

But in any case, why does it so bother Miller that the Romneys, Santorums and Pauls (and also the Palins, whom she mentions in another paragraph) made the choice to have large families? If she cared about choice, she would recognize it's none of her business. But contemporary feminism does not actually value choice, except as a means to an ideological end, which is the obliteration of differences between the sexes. The biggest such difference consists in the distinct and disparate demands that reproduction makes on women. Thus in order to equalize the sexes, it is necessary to discourage fertility. Implicit in contemporary feminism is a normative judgment that having children is bad.

He also takes on the argument that "birth control is cheaper than unwanted babies".

Yes, in the short term, contraception is cheaper than fertility. In the long term, however, a war on fertility is an act of cultural and economic suicide. Today's low fertility is tomorrow's shortage of productive citizens--of the taxpayers who would have to pay for the ever-expanding entitlement state.

This entry was tagged. Family Policy Women

Sandra Fluke and public obligations →

I like the way Jerry Pournelle puts this.

Sandra Fluke’s solution is to demand that taxpayers pay for her contraceptive pills and devices. She can’t afford to have sex because of the risk of pregnancy, and it is up to us to provide her with the wherewithal for contraception. She hasn’t spoken about protection from STD’s but I think it safe to assume she believes we ought to pay for her insurance for treatment of those when they fail. Of course there are contraception means that are also somewhat effective against STD’s, and they are considerably cheaper than the ones Sandra Fluke demands; but apparently the choice of what we pay for is not up to us. Sandra Fluke has a right to indulge in sex when and however she wants, and to the means of contraception that she wants, and it is up to the taxpayers to pay for it.

The real question here is simple: how do you acquire the obligation to pay for Sandra Fluke’s birth control devices and pills? But in the great flap over her virtue that question seems to have been lost.

We need to go back to it. Even if insuring Sandra Fluke’s health is an obligation that the rest of us must assume, when did contraception pills become health insurance? What illness are we preventing? Must we then insure her against being eaten by sharks when she insists on swimming in shark infested waters? Can her life insurance include provisions that she will not be covered if she goes hiking on the Iranian border? Must we pay for any activity that might result in death, dismemberment, pregnancy, etc.?

Leave alone the freedom of religion issue of requiring a Jesuit college to provide contraception. Where did the government get the right to require that we the people pay for anyone’s contraception? How did we acquire that obligation and can we not find some way to be shut of it?

If You Forcibly Take My Money, You Can’t Complain If I Vigorously Protest →

Don Boudreaux writes a letter to the Washington Post, in re Sandra Fluke. I approve this message.

A truly civilized person doesn’t demand that other people pick up the bill for her contraception.  A truly civilized person – especially one who can afford to be a full-time student at a prestigious law school – would refuse any invitation to publicly play the role of a victim wronged by being told to pay for her own pills or condoms.  A truly civilized person does not hold in contempt other people for their resistance to being forced to subsidize his or her ‘lifestyle choices’ (whatever those choices might be).

When someone violates standards of civility – as Ms. Fluke has done by self-righteously (and, frankly, also rather incredibly) insisting that she and her fellow students are grievously harmed by the prospect of having to pay for their own contraception – she should not be surprised when other people violate such standards in response.

This entry was tagged. Drugs Spending Women

War on Women: Equal Pay Edition?

tl;dr: The repeal of Wisconsin's "Equal Pay Act" is much less significant than certain politicians would like you to think it is. And the pay gap overall is much narrower than certain interest groups would like you to believe it is.

A friend of mine linked to this article, from Facebook, upset that Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman isn't concerned about the male-female pay gap. So, I read the article. And, wow. It is very sloppily written.

According to The Daily Beast, “A 2007 study by the American Association of University Women found that college-educated women earn only 80 percent as much as similarly educated men a year after graduation.”

After ten years in the workforce, the gap opened to 12 percent.

Wait. What? A 20 perccent gap opened to a 12 percent gap? How does that work? Having nothing better to do with my time, I decided to look up the referenced 2007 study. (And, people? This is 2012 and you're writing for the web. You can link to studies for your readers. Don't make them do their own Googling.)

Here's the original study: Behind the Pay Gap (2007). I started with the Executive Summary. First page, second paragraph:

One year out of college, women working full time earn only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69 percent as much as men earn.

Oh. So, the 80 percent pay gap increases 11 points, to a 69% pay gap. Now, to be fair to David Ferguson, he's pretty much re-writing a story from the Daily Beast. And this goofily worded section is in the original story. But quoting another story is no execuse for bad writing or for failing to correct the bad writing, for your own readers.

Now, about the pay gap itself. Reading this story and the Daily Beast story, one gets the impression that their is an immense pay gap between men and women. If you read the 2007 study closely though, the pay gap isn't nearly as immense.

One year out of college, women working full time earn only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69 percent as much as men earn.

... The only way to discover discrimination is to eliminate the other possible explanations. In this analysis the portion of the pay gap that remains unexplained after all other factors are taken into account is 5 percent one year after graduation and 12 percent 10 years after graduation.

After controlling for variables other than sexism, the pay gap after 1 year is 5% and the pay gap after 10 years is 12%. Or is it? You could read "portion .. that remains is 5%" as meaning 5% of the 20%, which is 1%. Similarly, 12% of 31% is 3.7%.

To figure out which it is, I checked the Full Report, from the study.

That is, after controlling for all the factors known to affect earnings, college-educated women earn about 5 percent less than college-educated men earn. Thus, while discrimination cannot be measured directly, it is reasonable to assume that this pay gap is the product of gender discrimination.

Okay. I think the Executive Summary isn't worded as clearly as I would like, but it is saying that 5% of the pay gap can't be explained by their regression analysis against other variables. So, the unexplained pay gap after 10 years is 12%. That's a lot better than the 20% and 31% mentioned in the Daily Beast article, but it's still not great.

But I had one more question: did the study account for the fact that men, generally speaking, negotitate more aggressively for starting pay and raises than women do?

I found this in the "What Can We Do About the Pay Gap?" section of the study? The fact that this in the potential solutions section strongly suggests, to me, that the authors didn't control for it, in their regression analysis.

Further magnifying these gender differences, women expect less and negotiate less pay for themselves than do men. Researchers have found that women expect less, see the world as having fewer negotiable opportunities, and see themselves as acting for what they care about as opposed to acting for pay. These learned behaviors and expectations (which may be based on experiences) tend to minimize women’s pay (Babcock & Laschever, 2003).

Individual differences in negotiating skills may lead to pay variation among workers with similar skill sets. Employers have a fair amount of discretion in setting wages as long as they pay at least the minimum wage and do not discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, or other protected group. One study by Babcock and Laschever (2003) found that starting salaries for male students graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with master’s degrees were about 7 percent higher (almost $4,000) than the starting salaries for similarly qualified women. Babcock and Laschever argue that this gap in part reflects differences in men’s and women’s willingness to negotiate. It may also reflect women’s perceptions about the labor market, expectations about the wages they’ll receive, and willingness to take a lower-wage job (Orazem, Werbel, & McElroy, 2003).

On a related front, several economic experiments have demonstrated that regardless of their actual work performance in a competitive setting and their beliefs about their performance, more women than men choose noncompetitive payment schemes over tournament (where a winner gets a prize and a loser gets nothing) or competition rates of payment for a task (Niederle & Vesterlund, 2005).

Indeed, when I checked "Figure 21. Key Variables Used in Regression Analysis, by Category", negotiating ability or style isn't listed as a variable. Given that, I'm perfectly willing to conceed that a 5% pay gap exists but I'm chalking it up to negotiating strategy rather than to overt discrimination. It's also not surprising that after 10 years of negotiating less aggressively, a 5% gap could grow to a 12% gap. I don't think you need to bring in the specter of active discrimination to explain that gap.

Secondly, Senator Grothman seems to say that the existing law was unfair because it would penalize employers who paid men and women differently on the basis of experience.

"Take a hypothetical husband and wife who are both lawyers,” he says. “But the husband is working 50 or 60 hours a week, going all out, making 200 grand a year. The woman takes time off, raises kids, is not go go go. Now they’re 50 years old. The husband is making 200 grand a year, the woman is making 40 grand a year. It wasn’t discrimination. There was a different sense of urgency in each person."

The way I read the law, that actually isn't the case.

Your employer may offer up a number of reasons for the differences in pay. It may point to a seniority system, a merit system, a system based on quality or quantity of work, or any other factor that accounts for the difference other than sex. Your employer could also try to argue that the jobs simply aren't substantially similar. Ultimately, however, if your employer responds to the allegations with a valid nondiscriminatory reason for the difference in pay, you must show that the reasons given are pretextual, and that the true reason for the unequal compensation is based on your sex.

Unequal pay for unequal experience does seem to be a valid exception, under state law.

Third, if you'll pardon my wordiness, I'll proceed to the actual effect of the bill that Governor Walker signed last week. I had to go to an Illinois lawyer to find a good description. That this description isn't in either The Raw Story's article or the Daily Beast's article just confirms my impression that both are sloppily written.

Here's how the bills have been described.

According to Mr. May, the Assembly has recently passed two bills: the first "repeals an employee's right to recover compensatory and punitive damages when they have proven in court that they were victims of workplace discrimination or harassment;" the second, according to Mr. May is a bill that repeals Wisconsin's Equal Pay Act, "which guarantees women the same pay as men for doing the same work."

Is that what happened?

What Mr. May does not mention is that compensatory and punitive damages were not available under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act until 2009! So the Wisconsin Republicans' bill would simply undo what the lawmakers perceive as a recent mistake—not some venerable feature of Wisconsin law.

Well, okay, but won't victims of employment discrimination be left without a remedy? No, almost never. The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act is largely duplicative of the federal anti-discrimination laws, all of which allow the full panoply of damages. Indeed, one of the business lobby's chief complaints is that the WFEA creates an unnecessary layer of administrative hearings, which of course cost money (and therefore increase the costs and risks of hiring employees, at the margins).

This is all a big misunderstanding. There is no such thing as the Equal Pay Act in Wisconsin. Instead, the 2009 Act that created the right to get compensatory and punitive damages under the WFEA—the Act discussed above that Republicans are now trying to appeal—was entitled the "Equal Pay Enforcement Act." This is confusing because there is a federal law called the "Equal Pay Act," which requires "equal pay for equal time." But Wisconsin's Equal Pay Enforcement Act actually has nothing to to with "equal pay for equal time"—it just provides for compensatory and punitive damages for the substantive laws passed previously. Since there is no separate Wisconsin Equal Pay Act, there is no separate bill to repeal it.

Wisconsin Law has a two-step process, when alleging an equal-pay violation.

Currently, an employee may file a complaint of workplace discrimination with Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The DWD has the power to investigate the claim, hold hearings and award an employee back pay, reinstatement, costs and attorneys' fees upon a finding that the employer engaged in discrimination. Repealing the WFEA in the manner proposed will not take away any of these administrative proceedings or remedies. Instead, under current law, after an employee has already proved discrimination once at a hearing in the DWD, she has to then go to state court and again prove discrimination in order to recover compensatory and punitive damages. It is the right to go to state court to recover these damages that is in danger of being repealed.

Now that the "right to go to state court" has been repealed, employees will have to follow the federal process, to receive compensatory and punitive damages.

First, federal law mandates that, just like in Wisconsin, employees go through an administrative process at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before bringing suit. After that administrative procedure, the employee then must bring a lawsuit in federal court to recover any compensation. Thus, the federal system also requires both an administrative and judicial step to resolve these claims.

This entry was tagged. Jobs Women

Yes, Chicks Dig Jerks →

If you care about ending domestic abuse, the social data paints a pretty depressing picture.

In a study of residents of a battered-women’s shelter, 75 percent of the abuse victims returned to the man who abused them. Victims of abuse are no more likely to end a relationship or a marriage than are women who are not suffering abuse. These traits are not limited to women who are poor and economically vulnerable.

… All of which is to say that there is good evidence and good theory behind the belief that chicks dig jerks — mildly psychopathic men with lots of testosterone and little empathy. (Or, if you want to take the Richard Dawkins view, chicks’ genes dig jerks.) Those who do will have relatively more sons. And what will those sons be like? It is worth keeping in mind that those traits are heritable.

Liberals generally accept the biological explanation of human sexual behavior in exactly one case: that of homosexuality. But human desire is a stranger and sometimes darker thing than we imagine, and certainly a more complex one. Those who would try to understand it must be willing to ask uncomfortable questions and to entertain uncomfortable answers.

This entry was tagged. Research Women

The Myth of the Gender Gap, in Pay

Carrie Lukas wrote about the class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart at The Corner on National Review Online. In her post, she provided a great summary of why the median woman earns less than the median man. Hint: it's not rampant sexism.

Women and men tend to gravitate toward different industries and even different specialties within fields. Women leave the workforce more frequently than men do and take more time off while working, and even full-time working women spend about half an hour less in the office each day than their male co-workers. These differences add up, and even liberal groups like the American Association of University Women admit that controlling for personal choices eliminates up to three-quarters of the wage gap.

It’s hard to control for all of the factors that affect earnings. In his book, Why Men Earn More, Warren Farrell looks at many factors, and notes trends that make identifying discrimination difficult. For example, women often are promoted more quickly than men. As a result, women executives often have less experience than their male counterparts and therefore are paid less. Dr. Farrell uses the example of TV news directors. Some claimed discrimination because female news directors were paid about 27 percent less than their male counterparts. Yet the data also showed that the average female news director had less than six years of experience in news, while the average man had more than 14. In this instance, who exactly is being discriminated against?

Other studies have found that women are less likely to negotiate their starting salaries or ask for raises and promotions, which may contribute to them earning less than men on average. That could be a result of socialization, natural instincts, and even the presumption that women who try to negotiate their salaries will be perceived as less attractive candidates (which studies have also found to be true).

Statistics also cannot capture the different goals that men and women have when negotiating employment contracts. While many men might focus exclusively on maximizing pay, many women focus on flexible work schedules or schedules that work with their children’s school calendars.

This entry was tagged. Research Women

A Good Husband's Guide

Men and women are always arguing over who has the tougher role to play. Obviously, it's the other gender.

Leanne Bell offers an interesting take, called the Good Husband's Guide. Refreshingly, she takes the men's side of the argument.

In May of 1955, a magazine called Housekeeping Monthly ran a short point-form article called "The Good Wife's Guide." The article is unaccredited, but I am sure that like many other articles written in 1950's women's magazine, it was probably written by a woman. This article was sent around by email to all the workstations in my office, and probably visited many other inboxes around the world as well.

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

  • Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his personal comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

There's more.

Now, most modern men would say that such a guide is sexist and demeaning to women. Asked privately, perhaps after a few beers and promises of confidentiality, most men would also say that such a home sounds darn appealing. And, it is. Mostly because we're not the ones working to make it.

But men aren't the only ones guilty of looking to enjoy the good life. Ms. Bell happily recognizes that and presents the opposite guide. The Good Husband's Guide.

  • Always make getting and keeping a full-time job with regular raises, benefits, bonuses and the potential for prestigious advancement your number one priority in life. Remember always that you have a wife and children who need your financial support, and that it is your responsibility to provide for them to the best of your ability.

  • Always arrive home refreshed and happy - put your bad day or your confrontation with your boss, the traffic, the crowds or the physical exhaustion you might feel aside and try to arrive home as cheery and lighthearted as you possibly can. Your wife has been struggling with the children and the housework all day, she does not need to hear about how bad your day was.

  • Be prepared to help with household chores when you get home - let your wife relax or talk on the phone since she has been dealing with these problems all day. Make supper for her often, and offer to clean up afterwards so that she may rest and feel appreciated.

  • Do not bore your wife with stories of the troubles you faced at work today. Remember that you are lucky to have a job and that many other men would be happy to trade places with you. Remember that it is not masculine to complain or let worries trouble you. Your job is to provide, and whatever you must go through to achieve this is part of your lot in life. A good husband knows that he is lucky to have a wife at all, and that a woman wants a strong, silent man she can depend on.

There's more of that too. Note how normal it all sounds? What husband hasn't heard his wife, or his wife's friends, express similar sentiments?

Let's leave that thought there and turn to Matt Patterson for a moment: Men, the Gender Wars Are Over -- We Won.

Men, our long twilight struggle with the opposite sex is over. Our victory is total.

Can you believe the way things used to be? Remember when our fathers and grandfathers would drag themselves to mind-numbing jobs every day, having the sole responsibility for the feeding, clothing, and housing of their entire family?

And things were no easier before marriage, when men's quest for sexual satisfaction was all too often hampered by the widespread moral code which taught women not to give out the "milk" for "free."

Well, that state of affairs just wouldn't do. So we men came together and did what we do best -- formulate and implement a plan. First step, design the perfect world, the perfect male world. We decided such a world would consist of two things: less responsibility and more -- and no-strings -- sex.

Brothers, have we succeeded.

The amazing thing, really, is how easy it was, how fast the old world of obligation and responsibility dissolved. The first, crucial step, of course, was convincing women that they had it bad, that our jobs were "intellectually stimulating" and not the soul-crushing monotony that they in fact were.

There's more of that too.

What's my point? Well, I was entertained by both Leanne and Matt. And both reinforced my personal opinion: "life is pain" and the grass is the same shade of green on both sides of the fence. We're just capable of deluding ourselves into believing that it's less rote, less monotonous, and more stimulating on the other side.

That's it, really. I'm not sure I have a broader point to make here. Except, you know, thank your spouse for handling whatever crap that they go through each day.

Who needs to give birth in a hospital?

It's great that Great Britain has high quality health care available to everyone, courtesy of the British government. Expectant mothers are especially appreciative. After all, without the NHS, some of them would have never known that it's possible to give birth outside of a delivery room.

Thousands of women are having to give birth outside maternity wards because of a lack of midwives and hospital beds.

The lives of mothers and babies are being put at risk as births in locations ranging from lifts to toilets - even a caravan - went up 15 per cent last year to almost 4,000.

Health chiefs admit a lack of maternity beds is partly to blame for the crisis, with hundreds of women in labour being turned away from hospitals because they are full.

Latest figures show that over the past two years there were at least:

  • 63 births in ambulances and 608 in transit to hospitals;
  • 117 births in A&E; departments, four in minor injury units and two in medical assessment areas;
  • 115 births on other hospital wards and 36 in other unspecified areas including corridors;
  • 399 in parts of maternity units other than labour beds, including postnatal and antenatal wards and reception areas.

Additionally, overstretched maternity units shut their doors to any more women in labour on 553 occasions last year.

I'm so glad that the British don't leave their health care up to a greedy, heartless private sector motivated only by profits. Imagine what might happen if they did!

The Inscrutable Woman

When it comes to assessing the romantic playing field -- who might be interested in whom -- men and women were shown to be equally good at gauging men's interest during an Indiana University study involving speed dating -- and equally bad at judging women's interest.

"The hardest-to-read women were being misperceived at a much higher rate than the hardest-to-read men. Those women were being flirtatious, but it turned out they weren't interested at all," said lead author Skyler Place, a doctoral student in IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences working with cognitive science Professor Peter Todd. "Nobody could really read what these deceptive females were doing, including other women."

-- from Newswise Social and Behavioral Sciences News | Observers of First Dates Can Predict Outcome

Huh. So guys who complain of being led on aren't just making it up.

This entry was tagged. Dating Research Women