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Sexism Study, Take Two--the Absurdity Continues

I wrote earlier about a new study that shows sexist men make more money than egalitarian males. Quite frankly, there are too many variables in this study to come to much of any reliable or notable conclusion, much less the one the authors came up with. As I noted earlier, many of the participants were children when the data were first being gathered. Of what relevance is a child's salary or income? Second, I have serious problems with the way in which the participants were sorted out as being traditional or nontraditional in their views of gender roles:

To reveal their gender role views, participants indicated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements such as: a woman's place is in the home; employment of wives leads to more juvenile delinquency; a man should be the achiever outside the home; and women are much happier if they stay home and take care of children.

The statement "employment of wives leads to more juvenile delinquency" is so outrageous, it might have prompted me to think the researchers were kidding by posing it. I could easily see myself smacking them back by "strongly agreeing" with the statement just to show them how ridiculous their questions were. If the authors' view of "traditional" Americans is that "women are much happier if they stay home and take care of children," they need to look up the difference between "traditional" and "atavist."

Allow me, dear reader, to step back for a moment and agree that the study's conclusions are correct: Egalitarian men face pay discrimination in the same way women, whether traditional or not, apparently face it. What if egalitarian men, like many of their egalitarian female counterparts, don't want the 80-hour weeks so they can fully participate in the rearing of their children? Heaven forefend: Could that explain the pay gap these authors claim to have found?

The Post story noted one sliver of hope in that regard. "Increasing numbers of Americans hold egalitarian views about the role of women in the workplace, and the researchers suggested that if attitudes about gender roles are indeed at the core of the long-standing wage gap, disparities in income might recede as egalitarian views become more prevalent," the story said.

Or lower-income men might take note of the study's findings and decide they'd better adopt "traditional" (to wit, caveman) attitudes if they want to earn a good living. Back to the future we go.

By Bonnie Erbe

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