Posted on | April 16, 2014 | 27 Comments
The Left has been going nuts over an argument veteran conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly made about the “pay gap” between men and women. Schlafly referred to the pervasive phenomenon of hypergamy, i.e., “women typically choose a mate (husband or boyfriend) who earns more than she does.” Sociologists would say it is not merely higher income, but higher socio-economic status in general — including such factors as educational background — implicated in hypergamy. Women’s preference for high-status husbands is indisputable, as Schlafly says:
While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.
Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.
Obviously, I’m not saying women won’t date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all.
This set off all kinds of shrieky reactions on the Left, with Think Progress headlining their item, “Prominent Republican: Women Need To Be Paid Less So They Can Find Husbands.” But this distortion of Schlafly’s meaning only shows (a) the dishonesty of the Left and/or (b) their willful ignorance of social science. The truth of her observation — that any policy aimed at closing “the so-called pay gap” would diminish women’s prospects for finding higher-earning husbands, and thus make marriage less likely — cannot be disputed by facts or logic. But this is not the same as Schlafly saying “women need to be paid less.” Schlafly rightly regards the “pay gap” as evidence of how men and women make different choices that reflect their personal preferences. The gap is not explained by sexist discrimination, Schlafly says, but by human nature.
— Claire Shipman (@ClaireShipman) April 15, 2014
Well, ABC’s Claire Shipman shows up on the cover of The Atlantic, along with the BBC’s Katty Kay, presenting a feature, “Closing the Confidence Gap: Even successful women lack self-assurance at work. Men have too much.” Leaving unexamined their thesis, let’s focus in on certain biographical data Shipman supplied:
Claire . . . had a habit of telling people she was “just lucky” — in the right place at the right time — when asked how she became a CNN correspondent in Moscow while still in her 20s. And she, too, for years, routinely deferred to the alpha-male journalists around her, assuming that because they were so much louder, so much more certain, they just knew more. She subconsciously believed that they had a right to talk more on television. But were they really more competent? Or just more self-assured?
Check Wikipedia: The daughter of an Ohio State University law professor, Shipman graduated from Columbia University, where she studied Russian before landing an internship with CNN. So if she was “just lucky” to be posted to Moscow, she was highly qualified.
Ah, but what about those “alpha-male journalists”? She married her boss: CNN Moscow bureau chief Stephen Hurt was 44 and Shipman was 28 when they married in 1991. After she returned to the United States, Shipman and her first husband separated in 1996, and soon she began dating Time magazine White House correspondent Jay Carney, whose Russian language studies at Yale University had also helped him land a Moscow bureau assignment in the 19990s. Shipman went from one “alpha-male journalist” husband to another.
Perhaps many older professional women like Claire Shipman, now 51, take for granted the availability of high-achieving husbands. Perhaps she does not consider the advantages — not to say privilege — conferred on her by her father’s status as a university law professor, nor does she think of the career advantage she might have gained by marrying the CNN Moscow bureau chief. No one need disparage Shipman’s abilities and hard work in saying that her connections with high-status males (first her father, and then her two husbands) have been beneficial to her.
So, what about that “pay gap”? As Phyllis Schlafly says, any policy that could eliminate the “pay gap” would, of necessity, reduce the number of men in higher-paying jobs. Young women in the future would have less opportunity to access the kind of advantages that Claire Shipman derived from her association with high-status males.
Schlafly, a very influential and successful woman, cannot be stereotyped as someone who is opposed to female achievement. The rhetoric coming from the Left in regard to the “pay gap” instead reflects feminist hostility to male achievement, and proposes to inhibit male achievement by coercive government policies to bring about an artificial regime of “equality” — a condition that could only be implemented by discouraging the hiring and promotion of men.
Such policies probably would not much harm the children of the elite — Claire Shipman and Jay Carney’s son and daughter — but what would be the effect on the middle and lower classes?
Answer: The policy-making elite don’t give a damn about them.
As long as liberals can congratulate themselves on doing their part for Equality and Progress — Shipman and Carney decorate their home with Soviet-era posters — they are indifferent to the actual impact of their policies on the lives of the toiling masses.
And of course, there is a “pay gap” at the White House, as if anyone needed further proof of liberal hypocrisy.