It’s perhaps the biggest chip on feminists’ shoulders: the gender pay gap. Just watch Cathy Newman’s interview with Canadian professor Jordan Peterson. She obstinately refuses to hear any explanation of the disparity in pay between men and women other than that women, as usual, are being unfairly treated.
Yet any data analyst worth their salt knows that it is what the data doesn’t show as well as what it directly says which is crucial for an accurate hypothesis. Take this as an example:
“In the United States, a study by Census Bureau researchers found that between two years before the birth of a couple’s first child and a year after, the earnings gap between opposite-sex spouses doubles.”
There is nothing wrong about this observation. There is nothing wrong with making this observation. The error is making a giant leap from this, to the conclusion that women are disadvantaged in the workforce.
Analysts could just as reasonably infer that, if a woman’s earnings are halved in the first two years after the birth of her first child, she very likely chose to stay at home with her infant rather than return to work (and therefore is not disadvantaged).
The observation that “subsidized child care helps shrink the pay gap by enabling women to spend more time working,” betrays a negative view of motherhood. “Enabling” suggests that women are empowered only when they are in the workforce, not when they are stay-at-home mothers. Motherhood, in this worldview, is a pseudo-life, an interim phase to plough through as quickly as possible, but which is infinitely less desirable than an “official” career.
This is the attitude of feminists who continue to mould the data to their own agenda in order to perpetuate their narrative of victimhood in an allegedly male-centric society. It is no joke; the data could equally well describe a positive trend amongst women — the preference to spend time with their children rather than away from them.
Jordan Peterson is just one voice of reason in this, compelled by an interviewer to call out feminists who distort the research and cling to the myth of male subjugation of women.
Describing his interview with Cathy Newman to Joe Rogan, Peterson observed that “she [Newman] is a funny kind of victim. I mean, she’s pretty successful. At some point you think you should have to hand in your victim card.”
More incisively, he states, “you don’t get to be oppressor and oppressed at the same time– that’s just too much.”
Now, I am not saying that the gender pay-gap is always justified, or that it isn’t a huge adjustment for women to go from full-time work into full-time motherhood. I have enjoyed returning to work one day a week after my children were six months old (a change is as good as a holiday, right?) But as the stats reflect, it’s the rare mother who desires a hasty return to full-time work. And let’s not ignore single mothers, compelled to earn a living, but who might prefer to stay at home.
The challenges, though real, have been blown grossly out of proportion to suit feminists bent on making martyrs out women who do not conform to their model of female empowerment. Yet if these self-appointed advocates are to maintain any shred of credibility in the cause for women, it’s time for them to shift their disgruntlement to another battlefront.
They don’t need to search too hard– there are some very worthy substitutes. Take the abolishment of sex slavery or the reform of adoption policies for example. One thing is clear: the gender pay-gap ”disgrace” has been bled dry.
Veronika Winkels is a freelance writer who lives in Melbourne and is married with two young children.