Women of the Future

On April 12, The Economist ran a story about the future of the world economy lying in female hands. Among the facts cited: Girls now perform better at school than boys; more women are getting university degrees than men; women are filling most new jobs. Worldwide since 1970 women have filled two new jobs for every one taken by a man. Educating girls is likely the best single investment that can be made in to boost prosperity in developing countries.

In the United States, men's employment rate has decreased 12 percentage points to 77 percent since 1950. Women's employment has increased from one-third to two-thirds in the same period. Women now make up almost half of America's workforce.

Why?

Since the 1950s, many formerly male educational institutions in the U.S. have opened to women, paving the way for women to get better paid, and more diverse, jobs. There's also been a big shift in America's economy towards more gender-neutral service jobs and away from manufacturing work that requires brawn. And there's feminism, which has encouraged and, some say, pressured women to get out and work.

Although some argue that women's entry into the workforce has stalled, The Economist points out that the future may see both more women at work and more women at higher levels. For every 100 men enrolling in higher education each year in America, there are 140 women doing the same. Two surveys (by Digital Look, a British financial Web site, and by Merrill Lynch) showed that women are better investors than men, earning consistently higher returns because they are less likely to overtrade and commit to risky ideas.

Smarter, richer, better employed? Sounds really good. But it hardly seems that way when I look around. These facts make me feel great as a woman and mother of two daughters. Yet there's this niggling doubt, too, that education and superior investing skills don't trump basic prejudice against women and the lower pay women receive on average. Plus, I don't want women to have to be superior to men, just equal in every way. Looking at these facts, I understand why men might be collectively threatened by all the advances women have made in a relatively short period of fifty years.

How do these facts make you feel? Empowered? Threatened? Optimistic? Disillusioned?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 1, 2006; 7:35 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News , Research
Previous: Friday Free-for-All --Who's The Decider? | Next: Good Mom Meet Good Employee


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



I find these stats encouraging. They give me hope that my daughter will enter a workforce that's better for women than today's workforce is, just as the one I entered was better than my mother's was.

I know it's incredibly easy to get angry over how much prejudice and inequality still exists, even in these supposedly enlightened times. But last weekend, I found myself browsing through my mom's high school and college yearbooks. looking at the stated future goals og the graduates, one would think that there were only three jobs in the world back in the '60s -- teacher, nurse and secretary. The truly ambitious listed "executive secretary" as their goal. These yearbooks, more than anything else has, made me realize what a different world we inhabit than our moms did.

Not that we shouldn't keep fighting for the things that we should already have, like equal pay. I just think your facts are something to be proud of, even as we work towards even better ones.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 1, 2006 8:45 AM

Ms Steiner writes: "Yet there's this niggling doubt, too, that education and superior investing skills don't trump basic prejudice against women and the lower pay women receive on average."

I am 50 years old, will I be perceived as equal by my superiors, probably not, but I think my 10 year daughter will be when she reaches adulthood. The managers of the future, both men and women are entering the workplace now. They don't see anything unusual about women managing them and working side-by-side with women because that's all they know.

Both men and women are reaping the benefits of companies learning to accomodate working parents. This will no longer be an issue for my daughter. By the time my child begins work, her managers will be those who have seen more women in the engineering and sciences than ever before. In fact, I suspect that many will expect the best and brightest to be women rather than men.

I've seen huge changes over the past 30 years in my chosen career. No longer am I the only woman in a meeting filled with men. No longer do you automatically assume that the older woman in the room is the executive secretary of some higher-up. Quite often that older woman is the higher-up.

The last big hurdle I see is the physical perception people have. I find that older men are considered distinguished and wise. Older women on the other hand look like someone's grandmother. And face it no one thinks their grandmother is endowed with great business wisdom.

Posted by: Working_Mom | May 1, 2006 9:21 AM

Women are undoubtedly better off today than they have ever been, in my opinion. However, there is still work to do. I see anti-abortion laws and the sexualization of young girls and women as strong obstacles the women's movement has to face.

Posted by: Rita | May 1, 2006 10:15 AM

Ms. Steiner,

Your post of several days ago listed women's pay to men's pay as 77%; however, a host of people questioned your statement and statistical data and the report you retrieved this information. If I am not mistaken, you never responded to anyone's comments or criticisms. Now you write a fresh blog and have a link to your previous blog with the questionable data. In the statistical world, what you did is called numbers laundering.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 10:20 AM

After talent and experience I think it all comes down to how much drive and ambition you have and how willing you are to commit one hundred percent towards reaching your goals. I think it also can be said that men generally crave power more then women do and are more likely to take risks to get what they want. On the other hand women are capable of being all the things listed above but on average I think it is to a slightly lesser degree as society and nature puts more pressure on women to take care of children and have a life outside of work. I don't think things are going to change much more in the future. I don't ever see males becoming second class citizens; I men will always make it up a majority in high power positions for the reasons described above. At the same time there will always be a lot more loser men then loser women out there for the reasons listed above. Nothing is going to change that.

Posted by: Peter | May 1, 2006 10:39 AM

I think it's a really good time to be a woman, and it worries me as a feminist that the same is not true for men. Another related issue is the fact that many talented and competent women used to perform those 3 jobs --teacher, nurse, secretary/administrative assistant -- and that we as a society all suffer now that they are being filled by people who are indifferent, incompetent, or on their way somewhere else. I don't think we need to go backward, of course. I just don't think we're ready for the Hallelujah chorus quite yet. It's not a better world on the whole if it's not better for everyone.

Posted by: Hester L. Furey | May 1, 2006 10:47 AM

Hester,

The caliber of employee willing to take jobs as a nurse, teacher or secretary has declined because the feminist movement gave everyone the idea that since anyone could be a lawyer or doctor or manager, something is wrong with you if you are a nurse, teacher or secretary.

I'm an executive secretary, and I love my job, but I hate people's reaction to it - like you, they assume that I am unambitious and incompetent, which couldn't be further from the truth.

Posted by: Kid Free in Alexandria | May 1, 2006 11:37 AM

Why have women not made progress equal to their advances in employment and education in politics? In 1973 six women were elected to Congress raising the percentage of women in Congress to 4% in 2006 that percentage is only 14%

Posted by: John | May 1, 2006 11:37 AM

As a woman and a young mother of two sons, I'm angered by the Economist's article. Of course women are filling more new paid jobs than men, we have a lot of catching up to do! Let's not be fooled into thinking that the battle for women's equality has been fought and won. We are in the thick of it, and society is fighting back, with ever increasing demands on women to be perfect in all facets of life, wear size two clothes, eraticate all signs of aging, earn money, keep house, raise child prodigies, etc., etc., etc. I look around me and see so many intelligent, strong young women with so much potential to influence the world for good, but you know what? They all having eating disorders and inferiority complexes. Something's wrong.

Posted by: Katie Aldrich | May 1, 2006 11:41 AM

Cheers to Kid Free: I, too, am a single, childless executive secretary and count my blessing every day. I am nearing 60. Back in the olden days, women were destined to become teachers or nurses if your parents were rich and could send you to college. If you were poor, you became a waitress or secretary (learned typing and shorthand for free in high school). I have been working to support myself since I left home at 19. I worked two jobs (Monday to Friday full-time; weekends part-time) to pay for night school without a dime from my parents. How many of your rich Yuppies can make the same statement? You always have a rich daddy or husband to support you. I got an AA degree after 6 years of night school, and a paralegal certificate through a correspondence course. So, my education is certainly as high-falutin' as Hahvahd or Yale, I worked for it. I work as a legal secretary in a big law firm and take orders from women half my age. The women attorneys make the same salaries as the men, but many are on the mommy-track and can't give their career all the diligence it needs. Of course these women want all the perks, like paid maternity leave, part-time schedules to raise a family, day care at the office. Give us a break, ladies. You had 'em, you raise 'em. You can't have it all -- either delay nurturing to have a career, or delay the career to get this nurturing out of your system. Women's lib is a double-edged sword.

I retire from this rat race in 30 months and counting.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | May 1, 2006 12:05 PM

So sad that Southern Maryland thinks nurturing is something that just needs to be gotten "out of your system." For some of us human beings, nurturing is what we do every day, every month, every year. It's not some distasteful affliction from which mothers suffer.

And Kid-Free in Alexandria, there have ALWAYS been people (men and women) who thought that being a secretary or nurse or teacher (or a city worker or a machinist) somehow isn't "good enough." And there always will be people like that. Sorry, but you can't blame that one on feminism.

Posted by: Jeez Louise | May 1, 2006 12:18 PM

>> Among the facts cited: Girls now perform
>> better at school than boys;
Better on average, but at the extremes they lag WAY behind.

>> more women are getting university
>> degrees than men;
Bill Gates never got a degree... Many of the 'tech' jobs, that are new that were taken by men in the 90's were taken by men who never earned degrees.

>> women are filling most new jobs.
>> Worldwide since 1970 women have filled
>> two new jobs for every one taken by a
>> man.
I'm not sure what this is intended to show... other than to verify the later statistic that says the rate of employment by women has increased faster than men...

>> Educating girls is likely the best
>> single investment that can be made in
>> to boost prosperity in developing
>> countries.

Ummm... this is likely because they work WAY cheaper than a man doing a similar job.

Don't get me wrong, I think the encouragement of ALL people in a society to participate in the 'work for cash' sector of the economy is a good thing, but it's hardly the only thing. What have been the costs in the context of the loss of a male identity when as you note there is an increase in 'gender neutral' positions? What about issues raised by 'the minds of boys' with reguard to the 'gender neutralization' of the classroom alienating boys? Having two sons, these things bother me, especially when I hear the older one telling me he needs to 'act stupid' to get along in class (granted he's Pre-K, but the point is still there)... Has this bold new experiment merely flipped the roles of girls and boys between generations? Is that really good for society?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 12:22 PM

"You had 'em, you raise 'em" - does this directive also apply to the male lawyers in your firm with children, or just the women?

Posted by: No Children But Not a Jerk | May 1, 2006 12:24 PM

Oh come on, don't assume that all lawyers had some rich parent or relative bankrolling our education. I, for one, didn't. I paid my way through college and law school by working, grants, and lots and lots of loans, which I'm still paying back and will be for quite some time. My parents paid for a few thousand dollars a year of my college (what they could afford), and after that I was on my own.

Speaking as part of the (at least somewhat) new generation, at 29, I haven't seen evidence of gender discrimination in my career. I have worked in places where I was the only young female and the majority of the lawyers were late-middle-aged white men, however. But they were so conscious of sexual harassment issues that they were afraid to even compliment me on my shoes. I think that as the baby boom and older generations retire, the atmosphere of the workplace will change a lot. My law school class was 49 percent women. Most of them intend to have children. Most of them intend to keep working when they have children. This can't not change the workplace.

Posted by: Girl Lawyer | May 1, 2006 12:33 PM

Southern Maryland is a perfect example of the "mature" secretaries at my firm...convinced that because an opportunity was good enough for them that it should carry sufficient prestige for anyone else (read: young women) today regardless of our drive, talent, and investment in education. In my experience, too many of these women feel they shouldn't -and don't- have to "take orders" from the women half their age and retaliate by procrastinating, doing shoddy work, or simply refusing, while cheerfully and eagerly supporting the young men. This lack of respect is painful for me because I was raised to believe that I was just as good as the boys, and my superiors' expectations are that I should be just as good as the men, but these ladies have actually found a way to let me know that they believe I'm not. And by the way, I have worked as an "executive secretary" in the past.

Posted by: Young woman associate | May 1, 2006 12:42 PM

Are you bitter about life Southern MD? You shouldn't stereotype all female attorneys. I am a working mom who is an attorney, and I have always provided for myself. I did not have a rich dad to pay for college or law school nor do I have a rich husband to take care of me. In fact, my husband and I earn about the same salaries. If something ever happened to him, I know that financially I am able to support myself and my children thanks to the "feminists" that laid the ground work for me to be able to achieve what I have in my life, and I thank goodness that we have the options now for part-time, teleworking, flex-time, etc... These may not have been options for you 30 years ago, but you should be happy that women have come so far as to be able to "demand" these options.

Posted by: bitter at life? | May 1, 2006 12:48 PM

To Southern Maryland:

Would it make any difference if you were taking orders from men half your age?

If women don't demand "perks", how will they ever get them?

Just how far back would you like to turn the clock?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 12:48 PM

Speaking as a 40-something in the tech field who has had a few women as managers, I have yet to see the discrimination claimed by many. (caveat: I do not know salaries, so I can't speak to that) Where I work now, most of the levels above me are filled by women, some who do well, and others not so well.

What kills me is when they start complaining about the same stress issues that the men do. Equality comes in all areas, not just the good. Most women I have talked to will not work the extra hours unless they are single and don't have any extra-curriculars or unhappy in their home lives. Most men I have talked with consider the extra hours part of the job and part of advancement. (Legal profession notwithstanding. You lawyers, male and female, are NUTS with billing hours!)

Posted by: Working Dad | May 1, 2006 12:57 PM

I seem to have rattled some cages. Why are you young women and mothers so touchy? Get a grip. I don't believe stretch marks confer sainthood. Being able to bear children does not mean you are capable of raising them. Most women use motherhood as a leverage to get what they want without having to work for it, like Aid for Dependent Children (Hey, I'll just become a baby factory and get lots of money!), or coming in late to work because of a teacher meeting, or not coming in at all because of a sick kid. You were hired to do a job, not to use motherhood as an excuse to not showing up.

Many of the attorneys in my office have working spouses, so they turn their kids over to non-English speaking housekeepers and nannies. You've never seen such a bunch of rich, screwed up kids. I grew up during the decades after WWII, where, as my mother used to say, 'woman is man's n*****.' We were all treated shabbily. My mother controlled us by saying "Shut up and do as you're told," "You're not too big to get slapped," and "Some day I'm walking out of here and never coming back." Our high school yearbooks were filled with girls whose ambitions were merely to get their 'Mrs. degree.' I thought it was pathetic then and I cringe at it now.

As I said, women's lib is a double-edged sword and you can't have it all. Choose your priorities and stop whining.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | May 1, 2006 1:08 PM

I'm a 20-something professional woman who was recently asked to talk at a career day for at-risk girls. On a stage with a bunch of other professional women -- the rest in their 40s or older -- I was struck by how differences our expreriences have been. One questioner asked us what obstacles we've encountered because we're women, and I couldn't think of any. Several weeks later, I still can't think of any.

I was raised to believe that I could be anything I wanted, as long as I worked hard, and that I'd still be valued. I think this is true of a lot of my peers -- both male and female -- and it's an experience that makes reading this blog often feel like an anthropological expedition.

All of my friends from high school and college set out onto career paths after school, and all of them -- men and women both -- have professional goals.

I happen to have only two friends who have children so far. One male, one female. Both decided that their spouse's higher salary was enough to support the family, so I have an at-home mom friend and an at-home dad friend.

The dad does get raised eyebrows from time to time, because his path is a little less conventional, but as far as I know everyone respects him for doing it. I also respect my mom friend, who's just as smart and interesting as she was when she and I were colleagues.

When my grandmother was born in the 19-teens, she entered a United States where women couldn't vote. It's pretty amazing how much the world has changed.

Posted by: CS | May 1, 2006 1:14 PM

"The dad does get raised eyebrows from time to time, because his path is a little less conventional, but as far as I know everyone respects him for doing it. " I doubt that Dad you mentioned gets much respect at all at least from younger men like me. I don't have a problem with it but it's doubtful that I would ever hang out with the guy.

Posted by: Peter | May 1, 2006 1:33 PM

Southern Maryland, you have serious problems. And one massive chip on your shoulder. Good grief. I am an executive secretary too, and you don't speak for me or most of the women who work alongside me. But I do know your type, and Young Woman Associate, you nailed it. Believe me, honey, I'll bet your co-workers are counting the days 'til you retire just like you are.

Posted by: Unreal | May 1, 2006 1:37 PM

Peter- don't worry- he probably wouldn't be interested in hanging out with someone with such a limited range of thought.

Posted by: MD | May 1, 2006 1:40 PM

Peter, how can you say you don't have a problem with it if you wouldn't hang out with him?

Like: "I don't have a problem with you - I'll just totally ostracize you and refuse to spend time with you. I don't have a problem or anything with you, though."

???

Posted by: ??? | May 1, 2006 1:46 PM

Peter's post reminds me of how people often add a disclaimer that they're not JUDGING someone, which is supposed to let them off the hook no matter how critical or nasty what they're saying is.

"I'm not judging you. I mean, I could never bring myself to do something as horrible and repulsive as what you're doing. I'm not judging you, though."

Posted by: ??? | May 1, 2006 1:48 PM

Amen, Unreal.

Posted by: Yep | May 1, 2006 1:49 PM

Southern Maryland said: "Most women use motherhood as a leverage to get what they want without having to work for it." LOL! Yes, that's exactly why I had children, because I didn't want to work!! What a ludicrous statement. Spoken like a women who has no idea what she's talking about.

Posted by: MJEMom | May 1, 2006 1:53 PM

Also, I'm not so convinced that boys are now being "shortchanged" in schools while girls are running the show. That sounds like backlash talk to me. As for kids needing to "act dumb" to fit in, well, I think we can all say that that has always been the case, even more so for girls than for boys. That was true when I was growing up in the 80's, at least, I was bored to tears in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, because I already knew how to read and was told to sit quietly and be patient while the other kids learned to read. And forget adolescence - there's nothing worse than being a brainy girl trying to fit in socially. I know several of my friends purposely would get answers wrong on tests so people wouldn't know they were so smart. Maybe that has changed now and smart girls are appreciated, but given the trend our culture has taken toward materialism and celebrity-emulating, I doubt that is the case.

Posted by: Girl lawyer | May 1, 2006 1:55 PM

I probably wouldn't be hanging out with him because if he's out raising a kid full time and I'm out at work all the time we're not likely to cross paths. Also there is also not much to relate to. Maybe when I'm older and have kids things would change but as a younger male it's highly unlikely I'd ever hang out with the guy.

Posted by: Peter | May 1, 2006 1:58 PM

no matter what Leslie posts, even the least controversial (IMHO) subjects, she brings out the most outrages thoughts in people (witness southern maryland)... is it Leslie or the subject of women.. or what is it?

I am not an attorney but how can a legal secretary judge if an attorney is/is not doing her job? Maybe that working mother who just got in late from a teachers meeting can do legal briefs with her eyes closed. It's the same variation of "you are not there therefore you are not working" motto which I am so sick of hearing from older men bosses.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 2:04 PM

Peter, what about saying you wouldn't respect him? It's fine with me if you guys just wouldn't meet, but saying you wouldn't respect him is surprising.

Posted by: Ms L | May 1, 2006 2:05 PM

I'm not so sure that all these well educated women who applaud each other for fighting our country's wars, driving their SUV to their prestigious jobs, taking their daily dose of birth control, and working long hours laboring over a powerpoint presentation are actually happier than their own mother. It seems to me, and this only my own personal observation, that the women that work in my office are the most frustrated, stressed, and in some cases, just downright angry individuals. Is there a gender gap of who's taking anxiety medications? I know that the boys get drugged the most in elementary schools, and this phenomena is most recognized in areas of affluence. It looks like females in general have a favorable disposition for the classroom / office setting.
by reading the papers lately, I also wunder who's having all the babies and raising the next generation of adults. Illegal immigrants? Probably not a bad thing for it has been written long ago that the porr will inherit the earth. Now step back and watch exactly how this saga unfolds.

Posted by: Office Guy | May 1, 2006 2:15 PM

Not sure what this has to do with balancing being a working person and a parent?

People who are driven will succeed, usually.

Things will get better as people make them better. Statistics really have nothing to do when discussing a specific person's issues.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 2:15 PM

"Most women use motherhood as a leverage to get what they want without having to work for it."

Yeah, uh huh. Is that what your mother used it for? Perhaps that's why you're so bitter about it.....

Posted by: incredulous | May 1, 2006 2:16 PM

Southern Maryland,

Your post is truly sad. I'm not a psychologist, but even with my limited scientific knowledge from Intro Psychology (which I paid for, not my parents) I believe you have some serious issues floating between your left and right brain. Not that there's anything wrong with your current status, but your issues may have a great deal to do with being almost 60, single and without children. Sounds like you have some regrets.

Perhaps you can use your next 30 months for some serious personal reflection, then get to the business of finding some joy in your life once you retire.

Posted by: Stephanie | May 1, 2006 2:17 PM

Southern Maryland,

You suffered verbal and emotional abuse as a child. Go get some help!

Posted by: get some therapy | May 1, 2006 2:21 PM

I'm just being honest about human nature. People automatically judge and react to people differently based upon their looks and their status in society. People flock to those with power, fame, or beauty. People respond to me differently when I'm dressed in a suit as opposed to when I'm dressed casually. Likewise I know people will respond to me more favorably when this weight workout routine I've begun starts getting visual results. A stay at home Dad has lower social status then one who is out with a succesful career in the world. I know that sounds terrible but it's the reality of the world.

Posted by: Peter | May 1, 2006 2:21 PM

Southern Maryland is absolutely right: in spite of feminist brainwashing, no one - male OR female can have it all.

Businesses do not exist for the purpose of accomodating employees - Ford & GM found THAT one out the hard way, didn't they?

If men or women wish to raise children, they can do it on THEIR time, not the company's. Business had no say in the conception of children, so why should they have to subsidize something over which they have no say?

Posted by: Registered Voter | May 1, 2006 2:27 PM

Young woman associate: Thanks very much, good point about the older ladies catering to the young men but ignoring/harrassing the young women who work with them. That's exactly what I've always dealt with. Must be a generational thing, but all that bitterness is a shame. Don't let 'em get you down, though! Onward and upward, as per usual...

Southern MD reminds me of these ladies, actually. Seems angry at anyone who doesn't choose the exact path she did. Eh, whatever, lady.

Posted by: juliette | May 1, 2006 2:36 PM

Response to John's question on why women lag behind in politics: The short answer is that women only comprise 14% of the members of Congress (as one example) because they comprise about 14% of the candidate pool. For a host of reasons (personal, psychological, occupations, cultural), women are less likely to run for office than are men. However, when women do run, they are just as likely as men to win. So the key is to get more women to run for office at every level of government.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 2:43 PM

Voter: The company I work for has a pretty freakin' lenient family leave policy... maybe GM can't handle it, but there are companies that successfully do. And I'm not talking about wow-I-wish-I-worked-there companies like Google (my personal fave), either. Not saying it's right, just saying it is being done.

Posted by: juliette | May 1, 2006 2:45 PM

Yes, there is certainly a niche for "lifestyle" firms of all kinds, who have a more liveable work life for their employees and also pay less. Some people are willing to give up quite a bit of money for less stress and more leisure time. It's still a good deal for the employer. Less turnover, to boot.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 2:51 PM

Why should businesses accommodate people who have children? Because, now that both men and women are in the workforce, someone has to take care of the kids. In many cases, both parents might need to adopt more flexible schedules once they have kids. Businesses can't just pretend that they're only employing men who have stay at home wives anymore. In most cases, supporting two (or more) people now takes two incomes. That's just reality. It really doesn't have anything to do with women "wanting it all." Women are now fully contributing members of society, and that isn't going to change. You can't chase us back to the kitchen that easily.

As far as Southern Maryland's apparent resentment of new generations of women, all I can say is, many women in my office are in their late 50's/early 60's, and they are attorneys, sometimes at the management level, with children and husbands and everything else. They enjoy their lives and are not bitter at those of us who are younger. To all appearances, they do "have it all." So I'm finding it hard to strike up the pity party for the lack of opportunities of women that age. I know it was much less tolerated in the past for women to have careers, but many managed to just the same.

Posted by: Girl lawyer | May 1, 2006 2:52 PM

Yes, there is certainly a niche for "lifestyle" firms of all kinds, who have a more liveable work life for their employees and also pay less. Some people are willing to give up quite a bit of money for less stress and more leisure time. It's still a good deal for the employer. Less turnover, to boot.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 2:53 PM

Thanks, Office Guy and Registered Voter:

In my yearbook summary I wanted to be the first woman astronaut. However, being the child of a blue-collar worker and housefrau, I didn't make it. I had to start work to earn a living instead of getting a 4-year free ride through college. Can Sally Ride type 90 words a minute? I've been working to support myself longer than most of you young women have been alive, so stop the personal attacks. Most of you sound very angry and bitter, too. I have a right to express my opinion, the same as you do. So pull in the claws.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | May 1, 2006 3:02 PM

Back to the topic: I am thrilled that my children are growing up in a world on increasing gender equality.

When my mother (now 69) went to law school, there was only one ladies room in the entire school. When she started her first job, she was paid less than her male colleagues. Discrimination against working women was real and pervasive.

I didn't have to face this type of blatant discrimination when I became a lawyer. My struggles as a working mother have involved finding quality child care and making sure I wasn't "Mommy tracked" at work.

I am confident that one day my struggles will seem to my children as remote as my mother's difficulties seemed to me.

Posted by: MM | May 1, 2006 3:05 PM

To Southern Maryland:
Why so angry?

Posted by: VA Mom who studied hard and paid her own way | May 1, 2006 3:08 PM

Southern Maryland's comments smack of social attitudes that prompted me to move away from the South as soon as I reached the age of majority.

She seems to hate financially successful women and people of color. Well guess what? Women and people of color comprise the majority in our country. Get used to it.

I believe firmly that some workplace habits are worth replacing. Technology has made it possible for men and women to have meaningful family lives without sacrificing high quality work products. Studies prove that workplace arrangements that you scoff at actually increase productivity. From a benefit-cost perspective, they make more sense than arrangements that were common when you were a young (and undoubtedly very angry) worker.

At least in some sectors, the twin variables of technology and of increased upper eschelon career access points for women have increased the quality of life for women and men, both financially and personally.

The workplace has changed for the better, Southern Maryland. You might as well get used to it, even though you will be watching additional developments from your rocking chair.

There is a God.

Posted by: sentheru | May 1, 2006 3:26 PM

Southern Maryland is a cliche blog "troll." She pops in, makes a comment (two, actually) that disparrage women and mothers. Then, when people respond to what she wrote, she accuses THEM of being angry and tells THEM to stop making personal attacks.

Don't dish it out if you can't take it, SM. :-)

Posted by: cliche troll | May 1, 2006 3:28 PM

"Businesses do not exist for the purpose of accomodating employees - Ford & GM found THAT one out the hard way, didn't they?"

Gee, now you are a union rep and a Ford GM executive, what a busy life you must have.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 3:37 PM

As we know from the WM/SAHM debate, the most vitriolic attacks against women often come from other women who feel compelled to justify their own choices. In movitaion, Southern Maryland's hostile judgments are meant to justify her own life; in content, they are aimed at other women who have made different choices. Male-identified women also frequently descend to gendered remarks like the one she makes about "claws."

Posted by: Kelli | May 1, 2006 3:37 PM

As we know from the WM/SAHM debate, the most vitriolic attacks against women often come from other women who feel compelled to justify their own choices. In motivation, Southern Maryland's hostile judgments are meant to justify her own life; in content, they are aimed at other women who have made different choices. Male-identified women also frequently descend to gendered remarks like the one she makes about "claws."

Posted by: Kelli | May 1, 2006 3:38 PM

I agree that the advancement women have made is very encouraging. I think we need to continue to build on the foundation previous generations have lain for us, and take the initiative to correct any "side-effects" of the feminine movement that we feel needs corrected, like taking the stigma off some occupations such as teaching and nursing. Recently my company (one very committed to work/life and diversity) sponsored a session on the Sisters of 77' documentary. Something they stressed in that film, that I agree with is that in some ways, women have begun to take close to equal status we enjoy for granted, and need to be careful to not get complacent. If we begin to ever see a backward trend, or as new issues arise, we need to ensure that we are able as a generation to bridge cultural gaps remain a strong force to be reckoned with.

That said, I am a full time working Mom in the financial industry. Although my company is very accomodating, we tend to deal with things often of a time sensitive nature. The company needs to know that when you need to be there, you will be. (Barring a TRUE emergency.) It requires balance to ensure that you do not create a perception with co-workers that may be male with a SAHW, or childless, that you are working any less hard than they are. It also requires for you to CLEARLY lay out your priorities, and recognize your limitations. If you definitely want to agressively pursue your career AND be a mother, maybe it's a better idea to have 1 or 2 kids, instead of 3 or 4. And maybe if you have 4, it's not a good idea to work full time, AND go for your MBA, AND try to look like Jessica Simpson while doing it.

You can have it all...just not all at once.

Posted by: phillymom | May 1, 2006 3:40 PM

"Southern Maryland, you have serious problems. And one massive chip on your shoulder. Good grief. I am an executive secretary too, and you don't speak for me or most of the women who work alongside me. But I do know your type, and Young Woman Associate, you nailed it. Believe me, honey, I'll bet your co-workers are counting the days 'til you retire just like you are."

I have to agree. When we're talking about sexism in the workplace, we absolutely cannot discount the vicious sexism that some older non-professional women exhibit toward younger women. In my very successful 20-year legal career, I've absolutely gone out of my way to placate this very dangerous type and prove to them that I am the exception to their general rule that women attorneys are fools. Frankly, it's the best you can do with them, girls. Men in your law firms won't even understand the idea that women can be sexist to women.

Why are they this way? Not because they are mean or crazy. I disapprove of the name-calling here. But because, generationally, they've absorbed, digested, and believed the sexism. They are saying and doing things that the men their age know not to say -- but still think. They are, in a word, sexist.

They don't know they are, of course. To them, the world just seems upside down and crazy -- all these young women coming in and screwing things up and asking for -- gasp! -- child care!! Double-gasp!

Don't attack them. Just placate them and give them room to change. As with sexist men, it's the best you can hope for. And remember, as we've seen in the posts above, there are plenty of older executive secretaries who are not sexist too; these people are invaluable sources of information and can be true friends to you.

I firmly believe that twenty years from now, this problem will be gone. Work around them and wait for them to retire.

Posted by: Julie | May 1, 2006 3:42 PM

"Looking at these facts, I understand why men might be collectively threatened by all the advances women have made in a relatively short period of fifty years."

I beg to differ. It's taken us over a couple hundred thousand years to make it to this point, NOT 50.

I'm cautiously optimistic. My daughter is a school psychol and approx. 30 credits shy of her PsyD. She's working part time while raising a daughter of three years with the hopes of another child in the next year. I hope she doesn't get penalized for that in the long term.

Posted by: Maine woman | May 1, 2006 3:47 PM

Oh, and I can't resist adding, in honest response to Southern Maryland's comment, "Can Sally Ride type 90 words a minute?"

Um, the silence in response to this question is the sound of time passing you by. The skill of typing 90 words a minute isn't a job skill people want anymore. You're not superior to the younger, better-educated women because you can type fast.

Sally Ride's professional background includes physics. Mine includes advanced mathematics. And I'm a little closer to your age -- I'm 50 -- and I assure you that my parents didn't have money either. But I didn't wallow or feel sorry for myself, and I graduated Phi Beta Kapp from an Ivy League institution.

Wow, criticizing Sally Ride for what she couldn't do -- saying how you'd would have wanted to be an astronaut too but it wasn't in the cards for you.

Let you in on a little secret. I once had the privilege and honor of representing a female astronaut in litigation. Wow, it just never ever occurred to me to view her as a spoiled little rich girl. It never occurred to me to be jealous of her. I had only admiration for her. She was a truly self-made woman, and woman like that tend not to blame others for their station in life.

Tsk, tsk. Sally Ride is also a supreme athlete, and the irony of the whole thing is that it's as likely as not that she can type 90 words a minute. All we know for certainty is that her resume is too long and accomplished to bother with that fact.

Posted by: Julie | May 1, 2006 3:54 PM

Food for thought...

About 12 years ago, I worked with a woman who left her job to take a position at a woman-owned & run business. She thought it would be the greatest thing imagineable - no more of the unpleasant things that she believed were the product of a male run environment.

6 months later I had a drink with her one night & she was completely disillusioned. The reason...? Those qualities that she had associated with a male run business - greed, treachery, unbridled ambition - turns out they're not gender specific. She was a very intelligent woman, but she had gained a great deal wisdom from her all female experience.


Posted by: Registered Voter | May 1, 2006 3:55 PM

it really saddens me that in all of these discussions we talk about children as something abstract and downright anti-societal. as a working mother who struggled for many many years with infertility i am deeply hurt by comments from registered voter, southern maryland, and others. If you dont' like children or women who have them and men who help raising them, there must be other blogs out there for people like you.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 3:56 PM

To the anonymous poster who wrote:

"'Educating girls is likely the best single investment that can be made in to boost prosperity in developing countries.'

Ummm... this is likely because they work WAY cheaper than a man doing a similar job."

The prosperity that women can bring has much less to do with the wage gap than with the fact that in many developing countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, half the potential labor force (read: women) is undereducated and absent from the work force. Once girls and young women become more highly educated, once they begin to participate as economic actors, we should see a rise in productivity and prosperity (for families, as well as for the aggregate).

Back to the topic of the blog, I teach university level feminist theory and women in politics classes. As a 32-year old, I can't really say that I've confronted lots of hurdles personally, but the female students I teach are SO impressive. They really belive that the world is theirs. And they're savvy, so they recognize that women still face structural barriers and various forms of discrimination, but they're also smart and engaged and motivated. (For the record, I have incredible male students too.) I can't help but think that things will change a lot once today's 18-22 year olds start to make their mark in the professional world.

Hurrah!

Posted by: rkb | May 1, 2006 3:59 PM

To the anonymous poster above rkb:

Sorry that you're hurt by my sentiments. My point simply is to counter what I believe to be the flawed thesis of our hostess. Ms. Steiner seems to believe that the world should bend over backwards to accomodate her desire to have it all.

I know plenty of type A people...male & female who believe they can have it all. Without exception, they're the most miserable lot of people to be around...all working from the same flawed premise.

Life is about making choices. One can choose to pursue a couple of interests - given our FINITE amount of time - and do them reasonably well. Or one can choose to pursue everything that catches their whim & half a$$ ALL of them.

Posted by: Registered Voter | May 1, 2006 4:16 PM

This blog is aimed at people with children (whether stay at home or working full-time outside the house). I find it funny the number of people who don't have kids and post here (most of whom are anti-kids). Registered-voter, if you're so keen on productivety, why are you wasting your time responding to blogs... businesses don't make money that way. That said it is important for company's to help families with children. Look at it this way, if the educated class in this country decided not to have kids because it wasn't possible to do it all, you'd soon face a shortage of workers. You'd have a growing class of underprevildged people and a shrinking class of educated people. This is the same problem many third world countries are facing right now. Perhaps slightly off-topic, but then again, most of these posts are.

Posted by: New to DC | May 1, 2006 4:23 PM

I actually appreciate many of the comments from childless people on the blog (even though I often disagree with them). It's good to have different viewpoints of the same topic. It can be helpful and valuable and hopefully it helps create more respect of people's different perspectives.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | May 1, 2006 4:30 PM

I really, really hope that things continue to improve for women in the workplace. There is a lot of scientific evidence that improving the financial lot and power of women improves the overall economy, helps children, of course helps all women, and generally makes society better.

However, at age 29, I have to say I have encountered a lot of discrimination and discouragement during my education and career as a Ph.D.-level scientist. Even though my test scores and grades indicate that I am in the top 0.1% intelligence bracket and even though I have managed to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry from an Ivy league school, I've gotten all kinds of crap along the way because of my gender. From the research advisor who told me not to bother since I'd just have babies some day to the advisor who told me I'd make a good secretary since I could type fast to the professor who openly made sexually degrading remarks about me and my female classmates to the colleague who verbally attacks anyone who doesn't act in a traditional alpha-male domineering manner (and thereby marginalizing all the women in his lab), it's pretty amazing I'm still sticking with it.

Add to the outright discrimination the fact that the vast majority of my peers with whom I'm competing for jobs are men with stay-at-home wives, so these men have a huge advantage in the workplace since they have no substantial responsibilities at home (hence saving all their energy and time for their work).

Unfortunately, it's still pretty difficult to be a woman trying to forge ahead in a high-level professional career. God, I hope this changes in my lifetime, but at the rate I see highly-educated women "dropping out" or "dropping down" rather than deal with all these tough issues, I'm not so sure things are going to be great for women in work anytime soon.

Posted by: another woman | May 1, 2006 4:42 PM

"The prosperity that women can bring has much less to do with the wage gap than with the fact that in many developing countries, especially in Africa and the Middle East, half the potential labor force (read: women) is undereducated and absent from the work force. Once girls and young women become more highly educated, once they begin to participate as economic actors, we should see a rise in productivity and prosperity (for families, as well as for the aggregate)."


Also, when women are educated, they tend to have fewer children. This both frees them to participate in the economy to a greater extent and enables them to provide more for and invest more in the children they have.

Posted by: THS | May 1, 2006 4:56 PM

I have to say that I have nothing but admiration for the women Southern Maryland has issues with -- women who have kids, then choose to stick it out and make the workplace better for themselves and, by extension, other parents.

Luckily, women like Southern Maryland were reasonably rare in my firm. I had the privilege of working with several wise, hardworking, extremely competent legal assistants, without whose kindness I'd never have made it through my first year of practice. Any young associate (male or female) who's spent any time in the company of these women knows better than to look down on them for being "just" assistants. They were the engines that kept the place running.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 1, 2006 5:11 PM

I can type 90 words per minute.

Posted by: Sally Ride | May 1, 2006 5:17 PM

To another woman -- please continue the good fight. My undergrad degree almost 4 decades ago was in mathematics and I ended up being a computer programmer for 10 years (which I found incomparably boring), mainly because the faculty at the well-known, highly respected university couldn't have cared less about me or my abilities. Now I'm an attorney in high-tech law working on my own (and occasionally with others) -- I am multilingual and have international clients who adore me. They couldn't care less that I'm not a big "prestigious" firm, because I do excellent work and turn it around quickly.

As for Southern Maryland -- I'm close to 60 myself, I've *never* had a secretary (my parents made me take typing in summer school during high school). Not only do I not know how many words I type per minute, I do not *care* how many words I type per minute. Nor do my clients. Your skill set exists because there are those who do not know how to type and/or use a computer in your office or think it more "prestigious" to use you as there secretary. The clients, pay more for "his/her" legal services because you exist. My clients get value from me, not bull****. Get over yourself!

For those of you who do not believe that companies should value (in spirit or in substance) families because some of the employees have family matters to deal with (either children or aging parents)and need to take some time to take care of those matters, take heed of the stress related illnesses and early death which such a company philosophy may engender. Ah, but then you would mutter upon seeing the obituary: "Yes, but it served him/her right, working all the time without taking time for his/her family." Uh-huh.

Sally Ride's not being able to type 90 words a minute -- ha ha ha ha ha. What a hoot!

Posted by: sc | May 1, 2006 5:36 PM

I can also type 90 words a min.

I'm hoping that I'll be lucky enough to be free of crazy people like southern Maryland when I enter the work force.

BTW, I AM planning on having children one day AND working as a doctor. A simple solution to the issues of child-care is to find a guy who believes in sharing the burden of housework and child-rearing. I would never consider a relationship with any guy who expects the woman to do all the work while he lazes around. The good news is, although I've met plenty of guys who think house work is women's work, I've met even MORE guys my age who express eagerness at the thought of having a hand in caring for their future offsprings.

Posted by: Female undergrad science student | May 1, 2006 5:53 PM

I think Southern Maryland needs to get some and get over herself. Woman like her deserve the miserable life they have. Oh, I can't be an astronaut boo hoo. I wasn't smart enough, boo hoo. Now in my free time, I'll pick on working mothers. Sorry lady, they pick back.

Posted by: get over yourself | May 1, 2006 6:32 PM

Kid Free wrote: "... the feminist movement gave everyone the idea that since anyone could be a lawyer or doctor or manager, something is wrong with you if you are a nurse, teacher or secretary.

I'm an executive secretary, and I love my job, but I hate people's reaction to it - like you, they assume that I am unambitious and incompetent, which couldn't be further from the truth."


Southern Maryland has been taking quite a bit of heat in this blog. But, she referred to Kid Free's post initially. I think the underlying point of the post is that people who are in more traditional posititons also work very hard to be the best at what they do. They shouldn't be treated as second-class citizens because their jobs are somehow considered "lesser". I was raised that all honest work is valuable, and all people should be treated with respect.

I am also 50 and not college-educated, but I consider myself successful. For those who are younger and responded that they also worked their way through college (with only a few thousand from parents), let me assure you that the loan and grants are more available now than 30-40 or more years ago. Personally, I went to work right after high school graduation and was expected to pay room and board at home - the money was necessary for the family due to our circumstances at the time.

I believed that the purpose of the feminist movement was equality for women and the freedom to have more choices about our lives. I think that we have come a long way, but we really need to stop fighting each other. I may envy the opportunities of the younger well-educated women I know, but I accept that times are different and it's not their fault that my opportunities were limited. What I can't accept is classism/elitism of SOME people who view themselves as superior to others due to their education/position/wealth.

Character counts.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 7:14 PM

Southern Maryland deserves all the flak she is getting. Her posts are offensive, uneducated, and down right mean. Everyone would be best to ignore her, except the person who told her to get some.

That was funny.

Posted by: Scarry | May 1, 2006 7:46 PM

"What I can't accept is classism/elitism of SOME people who view themselves as superior to others due to their education/position/wealth"

I don't think anyone on this blog feels this way. And, I like many people scratched my way out of poverty by working (in a car factory), student loans, and hard work. I deserve everything I have! I deserve it because I work for it and I pass the benefits onto my family and my child.

That doesn't mean I think I'm better than you. I do think I am better than people like Southern Maryland who seem to think that us working moms are getting a free ride all the while taking advantage of a poor secretary.

She is the worst of the worst and she is lucky that she doesn't work with me because I would put her in her place so fast her head would spin. Not because she is a secretary, because she is a jerk.

Posted by: Scarry | May 1, 2006 7:53 PM

Southern Maryland,
I know who you are. There's one in every office I've ever worked at. You are the person who runs the show. You are the person we depend on to organize the company picnic only to have women half your age, twice your salary come up to you and complain that their 8 year old child doesn't qualify for the $5 discount. It's no mystery to me that, after working all your life, underpaid, see these women that have a single child think that they deserve more than you because their Mommy's and Daddy's forked over thousands and thousands of dollars on their education, that you must be enraged because they choose to spend more time chasing money than the spend with their kid. And when these elitist start whining and propping up politicians that push for government funded child care subsidies so young mothers can pawn their kids off on the educationally marginalized females to further their own personal economic welfare and want to stick you with the tax bill, I'll be with you supporting the other candidate. Great post!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 2, 2006 12:07 AM

To the bitter, ignorant idiots

1) a woman being half the age of another woman isn't something to be ashamed of. So what if some people complain about discounts? I've seen plenty of grandmothers bicker over little things for their grandkids. Its not the sort of behavior restricted to "women half your age".

2) "these women that have a single child think that they deserve more than you"

These women don't think they deserve more than you because they have a single kid. It's not THEIR problem that you don't ask for children's discount because you HAVE NO CHILDREN. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being children-free. And so what if they want a 8 buck discount? Its expensive raising the next generation of American work force. (And by the way, I've see old women giving sales girls a hard time because they want discounts for things that are no longer on sale)

3) "because their Mommy's and Daddy's forked over thousands and thousands of dollars on their education,"

Ok, I'm in college right now and I can TELL YOU FOR SURE that most of us don't have parents forking over thousands of dollars for tuition. Most of us work, get scholarships, work as TAs or RAs on top of our own academic workload. We work hard and make sacrifices for the sake of our education.

4) "enraged because they choose to spend more time chasing money than the spend with their kid."

So are you trying to imply that women shouldn't be working and stay at home to raise kids? Or are you simply mad because those women are ambitious? Unless money grows on the trees in your backyard, today's economy isn't very suitable for families with only ONE working parent unless that parent has very high earnings.

To the Father of 4, I pity you and I pity your kids even more. I hope that through their own pursuit of knowledge, they can rise about the terrible example you're setting them and grow up to be successful people.

Yea I sound vitriolic but that's because I'm extremely angry at these posts. Ambitious women earn more because like ambitious men, they worked hard in college, refrained from partying, and were pulling all-nighters in the library while OTHER people choose to enjoy life and take it easy. There's absolutely nothing wrong with people being more relaxed with their academic pursuits, but don't complain when hard-working people earn more later on.

Just remember, the higher-earners made sacrifices. While more easy-going students were hanging out with friends, the rest of us were working chemistry problems.

p.s.
Women like southern Maryland may be the ones organizing company picnics but those "women half your age" are the ones who MAKE the company. Without them, companies don't even NEED to employ southern Maryland to organize company picnics.


Posted by: female undergrad science student | May 2, 2006 1:18 AM

My grandmother never got the chance to get an education because my great grandfather wouldn't let her. Naturally, my grandmother has a lot of regrets about her life because she feels that she's never fulfilled her potential. It's not her fault. It was due to the era she was born in.

Instead of being bitter towards younger women, my grandmother tells all of her grandkids, male AND female, to work hard, get an education, so we won't feel the same regret as her. She tells us to pursue whatever profession that will give us satisfaction, whether it be high-status or your so called "low-status" occupations.

Posted by: female undergrad science student | May 2, 2006 1:23 AM

" I have to say I have encountered a lot of discrimination and discouragement during my education and career as a Ph.D.-level scientist."

I'll be getting my Ph.D. in military history this year. When I got married five years ago, my advisor asked me if I was going to drop out of the program. I was annoyed with him for that, but not as annoyed as I was with every single other woman he had advised. Every one of them had indeed dropped out after getting married.

It was aggravating, but talk is cheap. As long as you do kick-ass work and are clear about taking credit for it, you'll do okay.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 2, 2006 8:03 AM

The people who know me think I'm quite kind, considerate and thoughtful. I do volunteer work, I can perform CPR, and I earn blue ribbons at the County Fair for baking. And as for 'getting some' -- my SO's first wife is a lawyer and his current wife is a lawyer. So all you powerful female attorneys keep an eye on your spouse while you're out there serving justice. While the *itch is away, the hubby will play.

Several attorneys here are into baby buying from foreign countries. Instead of enduring the disgusting miracle of birth, they go to Russia, China, or Thailand and purchase orphans there. Does that qualify as being an actual mother? Then they turn them over to a housekeeper to raise.

Altough I've made a living behind a keyboard for 41 years, if I decide to apply for another job I must endure the insult of taking a typing test. What do you have to do to prove you're employable?

Finally, as for nasty, viscious remarks -- Read "Queen Bees and Wannabees" about high school girls who can rip out your entrails with a look, a word, a smirk. They apparently grow up to become professional women and/or working moms. That's why I don't like women.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | May 2, 2006 8:49 AM

Southern Maryland, you need to see a psychiatrist.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2006 9:07 AM

Wow, orphan/baby buying! I can't believe I am reading this... I really can't..... the crime of these women is not to be able to conceive. So, on top of being torn up emotionally about this, they are now castigated for trying to have a family the only way they can. Are you for real?

And regarding your SO and his current wife -- it takes 2 to tango. You are a willing participant in these relationships with married men.

Posted by: working mother with past infertility | May 2, 2006 9:25 AM

Well, the hatred of lawyers is becoming more clear, given that she is having an affair with someone who is married to one...

Eh, my grandmother never got an education either, not because my grandfather wouldn't let her, but because they were both poor immigrants. Neither one of them had an education, yet they were both smart, hardworking people. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to go to a top law school, even though it did put me in permanent debt, and now I use my education to do work that gives back to the community. I'm sorry that not all lawyers, doctors, and other highly educated people do that, but many do. We're not the walking stereotypes of materialistic evil that some seem to think we are.

I don't see the point of hating someone just because she's younger than you, or she has more money than you, or has kids, or doesn't have kids. Why not focus on making your life the best it can be and stop worrying about other people who are so "entitled" and oppressive to you? If I had sat around being bitter that most everyone at my law school had more money, nicer clothes, cars, didn't have to work paying jobs, etc., I never would have got to where I am today, which is a pretty good place.

Posted by: Girl lawyer | May 2, 2006 9:52 AM

Pathetic and probably a lie. PLus, don't dish it out if you can't take it. You started the nasty comments.


"The people who know me think I'm quite kind, considerate and thoughtful. I do volunteer work, I can perform CPR, and I earn blue ribbons at the County Fair for baking. And as for 'getting some' -- my SO's first wife is a lawyer and his current wife is a lawyer. So all you powerful female attorneys keep an eye on your spouse while you're out there serving justice. While the *itch is away, the hubby will play."

Posted by: Scarry | May 2, 2006 9:57 AM

To Girl lawyer, Lizzie, female undergrad science student, rkb, another woman and others.. Bravo, ladies, bravo!! You ladies inspire and motivate all of us!!! Way to go!!

Posted by: tiziana | May 2, 2006 10:32 AM

u have no proof and never will men and woman r equally talented . let me get that job u apparently have too much time on ur hands. lt ls obvious u dont read the bible because lf u did u would have wrote a story like this lol sad!!!! waste of time and paper thankyou l just had let u know read corithians ?? 1 corithians
hit me up "murdock_822@hotmail.com lol clowns:)

Posted by: tony rogers | May 2, 2006 10:48 AM

stop lying 2 people how and u get a job not being honest?? this report ls false! men and woman the same and alway be "
proper??
we r watching lol murdock_822@hotmail.com

Posted by: tony_murdockk | May 2, 2006 10:51 AM

Scarry and Anon who suggested psychiatry:

Yes, every word is true, and I also get excellent performance evaluations at work. BTW, it's only one married man, not 'men' as a poster implied.

The only lie is the place I'm from. It's BOSTON, not Southern Maryland. Never been south of New Yawk! Don't believe everything you read in the Post, especially from bloggers. MWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Posted by: "Southern Maryland" | May 2, 2006 11:52 AM

It may be that more women are attending university and are investing, etc. I'm sure this will balance the power dynamic somewhat. A couple of facts remain:

* Families still need somebody to take care of kids. Many families are going to choose the mother as the primary caregiver, especially when children are young. Employers and, more importantly, co-workers need to understand and accept this. And of course, statistically, one can't compare people choosing to work 20-30 hours a week with those who work 40 hours a week and say the difference in total pay is a function of discrimination.

* Conversely, people who are not as available for work on certain schedules are not going to be as available for promotion. This causes a large part of the perceived "gender gap" in pay, but it is the result of employee choices, not the result of sexism by employers.

* Beyond that, most employers will want to get what benefit they can from good employees. If a person can only work six hours a day or three days a week, they should only be paid for the time they work, but they should still be kept as employees. There will usually be people available to cover other hours.

* Therefore, much of this is an age issue. Employers and co-workers need to acknowledge that people have stages in their life; some of those stages will be career-focused, and some will not. Employers need to not penalize people for having had breaks from employment in the past. Men go through phases of life that are less career-focused; it makes sense for employers to understand and acknowledge this than to force everyone into an equal cookie-cutter everyone-must-overachieve box.

* Given all of the above, women today are still limiting themselves in their choice of education and employment. Go to any college and observe any class where math or science is a prerequisite. You will see a ratio of at least three or four males to every female. This is a preference set in middle school, and it influences people's careers and pay levels for their entire lives. This is another very large component of the "gender gap" in pay, but it is a flaw of parents and educators, not employers. Girls need to study math, science, and computers, because a lot of good-paying jobs depend on these skills.

There are many sources of sexism in society. Putting all the blame on employers is not going to address most of the real issues. The power dynamic ("old boys club") was a major obstacle for women in the 1950s and '60s, it is less so now and will be much less so in the future, but the availability of qualified women for good jobs in the future remains a problem.

Posted by: lart from above | May 2, 2006 12:57 PM

To all those who might think the gender wage gap is based on the idea that women (particularly women with kids) work fewer hours than men, and not because of discrimination: how would you explain the wage gap between the races? Hispanic women get paid less than white women with comparable education, and black women get paid less than them. The same is true for men of different races.

And, Southern Maryland: you'd probably hate me, because not only am I a 23 year old yuppie college educated white collar worker, I also put myself through school (I didn't get any help from my folks, who implied that I ought to go to college to find a husband and start a family), I am working full time while getting my master's, and - and! - I can type 93 words per minute. Which, maybe I'm wrong, but that seems a slight bit faster than 90 WPM. I neither have kids nor want them, but just about all of my friends and coworkers who have kids give 110% at the office - the same as my friends and coworkers who don't have families. And our office wouldn't function without our administrative assistant (who often takes time off to deal with family issues), but she doesn't get mad at people who take a different path than she did.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2006 1:23 PM

I'm saddened by the PhDs post and how hard she has it. I work in finance and things have gotten much better. What she is facing is like what I faced when I first started working over 20 years ago.

The problem women face in some fields is that they have to be heros to get a fair shake whereas the men just don't face the same barriers. It's the same argument WEB DuBois made about blacks and the "talented tenth." It will take many more female heros breaking into these fields for it to change and not every female scientist will find the battle worth the effort. They chose to be scientists, afterall, not activists. I applaud Lizzie above who is going to perservere in military history. Keep at it for yourself and all those women behind you. There are still plenty of barriers to break down.

Posted by: slow day at work | May 2, 2006 1:30 PM

I hate these kinds of statistics because they don't really tell the story other than logical conclusions to underlying demographic trends. In other cases, there is no normalization for how the services sector (versus others), for example, has grown. This type of data says there is all this advancement where there is actually very little if you measure it by where men have dominated and continue to dominate. Even then, I hate to use the word 'dominate'; if men enter engineering fields at a vastly higher rate than women, that they are so prevalent in these high paid jobs is not necessarily a case that women are being held back. I mostly think that how this type of data is used to feed the equal pay issue is dishonest. It's more complex and demands that we address wrongs to be sure, but be patient enough to allow the new options our daughters have to 'get baked' into the numbers.

Posted by: Marcus | May 3, 2006 11:55 PM

If women are inherently better investors than men, shouldn't I (as a man) receive some sort of subsidy on my investments to compensate me for my (inherently) shortcomings? Maybe a 20 point preference on the DOW would be appropriate?

Posted by: Dukester | May 4, 2006 9:39 AM

I have to agree with Office Guy above. I am in my 40s and childfree, and it amazes and depresses me that the majority of the women I work with are angry and bitter. Their jobs do NOT make them happy, and these are not bad jobs. These women are in well-paying, respectable, white-collar jobs. They have plenty of flextime for being with their kids and that sort of thing, so it's not a bad office situation. Our upper management is pretty good. The women are just angry and stressed all the time. It can't be because ALL of them have husbands who don't help out. I know some of the guys are involved dads. So much for a job being the key to women's happiness. This is my third workplace in 10 years and I've seen the same thing every time. Stressed out overworked parents are ruining their kids.

Posted by: Tanger | May 9, 2006 8:50 PM

plyuiwngn [link http://irldgf.com]test4[/link]

Posted by: John S | July 2, 2006 3:10 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company