I would like to voice my disgust with a recent article, “The answer is simple: Don’t hire a woman.”
The fact that a woman wrote the article does not make it acceptable to print; the fact that it is commentary does not make it OK to distort facts and not do your research. I am a man, a loving husband and father of daughters. It makes me proud to think that the United States government is standing behind my daughters’ right to be treated fair in the workplace (despite the fact that Sen. Clinton is behind it). After all, business is doing everything they can to “legally” discriminate against them. Are there flaws? Of course. That is the irony of government control; you can’t make everybody happy. The question is whether what they are doing is fair or not.
It would not be fair for me to make accusations about distorted facts and flimsy research without backing it up. I do not intend to bash on Ms. Lewis, but I feel that WND is better than this and that your columnist should show more due diligence.
The author, Patrice Lewis, makes a reference to hypothetical loan officers, one male and one female, and states that the female is only able to do 78/100ths of the job of the male due to “taking time off to have babies, shuffle her kids around day care, stay home with them when they’re sick, and attend school meetings and activities,” and therefore only deserves 78/100ths the pay. Had Ms. Lewis done a little research (as opposed to interpreting a single statement made by Sen. Clinton in a way to fit her column) she would have found that a 2007 Time article called “Women’s Pay: Lagging from the Start,” by Julie Rawe, showed that women were only paid 80 percent of what their male counterparts were making 12 months out of college. As the article points out, the study conducted by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation is significant because “the one-year data is particularly telling, since new graduates are not likely to have had children yet and since they are entering the work force without significant prior experience than can affect starting salaries.”
This study proves that women are being paid less from the start – no kids, no day care and no sick leave to care for them, just less money. Perhaps Ms. Lewis believes that this is not a result of discrimination but rather a pre-emptive strike against future lack of experience.
On a similar front, it is baffling that Ms. Lewis would make the reference to the hypothetical loan officers above, citing that the male gained more experience because he didn’t take time off and a few lines later use a McDonald’s cook (a job where experience counts for nothing after about the first week of work) as a reference for a women being able to sue because her boyfriend (also a cook) got paid more.
While I can find flaws in all of her interpretations (as they were undoubtedly made to complement her column), my favorite is the complete misinterpretation of the fourth bullet. This bullet point states, “Impose comparable worth ‘guidelines,’ second guessing market forces about the relative worth of different types of jobs.” Ms. Lewis read this to mean that different jobs would be compared to each other, which is evident in her statement, “this means you have to compare one job with a completely different job to make sure women are paid comparably.” No, Ms. Lewis, that is not what that means. That means that the government would set guidelines for the pay of jobs within categories, hence the comparable worth. This would eliminate pay driven by supply and demand or “market forces” for different types of jobs. It is possible that general labor contractors would be mixed in the category with plumbers or secretaries may be mixed in with administrative assistants (believe it or not, there is a difference), but secretaries would not be mixed with plumbers and teachers would not be mixed with constructions workers, as Ms. Lewis put it.
To answer Ms. Lewis’ question, yes, I am familiar with the Law of Unintended Consequences. An unintended consequence is NOT when an action results in an “unexpected” reaction, as Ms. Lewis put it. An unintended consequence is when an action results in an “unintended” reaction, hence the unintended part. The unintended reaction may be foreseen or unforeseen but must be a practical result of the action. In other words, it is always foreseen as a possibility.
Also, the Law of Unintended Consequences states, “that any purposeful action will produce unintended consequences.” Nowhere does it state or even indicate that anything “good … usually backfires because politicians cannot or will not visualize the logical and practical outcome.” Like I said before, governments cannot make everybody happy.
I am sure that I am not the only one that read Ms. Lewis’ article and felt disgusted. When I got to the end I was relieved that Ms. Lewis had spoken to three small business owners who backed her belief by admitting discrimination. Considering that in 2006 there were approximately 6 million small business firms and over 20 million sole proprietorships, I hope that not everybody is putting as much weight on those three as Ms. Lewis is.
As for me, I still open doors for women (never had to attend sensitivity training), I still look at women, as I think it would be odd to look at the floor when I am talking to my boss or my subordinates (never been accused of sexual harassment, and I call them subordinates too), and I don’t complain when anybody takes a day off, because unlike 20 years ago when that reference was first used, most companies (including mine) have sick leave and holiday leave programs where the employee (male or female) are considered to have “earned” the time off.
Finally, I’m not sure where “Real America” is, but it would have been nice if Ms. Lewis let me know so I could stay far away. “Real America” sounds like a real drag where a man may get to come home and wipe his feet off on his doormat for a wife before she serves him dinner and gets him a beer, but that’s not for me or my girls.