August 16, 2010

WHY GIRLY JOBS DON’T PAY WELL. This is no big mystery. Men care more about making money because making money is important to attracting and keeping women, and determining their status in general. Women don’t value money as much, because it’s not so important to attracting and keeping men or determining their status. On the other hand, caring — or at least the appearance thereof — is. That’s why this solution (“We need to figure out how to honor girly values while earning manly pay”) is dumb. And note the very first comment:

We should try to reverse the point of view and ask: why are some “manly” jobs paid more then “girly” jobs? Sometimes, it’s the only way to attract suitable candidates. Who wants to collect garbage? Who wants be a sailor? Salary is not the only reason for chosing a job. Many “girly” jobs are gratifying, while many manly jobs are stultifying. Why would someone work in a mine, if not for money?

Indeed. And in the very next comment:

So called girly jobs are usually cost centers. They are necessary but do not directly create profits. Even within corporations, the girly department is always human resources; necessary but not a driver of earnings. Men also tend to be risk takers. We see this develop very early on in boys. During the school years, taking risks and thinking outside the box is frowned upon; even punished and may explain the growing gap between the academic achievement of girls vs boys. In the real world, risk, innovation, entrepreneurship; bucking the status quo is rewarded. So while girls do better in school, their earnings later are perhaps lower not only because they choose ‘caring’ jobs (working for someone else) but because they are so accustomed to succeeding in a system that rewards conformity and compliance, they are unprepared to take the risks necessary to innovate and truly compete in a world without an established set of rules to follow. Instead of finding ways for girly jobs to pay manly wages, women need to start companies and produce goods and services that make money from girly values. Women have to want to make money and they have to take risks and that does not have to interfere with ‘caring’.

I’m pleased to find such un-PC thinking among the New York Times’ readership.