June 11 2013

This Is Feminists’ Idea of a Celebration?

National Review Online

Carrie L. Lukas

Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, feminists are marking the occasion not with a celebration of women’s progress, but with yet another misleading PR effort to convince women that they are all victims of an overwhelmingly sexist society.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW), for example, sent a ridiculous solicitation from one of their representatives, describing how she is inculcating her daughter with the worst of victim-feminism:

Last week, I taught my 7-year-old daughter about the wage gap – as you can imagine, she was NOT happy about it. 

It was a simple lesson: “Imagine if I asked your cousin Timmy to take out the trash, and I gave him a dollar to do it,” I said to her. “And then, what if I asked you to do the exact same thing, but I only gave you 77 cents for doing the job. Does that sound fair?”

“Uh, NO!” she exclaimed, crossing her arms like only a stubborn 7-year-old can do. “That’s not fair at all! Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get the whole dollar!” (She added: “And I would probably do a better job than him anyway!”)

That’s when I explained to her that even though women are just as qualified and capable of doing the same jobs as men, some bosses still pay women less, just because they’re women. It happens to women in almost every job, I told her, including scientists (today she says she wants to be a scientist when she grows up, though she changes her mind almost every day!) 

AAUW is telling their daughters — and yours, if they have the chance — that they should expect men to consistently snatch their rightful earnings out of their hands. Nevermind that AAUW’s own study found that the majority of the wage gap is a result of women’s choices — number of hours worked, fields chosen, and other background characteristics – not discrimination. 

My group, the Independent Women’s Forum, has a very different message for girls and young women: We don’t believe they are all doomed to be future victims of discrimination, and we don’t want them entering life with a chip on their shoulders expecting to find sexism around each corner. Instead, we want them to understand that the choices that they make throughout their lives will have consequences. So we wrote our own “Dear Daughter” letter:

A lot of people are going to tell you that you are only paid 77 percent of what a man makes because you’re a girl. I want you to know that’s just not true. The much harder truth is that how much you earn depends mostly on the choices you make.

When you go to college be aware that the major you choose will make a big difference in your future earning potential. Engineering and computer science just pay better than psychology and social work. Later, you might want to start a family and choose to work less outside the home when you do. You might want more flexibility and a job that pays less but works better for your schedule. Today girls like you have more opportunity and choices than ever before – just remember, all choices come with tradeoffs.

Too often we measure success solely by our salaries. But that’s not how I want you to see your life. You can be President, run a major company, or choose a career that doesn’t pay as much but that you find fulfilling. You can be a career woman or a stay-at-home mom, or anything in between –I’ll be just as proud of you. I just want you to be you and to take responsibility for your choices.

There are people who will treat you unfairly because you’re a girl. And there are people who will treat your little brother unfairly because he’s a boy. But we are all protected under the law from gender discrimination, and you should never fail to defend yourself.

Just remember: It’s the ability to choose that make us free. All the wishing and laws in the world can never eliminate the need for us to make tradeoffs, and often government intervention hurts the very people they say they want to help.

In the end, the world is what you make of it.

We hope you’ll help us share this message — it’s one young women deserve to hear.

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