A Scientific Decoding of The End of Men (Finally)
I’ve been writing about The End of Men since before it came out. This idea of male demise is so shortsighted, so zero sum, so demoralizing for both genders that I have long ago stop even thinking about it in those terms. Here at the Good Men Project we even had more than one of the primary men profiled in the book reach out to us to let us know how they felt personally betrayed by what she had done and the way they were written about. “Enough,” has been my attitude. There is so much more important things to write and think about.
But someone sent me today’s NYT Economix column, written by economist Nancy Folbre. Ms. Folbre spends the first part of the column ripping apart the crap statistical methodology upon which Ms. Rosin builds her sandcastle fantasy of gender in modern America. She then points out the sacrifice economically made by either gender if they choose to stay home as a caregiver since resources are still scarce and the loss in advancement severe. While many, many more men stay home than they used to, there are still more stay-at-home moms than dads and, as a result, data that looks at late career comparisons are colored by family commitment patterns.
One valuable way to try to identify how men and women are doing economically, Ms. Folbre points out, is to compare salaries one year after college before anyone is staying home with the kids. To make the comparison fair you have to correct for the choice of field (more women than men go into non-profit industries that pay less by definition). Ms. Folbre concludes:
In this context, the new American Association of University Women study, “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” stands out as an example of state-of-the art statistical analysis. It focuses on young men and women with college degrees, working full time, one year after graduation, taking into account differences in college majors, grade point average, hours of work, occupations and tendency to work in the nonprofit sector. The results reveal a male pay advantage of about seven percentage points that can’t be explained away. That is, the men earn $100 for every $93 the young women earn.
Even for a guy who has fought hard against the perception that men don’t on many occasions get screwed, this result actually makes a lot of sense to me. There is still discrimination in the workplace. Not nearly as much as there was in prior generations but it is still there. Women making 7% less squares with what I have witnessed in my own work life. As a man I absolutely and unequivocally believe women should be paid the same as men for the same work. What Ms. Folbre’s column suggests is that we have made progress but have a distance yet to go in terms of gender-based economic equality.
Of course, as a guy who works at home to be with my kids, I would say we have just as far to go in terms of respecting the role of men as parents. But I’ve written on that extensively so will, for the moment, give that a rest too.