The gender wage gap and “female bodied people”

There was a recent study on the wages of men vs women and surprise, surprise!  The gap is stubbornly stuck at about 85 cents per dollar for women for every dollar men make.  This is after all other factors have been taken into consideration.  From the NYTimes article:

But the study, based on an analysis of Labor Department data, could not determine whether other factors, like previous work experience or other choices made by women in the workplace, were keeping their wages from achieving closer parity, or whether there was still some other discriminatory effect.

Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., chairman of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, which commissioned the G.A.O. report, said that he was surprised that despite higher levels of education, the gap between men’s and women’s pay hadn’t narrowed much more. “I would have said we would have seen more progress,” said Senator Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat.

He said the findings made the need for Congressional action on job creation more acute. “Every week that goes by where you don’t have progress on those measures is obviously going to make the situation worse for everyone,” he said. “But low-wage workers are having some of the most difficult challenges, and those challenges just get more significant.”

Yes, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is scratching his head.  This makes no sense.  No, it doesn’t.  It also doesn’t make sense that men are recovering from this prolonged recession better than women are.  I mean, it makes sense because they are more likely to be able to tap into their Old Boys’ Network to find new jobs.  But why women don’t have the same access to those same jobs?  No, that makes no sense.

But isn’t Senator Casey one of those pro-life Democrats?  Like, what does that have to do with it?  Oh, I don’t know.  But it seems like women have spent the last 40 years battling for equality based on whether or not they can get an abortion.  By the way, there’s no law on earth that will stop women from getting abortions, unless you incarcerate them and put them in straight jackets for being pregnant.  Technically, we may not be equal yet but I don’t think even Mississippi can do that.  So, I think it’s about time that the pro-lifers out there start facing up to the fact that a stupid little measure like making a fertilized egg a person is not going to stop a desperate girl from raking her uterus with a coathanger.  What pro-lifers REALLY want is something that is unattainable.  They want women to be mothers and they want them to *like* it.

That’s where this term “female bodied person” comes in.  I first heard the term “female bodied person” (FBP) on a segment of the Colbert Report the other day when Stephen interviewed an occupier from OWS who called herself “Ketchup”.  I had an “ah-hah!” moment.  That’s the concept that so many feminist have not been promoting.  Instead, they’ve been acting like their whole existence depended on Roe v. Wade.  No, non, nyet.  What we need to get across is that there are people, equal people and minds, encased in female bodies.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like my female body.  I like it very much.  And I don’t really want to change.  But it is just my body.  About a decade ago, my brother, ex, sister-in-law and I took some kind of pop psychology quiz that determined whether our minds were more male or female.  My sister-in-law was solidly female, the ex was male,  But I scored more on the male side of the spectrum than my brother did and he’s a masculine guy.  Pop psych or not, I think it is facet of our personalities that tends to get obscured by the bodies we wear.  What was funny to me was when I finally showed up in Denver for the convention and people met me in person, a lot of them were surprised that I looked like a girl.  They didn’t exactly say it that way but I knew what they meant.  I don’t write like one so maybe I wouldn’t look like one.

Does it matter if you look like a girl when it comes to employment?  It shouldn’t but we have some evidence that it does.  It used to be that orchestras would hire predominantly male musicians.  Women were thought not to possess that certain technical or artistic ability as men.  In the past two decades, more and more orchestras are hiring based on a blind audition.  In this case, the applicants for a seat in an orchestra audition behind a screen and the seat goes to the best musician based on music.  In the year 2000, the number of women in orchestras had jumped from 10% to 35% as a result of blind auditions.

So, if we know that physical appearance can affect one’s career prospects, can we apply the concept of the blind audition to the workforce in general?  An orchestra is probably an easy case.  Most differences in employment opportunities based on gender are not so clearly detectable as they are in an orchestra, or maybe even a restaurant.  Most ways in which employers discriminate against women are very subtle and the managers themselves may not even be aware that they are doing it.  Even a manager who feels himself to value equality may be affecting his female employees’ career prospects and salaries.  We have seen how the Obama administration does it quite openly and unapologetically by supporting an Old Boys’ Club and by cultivating younger men, allowing them to steal projects from women and present more frequently at meetings.  They also socialize more with the powerbrokers.  We can also see this happening in the left blogosphere where the bloggers who have moved on to steady jobs in the media have been guys.  Very few female bloggers have made this transition.

We may not be able to do much about the blogosphere but in the average workplace, there are ways to measure virtually anything from where people sit to how much desk space they have to how much access they have to the power centers to how many times their emails are answered and responded to.  If there are discrepancies in salaries and promotions, quantifying the parameters of the work environment should lead to some answers as to why these discrepancies develop.  Returning to my new favorite country, Finland, we can find a government program that does just this kind of study.  It’s called Gender Glasses.   The goal of a program like gender glasses should be to detect the factors and behaviors that lead to treating people based on the body they’re in and not the persons they are.

Of course, the United States has a long way to go to get to the stage where a program using measurement and statistics can be used to eliminate gender based differences in the work place.  Before we get to that, we have to agree that women are more than just the bodies they inhabit and that biology isn’t destiny.  And getting rid of Roe v. Wade, even for those of us who are pro-choice, is something we need to consider.  We need to take the focus off our bodies and put it back on our minds.  Like I said before, abortion is not going away, no matter what some bible thumping Mississippian thinks or even what some Catholic senator thinks.  All that’s going to happen is more people will be forced to travel or do it themselves.  But once the Roe issue is out of the way, we can get back to the issue of equality.  Equality has been stalled for four decades while the right tried to force us into motherhood based on our body parts.  If Senator Casey is serious about discovering why there is a gender wage gap, maybe he needs to start by examining his own attitudes towards “female bodied people”.

Postscript:  I notice that Digby has written something tangential to this about blogging while female.  And while I understand that women are conditioned to “feel” it when someone insults them, I see no reason why Digby, talented writer that she is, should waste even one nanosecond of sleeptime turning over any mean spirited insult in her head.  Here are my few words of wisdom to female bloggers: People insult you because they know it hurts and they want you to feel badly.  But the truth is that they don’t know you and even if they occasionally hit the mark, so what?  The internet is the great equalizer.  Unlike the real world, when someone says something nasty to you in cyberspace, you have the time to whip up a devastating response.  And you should use it.  Your blog is your own personal space.  No one can chase you from it.  You can say whatever you want and make whatever rules you like and there’s not a damn thing that the rude commenter can do about it.  You can banish people and never have to worry about accusations of censorship.  It’s a big blogosphere out there.

Finally, no matter what they say to you, they are only little black pixels on a screen.  They cannot hurt you.   With a click of a mouse, they are gone forever.

The New Apostolic Reformation’s bat$#!^ crazies, Gender Glasses and CNN tells the (partial) truth about the 2008 primaries

Terry Gross did an interview with Peter Wagner, a leader of the New Apostolic Reformation or NAR.  NAR was one of the organizers of the prayer rally that Rick Perry attended.  This interview is jaw dropping.  I have to hand it to Gross for handling this well.  What she does is ask Wagner to talk about the emperor of Japan’s “marriage” to the Sun Goddess and he takes it from there.  It’s in the first part of the interview.  Go listen.

There’s a picture of Wagner of his wife.  They look so sweet.  He’s a rounder, more cherubic version of Colonel Sanders, she looks like one of those nice ladies you meet at a church bake sale who always makes those killer combo bars.  You would never know that they are a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.  Their earnestness disguises a disrespectful hardness towards your personal belief system.  What *they* believe is inviolable.  What YOU believe is up for negotiations.  And they will never, never stop trying to convert you or pull the country over to their way of thinking.  It never occurs to them that they sound unhinged or that their belief system concentrates everything on an afterlife and nothing on ameliorating the suffering in the current life.  It’s narrow minded, conformist and judgmental.  They determine what is moral and if you don’t get with the program, you’re a target for evangelism or social shunning.

Sure, these people are making a living but don’t think for a second that they don’t believe it.  The sun goddess of Japan is a demon and the emperor had sex with her.

Uh-huh.

It sort of reminds me of this guy:

If you’re one of them, yes, you really do sound this crazy.  No, I cannot take you seriously.  I don’t care if I’m not going to paradise with you.

By the way, there is evidence that more  Americans identify themselves as atheists, freethinkers and naturalists.  Peter Wagner has his work cut out for him.

Note:  I see that @apostolicnews is now following me on Twitter.  Please note that I am not your typical elitist snob.  I know people like you personally, know what you believe, know what programs you watch and understand the way you think.  I reject your form of christianity not because I’m a snob but because I find it arrogant and disrespectful of other people’s belief systems and incompatible with goodwill to all people.  Save your breath.  You are not going to make any converts here.

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On another note, The American Prospect has finally gotten around to posting something about the hidden discrimination that women face in the workplace in the post Sexism’s Low Grade Fever.  Here’s a money quote:

The unwelcoming workplace isn’t a deadly cancer; rather, it’s a steady low-grade fever that wears you down by degrees (if you’ll forgive my pun). You can diagnosis this illness through one critical measure: Women rarely stay long enough to rise up through the ranks. Or because they rarely rise, they leave. That’s a loss of momentum for women’s careers and energies—and a loss of energy and talent for the organization that derides, diminishes, and disparages their work.

For instance, I’m reminded of a major nonprofit that produced an impressive, in-depth project related to violence against women. When I congratulated the women who’d produced it, they told me that their bosses had been openly hostile to the project—and had ignored, undermined, and belittled their efforts at every turn. They’d never have been permitted to do it, but they’d wrangled a grant for it on their own. The project made an enormous splash and got critical White House attention. But within months after they’d finished the project, all but one of the women who produced it were gone; they were either pushed out or departed on their own. The women had to work on creating successful careers within different organizations—a real loss of momentum for them and talent for the organization. The men who’d rolled their eyes at the project were left to collect the awards.

Yes.  It’s always a stupid idea until the woman is out of the way and then it’s suddenly brilliant for the guy who stands to benefit when she leaves.

It’s about a week too late and sounds very familiar.  Here’s a recent Confluence post on this.  And here’s another.   Actually, I can probably go back through the last couple of years to find similar posts that I wrote.  This is a big problem that has been simmering for quite a while.  I don’t know whether guys have gotten more blatant about it lately or whether it was always there.  Or maybe the problem is that enough women have developed enough expertise in their fields that the discrimination is severely hurting their careers and they’re just discovering that the behavior they’re coached to deploy doesn’t cut it.  The problem is that men aren’t cooperating and women have had enough.

E.J. Graff, the author, says we should quantify it?  (I think I suggested that first) Ok, but quantifying it goes beyond simply measuring salaries and promotions that Graff suggested.  In fact, if you only do that, you will miss all the memorable self-esteem and career crushing “features” that working in male centric environments have to offer.  By the way, did you know that Finland (yes, them again) has a program run by the government called Gender Glasses?  It conducts investigations of workplaces where gender discrimination is alleged.  One of the tools they use to ferret out the truth is statistics.  EVERYTHING can be measured, including how much men ignore their female colleagues.  Just mine the digital data that is already archived on the company servers.

If I were an enterprising politician, I’d run with this.

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One more thing: Peep pointed me to this post at CNN this morning that shows what a disaster the 2008 Democratic primary has been for the Democrats.  Most of this analysis is correct, although I disagree on a few elements.  For example, Obama’s “superior” organization in the caucus states was helped by the fact that no one who complained about being screamed at, jostled, locked out and overwritten at the caucus sites who was a Hillary supporter was actually taken seriously.  If superior organization means hiring operatives and thugs and bussing people in from an adjoining state to go to caucuses to make sure you win no matter what, then, yeah, Obama did a much better job at that than Clinton.  The other thing is that the way the DNC at first withheld and then awarded the delegates in Michigan and Florida at the May 31, 2008 RBC hearing completely invalidated the votes of every other Hillary voter in all the other primary states.  And the fact that this is what the DNC was planning all along was crystal clear shortly (like within a day) of SuperTuesday in early February 2008.  The fix was in that early.  Buying the superdelegates was just icing on the cake.

So, now it looks like buyer’s remorse has set in and Obama doesn’t have coattails.  No s#@%, Sherlock.  As Harold Ickes said at the RBC meeting, it was not a good way to start down the path of party unity.  Obama didn’t have the consent of half of his own party and those of us who witnessed what the party did to its stronger candidate will never forget how we were disenfranchised so it could anoint a banker financed, shmoozing political neophyte to the presidency during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.  And don’t say, “Nobody could have predicted”.  We did.

(I love this comment from the CNN article:  THOUGHT OF THE DAY:  If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you weren’t a racist, please do our great country a huge favor and vote for someone else in 2012 to prove you’re not an IDIOT.)

There is still time to replace him at the top of the ticket.  To do otherwise would be extremely irresponsible.

Oh, By the way, whatever happened to this guy who gave away the entire NJ 121 vote delegation  to the candidate who lost the state in the primary in 2008?

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