Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pick me! Pick me!

I believe in gender stereotypes!

The titanic arrogance and impenetrable wall of assumptions behind this headline simply boggle the mind.

Gender stereotypes persist among young Canadians
[Plan Canada surveyed] 1,000 Canadian youth between the ages of 12 and 17.

They found that while 91 per cent felt that equality between men and women in Canada is good for both boys and girls, some youth still subscribed to gender stereotypes. For example:

* 48 per cent of the youth thought men should be responsible for earning income and providing for the family
* 31 per cent of the boys felt that a woman's most important role is to take care of her home and cook for the family.
I wonder if they took the trouble to define any terms.

I don't doubt that the survey simply asked, "Do you think that equality between men and women is good for both boys and girls". In my experience, surveys of this kind are no more sophisticated than online newspaper polls. So I don't doubt that there was no attempt to define "equality".

But the concept "equality," like it's in-bred idiot cousin "human rights," can mean a lot of different things, and since it has become the primary operating concept in Canadian government, it might be helpful for someone to actually define it.

Because it is not defined, "equality" has become not a concept in political philosophy or economic theory, but an essentially meaningless noise, one of those words that Chairman Mao described as a "little stick of dynamite you plant in people's minds". Effectively, it has become a kind of battering ram to knock in the doors of many moral social bastions. No one wants to be thought to be against "equality," so whenever some feminist (or increasingly often, homosexualist,) government bureaucrat in Canada, Britain, the UN or the EU starts slinging it, everyone ducks and covers.

But let's ask a few concrete questions. What does "equality between men and women" mean, exactly? Does it mean that a woman's testimony in court is held to be as reliable as a man's? Does it mean that in criminal cases, the same rules of evidence apply to men as to women? Does it mean that a woman doing a job, say a Toronto bus driver, receives the same pay and is taxed at the same basic rate as a man doing the same job?

Few people realise that most of these kinds of things were already covered in British Common Law long before the Great Emancipation.

But now, "equality" as the holy grail of all government policies, is wielded like a blunt instrument, mostly to make the lives of small businessmen miserable.

Here's an example.

In the Canadian bureaucracy, at all levels, it has been held to equate with the fictitious concept, "equal pay for equal work". The slogan that feminists used in the Canadian government is actually more accurately given as "equal pay for work of equal value". A lot of people assume that this means "the same pay for the same work," as in, you pay a female bus driver the same as a male bus driver if she does the same job and works the same hours.

But in fact, the slogan, which has become the government's operating policy, is a byzantine labyrinth of Official Feminist socialist doublethink that attempts to weigh the value of work done and arbitrarily assigns a job a dollar number that must be met by employers.

This little bit of socialist interference in business has been enshrined in Canadian law at several levels, such as the Ontario Employment Standards Act and there are real consequences for employers failing to govern themselves according to it.

As Real Women of Canada puts it: The "equal pay for work of equal value" slogan/policy
would include the problem of evaluating different jobs having very different factors, such as job risks, uncertain tenure, working conditions, training, etc. There is no objective way to measure the value of a job apart from the price it commands on the market. Once market wages are abandoned as a guide, the system, unfortunately, becomes a subjective assignment of points based on the bias of the evaluator about the relative value of working conditions, job skills, education, training and responsibility.

Of course, most Canadians, including doubtless the boys and girls surveyed by Plan Canada, know nothing about this. Being fair-minded people in general, the first assumption is probably the one everyone makes, that "equality" is a good thing and the idea of defining it has never crossed any of their minds.

But the survey above is an interesting indicator. On the vague, undefined notion of "equality between men and women," everyone surveyed (remembering that these are just kids) snapped to attention and saluted, like the good little Canuckistanis they have been brainwashed to be. But when the survey asked some questions about something real, like whether a woman should go out to work or look after things on the home front, they were able to break their coding and nearly half of them answered honestly.

It gives one a ray of hope, don't you think?



Simon Platt said...

Ray of hope? Certainly.

And thanks for giving me an opportunity to comment on what struck me most when I read Rerum Novarum - that Leo's teaching was that a fair wage was that amount which properly reflected the value earned by the worker for his* employer, just as the Wise Women of Canada put it. It might not be easy to determine in practice, but the principle is clear.

* Note the use of inclusive language.

Louise said...

the only thing wrong with that picture at the top is that the woman is all over the man... needs to be the other way round - he should be active and she passive

Anonymous said...

I guess your husband never bought you a house. - Karen

Louise said...

oh. I thought that was the real estate agent!