Simple solutions to complex situations

We should have equal opportunities.

We should have equal outcomes.

One of these two statements represents a desire to help others, the other is fascism.

An Australian university study has found what everyone who has ever met and interacted with other humans already knew; personality, cognitive skills and conscientiousness are more of a factor in career success than gender.

Their conclusion; invest in training to improve women’s skills and personalities, for example in being extroverted.

Facetiously, are they suggesting we try to make women more like men?

Perhaps the differences between male and female characters have served us well as a species?

The Chesterton quote seems relevant here, often summarised as; ” Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up”. The original quotation is as follows;

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

Obviously, gender-wide generalisations are just that; generalised. A man can be a natural carer just as a woman can be an extroverted powerful leader. It’s just that statistics show trends.

Should we accept those trends and legislate against or even knowingly inhibit the outliers following their chosen career path? Of course not, that would be fascism.

Should we inhibit people who fall into the trend to enable more outliers to be successful? Again, fascism.

There is an Australian government website here which hectors us to consider the inequality across the not so lucky country.

This infographic is quite amusing;

Western Australia has a shocking statistic there, doesn’t it?

Well, it does if you fail to consider the high wages paid to mine workers. It turns out that when it comes to equality, many women vote with their feet and actively choose not to work in dangerous environments, 45 degree heat and spending weeks away from home in the remote north of the state.

95% of Australian workplace fatalities are male. See if you can find that data point in the official statistics here.

The Finance and Insurance Services gap does look somewhat damning, however. It would be interesting to see a more detailed view of the data; is it skewed by 10 incredibly-well paid men at the top of the main institutions, perhaps?

Bill’s Opinion

There’s probably thousands of reasons why there’s a pay gap between men and women.

In order of materiality though, “sexism” is likely to be far lower down the list than;

– freely-made life choices

– suitability of personality type

– attitudes to physical danger

Question the data, question the agenda behind the data.

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