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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Is misogyny real? The present is female

Misogyny is a myth, argues John Tierney in City Journal. It's not just that "the future is female." The present is too. In the past, women faced outright discrimination, but those barriers fell at least 40 years ago, he writes.

Barbie rules, Ken is "just Ken" in the new "Barbie" movie.

For decades, research has shown a “women-are-wonderful effect,” he writes. Both sexes rate women more positively for intelligence as well as competence.


In a new study, participants were asked to react quickly to photos of men and women of different races and ages. There was no "implicit bias" by race or age. "Only one strong and consistent bias emerged," writes Tierney. "Participants in every category — men and women of all races, ages, and social classes — were quicker to associate positive attributes with women and negative attributes with men."


Girls rule in the classroom. "Women have been a majority of college graduates since 1982," he notes. Females outperform males from kindergarten through graduation school, except in a few science and tech fields. Some colleges now lower admissions standards for males "because many women are loath to attend a college if the gender ratio is too skewed."


What about pay?

. . . a full-time female worker over 25 in America earns 84 cents for every dollar a male earns, but even equalitarian researchers acknowledge that this gap is not due to overt sexual discrimination (illegal since the Equal Pay Act of 1963). It’s due mainly to men choosing higher-paying professions, like coding, instead of, say, teaching, and to the “motherhood penalty.”

Childless singles in their twenties, male and female, earn about the same, he writes. "Once they become parents, mothers tend to reduce their hours, switch to a lower-paying job with more flexibility, or drop out of the workforce."


I remember writing about this 30 years ago. Married women work and earn less than single women because they are prioritizing their family, and have a husband to help pay the bills. Married men work more and earn more than single men, because they're supporting a family.


Most mothers don't want to work full-time when their children are young, if they can afford not to.


"On average, women care more about 'work-life balance' and finding a job that seems personally and socially meaningful — typically, one in a comfortable environment that involves working with people rather than things," writes Tierney. "Men prioritize making money, so they’re willing to take less appealing jobs — work that’s tedious, outdoors, dirty, dangerous — with longer, less predictable hours." Among graduates of elite business schools, "male MBAs are likelier to take jobs in finance and consulting, whereas the women tend to choose lower-paying industries that are less competitive and less risky."


Tierney offers a fun fact about Uber drivers. A gender-blind algorithm assigns trips. "Riders of both sexes give the same rating, on average, to male and female drivers, and both sexes give bigger tips to the female drivers," research shows. Yet male drivers earn 7 percent more per hour.


The main reason: Men drive faster. They complete more trips per hour.


The “competition gap” shows up in activities where brawn is irrelevant, he writes. Most bridge players are women. Nearly all bridge champions are men. Women outnumber men at Scrabble tournaments, but "the 25 highest-ranked Scrabble players in North America are all men, and only five women rank in the top 100."


Boys might do better in school if they had more chances to compete.

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