“If you’re not liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not conservative when you’re 35, you have no brain” is a quote often falsely attributed to Winston Churchill, yet one which retains some truth.
It is not inaccurate to say that it’s more common to hear a liberal thinker appeal to emotion, while a conservative is more likely to bring numbers to the table.
In fact, in our current era of paranoid political correctness, gender pronouns and complaints of cultural appropriation – it is perhaps more applicable than ever.
Perhaps the trend since the early nineties towards progressivism in politics, education and public life is to blame – whatever the reason, the political left seem (more than ever) to have a tendency to fall for the most insane myths to emerge from politics and social science.
In this series of five articles, I’m going to take a peak at some such untruths.
Here are the five worst lies widely believed by the socially conscious (yet factually oblivious).
Lie Number One: The Pay Gap is a Problem
We are all by now familiar with the feminist rallying cries, demanding “the same pay for the same work”.
This sounds like a reasonable demand to make, until you realise that it was granted to Western women decades ago.
The United States introduced it’s Equal Pay Act in 1963, and the United Kingdom in 1970.
Yet we are still talking about this issue in 2017, why?
Thanks to an obtuse misrepresentation of pay statistics, many women actually believe that they are being paid less than their male counterparts for the same work – despite the law prohibiting such a thing.
Following the widespread implementation of Equal Pay Acts forty years ago, discussion surrounding the wage gap evolved into a discussion of the pay gap.
It is true that there is a gender pay gap in most countries of between 15-25% based on the average income of all full-time workers, but this is far from a problem and has nothing to do with individual workers wages.
Considering that a majority of women will take years (some up to a decade) out of work to have children, it is to be expected that they will fall behind in their career progression by middle age.
Considering that women take considerably more sick leave than men (56% more in the UK in 2016 according to the Office for National Statistics), it is to be expected that they will earn less over time in a meritocracy.
And though we don’t like to admit it, women overwhelmingly choose degrees and career paths which lead to lesser earning potential – choosing the arts and social sciences over STEM and higher paying fields.
In a 2014 American Enterprise Institute study, women claimed 57% of all bachelors degrees, but only 28% of degrees in the top ten highest paying fields.
There are those who will argue that women are cajoled and coerced into these lifestyle choices, but as feminist scholar and author Christina Hoff Sommers wrote of American women in Time in 2016:
“American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.”
Perhaps this demeaning attitude among modern feminists is the reason that in a 2015 YouGov poll, 1/5 of those surveyed considered being called a ‘feminist’ to be an insult – and in a survey of 8,000 people conducted in the UK by the Fawcett Society (a feminist charity), only 7% were willing to identify as a feminist.
Those who do still call themselves feminists and continue to rage about the issue of pay are by no means a quiet minority.
In November 2016, French women from multiple sectors left work early in a symbolic protest supposed to mark the point in the year at which women cease to be paid according to blanket averages.
According to Rebecca Amsellem, who played a leading role in the campaign:
“We wanted to raise an awareness of inequality in the workplace so that everyone involved, whether it’s women or men, can propose their own solutions to this problem – nothing about this problem is normal.”
Of course, Amsellem is factually incorrect if she believes France to be abnormal in it’s pay gap – but more importantly, she seems convinced that the root is inequality as opposed to the lifestyle choices of her fellow women, to which they have every right!
So why are some people of presumably reasonable intelligence still fooled by the pay gap myth?
According to Sommers:
“For one thing, there is a lot of statistical illiteracy among journalists, feminist academics and political leaders. There is also an admirable human tendency to be protective of women—stories of female exploitation are readily believed, and vocal skeptics risk appearing indifferent to women’s suffering.”
However, there are many women’s causes which often fall by the wayside amid debate on issues like women’s pay: the house arrest and veiling of Saudi and Iranian women, the domestic abuse suffered by women throughout the Muslim world and the systematic rape of young African women as a bizarre folk cure for HIV, etc.
I suggest that any who wish to help ease the real suffering of women around the world should divert their attention towards these atrocities, and not be fooled by the generalisations and mathematical incompetence of those who would have you believe in pay gap claptrap!