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Rape Conviction Rates

I\’m reasonably certain that Daphna Baram didn\’t mean this to be taken this way but:

There is no indication of more judicial mistakes in rape convictions than in any other field of crime.

So, the low conviction rate is not a result of judicial mistakes, it\’s simply part and parcel of the nature of the crime and the difficulty of proving it. So can we have an end to the talk of the way in which the low conviction rates show that it\’s a uniquely badly dealth with crime?

The Myth of Mars and Venus

I love this. Deborah Cameron sets out to show that men and women are not as different as many claim. Things like the use of language, empathic versus systemizing behaviour etc. She even quotes Simon Baron Cohen:

The difference between the two lists reflects what Baron-Cohen takes to be the "essential difference" between male and female brains. The female-brain jobs make use of a capacity for empathy and communication, whereas the male ones exploit the ability to analyse complex systems. Baron-Cohen is careful to talk about -"people with the female/male brain" rather than "men and women". He stresses that there are men with female brains, women with male brains, and individuals of both sexes with "balanced" brains. He refers to the major brain types as "male" and "female", however, because the tendency is for males to have male brains and females to have female brains. And at many points it becomes clear that in spite of his caveats about not confusing gender with brain sex, he himself is doing exactly that.

Baron Cohen is very clear in his academic papers that he\’s talking about brain type, not XY or XX. Anyway, what amuses me is that having accused him of confusing gender with brain sex she then goes on to talk about the averages of men and women: that is, not making the distinction between brain type and gender.

Hmmm, Could it be?

Interesting little note here (yes, I know the survey was sponsored by the manufacturer of an energy drink):

It says: "Thirtysomething women today are on their knees suffering debilitating tiredness because there are simply not enough hours in their days to build in any relaxation time."

Eighty-five per cent of thirtysomething women say they frequently feel tired and 59 per cent of these feel tired all the time.

Only a quarter regularly enjoy seven or eight hours sleep a night, 75 per cent are lucky if they get six hours, and 40 per cent usually get by on less than six.

They snack, eat on the hoof, and almost half regularly phone in sick.

One in 10 has heart palpitations, a quarter suffer from asthma or eczema, and one in 10 suffers from shortness of breath.

The gender pay gap is virtually non-existent amongst those in their 20s, widens dramatically in the 30s and then starts to shrink again in the 40s and 50s. I wonder whether this could be anything to do with it?

One Difference Between Men and Women

I thought everyone knew this?

The profs measured the intelligence of 2,500 brothers and sisters and pronounced that males show a greater propensity for being both geniuses and morons than their female siblings.

Agreed, saying it is what got Larry Summers into so much trouble at Harvard but then it being something which the Harvard faculty insists it is impermissible to say bolsters rather than reduces the likelihood of its being true.

The distribution of attributes (whether it be height, intelligence, speed, strength, whatever) in males is wider than it is in females. Longer tails to the distribution if you like.

The most interesting (entirely unproven I might add) explanation for this came from a female biologist back when Summers was in all that trouble. It\’s exactly to do with the XX and XY. Y is such a truncated little thing that if there\’s a problem (read mutation?) with the sole X then there\’s no other copy of a gene to cover for it. Women, having two X\’s, are more likely (for a lack of a functioning gene in both X\’s is less likely than in just one) to have another copy of a gene that can take over. Thus, women are more likely to be "average", men more likely to be at the extremes of a distribution.*

Summers\’ problem was that he then mused that perhaps (and it very much was a perhaps) this explained the gender imbalance amongst Ivy League professors, especially in the hard sciences, where the people are drawn from the third and fouth standard deviations from the mean. Because there are more men in that pool. I don\’t think he would have got into so much trouble if he\’d pointed to the other end of the distribution, the population of those in homes for the feeble minded.

* Please note, I\’m absolutely certain that this will read wrongly to anyone who actually knows about this area of biology but the general gist should be clear.


Sex Discrimination

Really? This counts?

A couple of years ago, I advised a high flying professional who was being subject to overt sex discrimination at work. Not only was she told not to use her married name at work, on the basis that a switch from using her maiden name would demonstrate a lack of commitment to her job, but it transpired that the rest of her team had run a sweep stake on how soon she would leave work (to have children etc) after marrying. Fed up with this nonsense, she consequently resigned and there followed a substantial out of court settlement in her favour.

The nasty people are talking behind my back so giveme some money? That\’s sex discrimination these days?

We also get the classic statistical lie:

Women working full-time are still paid on average 17 per cent per cent less an hour than men (38 per cent less if they work part-time)

No, not true. Women, on average, who work part time. get paid 38% per hour less than men who work full time. Men who work part time also getpaid less per hour than men who work full time. In the private sector, the difference between male and female part time pay is around 11%.

That Gender Pay Gap Explained

Now, of course, we know that it shouldn\’t be like this. The law is the law and everyone should obey it. Indeed, we know that simply by passing a law we solve a problem and there are never any unintended consequences.

Women are losing out on jobs because some businesses avoid hiring those of child-bearing age because of maternity laws, research claims.

Some 63 per cent of executives say they find regulations pose a \”serious threat\” to their companies.

Almost one in five directors says they have avoided hiring women of child-bearing age because of the legal risk of being caught out by constant changes in rules on maternity pay and time off.

Such discrimination is illegal. But whether it is or not isn\’t quite the point. If 20% of directors avoid hiring women of child bearing age because of the maternity rules then that\’s one fifth of the economy off limits to such women of child bearing age. This will obviously have an effect upon the wages on offer. Just more fuel for the fire that is the obvious thought: the gender pay gap is, at least in part, caused by the laws on maternity leave etc.

My my, what a surprise. Perhaps it isn\’t possible to have it all, perhaps there really are trade offs that have to be made in real life?