"... that all men are created equal..." Thomas Jefferson
"The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal." Kurt Vonnegut
Everyone in the world is born with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's what Jefferson referred to in his masterpiece declaring independence from Britain. It's no less true today than it was then. Everyone is born with these rights. Equally. These rights apply in all cases, whether these rights are respected or not.
These rights are respected in this country. Not only do all people equally have these rights, but also the right to be treated equally before the law. It doesn't matter if the individual in question is male or female, gay or straight, majority or minority, young or old. Each individual born in this country--or naturalized to it--has an equal right to succeed or fail by his or her own efforts and merits.
What is usually not equal is ability. And differing abilities bring about what seems, on the surface to be inequality.
I am not being sexist when I say that men and women have different abilities. It's a fact based in biology. Simple biology makes men physically stronger than women, more prone to take risks, more prone to be competitive. Simple biology makes women more likely to form positive social bonds, be more cooperative, and more cautions. Men are more likely to be stronger in the maths and sciences because of their tendency toward linear thinking, and mental focus to the exclusion of everything else. Women are far more likely to do well in language and reading based skills, and be better at multitasking. It's simple biology that makes the sexes different, makes them behave as they do.
What does all of this mean? Not a damn thing, really. It's just generalizations. Not all of either sex falls perfectly into the general rule. Generally, though, each sex has differences in ability and capability.
These differences explain apparent inequalities that special interest groups exploit. Like the perceived pay gap.
Numbers show that women make about three-quarters the wage that men do. Everyone knows that women, at a certain point in their careers, hit a glass ceiling that men never seem to. However, "everyone" is wrong, and the numbers don't take certain things into account.
First of all, the wages of all men and all women are averaged together. Sounds sensible, at first. However, women frequently take years at a time off to rear children, and come back into the work force behind in pay. Sometimes, they don't come back at all. And they're still averaged in. Men tend to take riskier, higher paying jobs, with more competition, and far more hours worked.
How many watch The Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch, for example? Those men are paid huge amounts of money to go out and risk their lives fishing for crab in some of the most dangerous waters in the world.
Men. Not women.
Men are also more likely to do jobs like underwater welding, or choose dangerous professions like law enforcement, or fire fighting. While there are women in these professions, they are still dominated by men. I don't believe it's sexism at work so much as who is better suited, physically, mentally, and emotionally, to the dangerous work.
Even in business, men tend to be higher in the corporate command structure. I don't believe that this is sexism at work, but differences in priority. Men are biologically wired to go out, kill the beast, and bring it home, either to feed their family or to attract a woman to build a family with. Women tend to work fewer hours, and count interpersonal relationships and family more important than success at work.
Granted, much of the time, those fewer hours are spent more productively, through the female ability to multitask, and cooperate to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. Once again, this is biologically wired in: anyone who has tried to raise small children and still get other things done knows this. However, though productivity is starting to count for more, it's still more difficult to measure than time on task.
In any case, perceived inequalities in position in the workforce and in pay tend to have their roots more in biological tendencies than in sexism. Men and women today are as equal as they, individually, want to be, and trying to force an artificial equality in outcome is likely to end in a society that no one wants to live in.
For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, click on the link to "Harrison Bergeron" under Recommended Reading to the right of the screen. It shows, far better than I can explain, what I mean.
4 minutes ago