A Step Forward and Then Two Back

Amanda Marcotte:

They have figured out what feminists have been noting for a long time—that the gap between men and women economically is now more a gap between mothers and everyone else.

It\’s not just feminists who have been saying this of couse, economists have been shouting it from the rooftops as well. Why, even I have been known to make the point a time or two. The gender pay gap is an issue of childbirth and child rearing, not a result of direct discrimination against women. Still good news that this important point is gaining traction on the wilder shores of the feminist blogosphere. That\’s the step forward.

But it’s also true that this is evidence that we need federally subsidized day care, more worker protections for working mothers, better maternal leave (and maybe even mandatory paternal leave), more flex time at work, and less social stigma on motherhood.

And that\’s the two steps back. For what is the mechanism by which child birth and child rearing create the gender pay gap? Why, it\’s because mothers of children are more expensive to employ. Because maternal leave costs money, because worker protections cost money, because flex time costs money. (Mandatory paternal leave would also cost money, which would convert the current gender pay gap into a parental pay gap.)

So the solution offered to the perceived inequity of economic income and freedom is to restrict said economic freedom and depress such incomes?

Perhaps slightly more thought is required here?



5 thoughts on “A Step Forward and Then Two Back”

  1. “Perhaps slightly more thought is required here?”

    Certainly, but it is unlikely to come from Amanda’s posse….

    ““social stigma on motherhood”? What?”

    You haven’t read a lot of Amanda, Mr E (lucky chap..). Motherhood is the way the patriarchy oppress women, of course.

  2. (Mandatory paternal leave would also cost money, which would convert the current gender pay gap into a parental pay gap.)

    Why would feminists cosider this a bad thing?

  3. That’s another reason for scrapping child-related tax credits and increasing Child Benefit to £30-plus for the first few children in each family (three? four?) and make it payable to the primary carer, i.e. the mother.

    Sure, mothers will earn less than others, but the extra £1,500 a year for each child will make up a fair bit of the difference in the simplest and least damaging way.

  4. Of course the upshot of all this is, that because I want a career, I am failing to reproduce, leaving the reproductive work to ladies many of whom (not all, of course) are perhaps less genetically, economically or socially fit to bring their children up. Offspring are therefore born to the less fit females of the species and the species will suffer as a result.

    Surely that’s a problem worth incentivising our way out of?

    Tim adds: Well, yes, but…..the definition of fit in an evolutionary sense is someone who does reproduce. That you (like myself) have not done so means that by definition, we are not evolutionary fit.

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