When I was looking for this report, which I vaguely remembered reading about while I was deep in the throes of finishing a novel, a friend of mine referred to it as “World to End Tomorrow: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit.”
He is not wrong.
This report which started being produced in 2006 – note the date, because it’s relevant – purports to measure:
Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition also analyses the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations.
Pardon me if I didn’t carefully read the entire report. Even as a science fiction writer, I have trouble swallowing more than three unsupported assertions or outright lies in a paragraph. Take, for instance, their initial statement:
Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive. Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide.
Is gender parity fundamental? Tell us why and show us the numbers. Sure, in places with a profound lack of gender parity the economy is more backward, but then again, many of those societies – most Arab countries, say – live, functionally somewhere between the seventh century and today.
Is their backwardness the result of lack of gender parity, or simply the result of lack of freedom at all levels, including but not limited to a strictly enforced policy against lending money?
The only way to test that statement is to take two countries exactly alike, one with gender parity and one without gender parity and run the numbers.
Since this is a completely impossible task, they can’t assert that truthfully. If they’d prefaced it with “We believe” I’d have no complaints. But economics is a science and “muh feels” is not. People incapable of knowing the difference have no business pronouncing on scientific fact.
Then take the second sentence:
Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide.
If you don’t get warning bells at “appropriate deployment” you should. Who decides what’s appropriate deployment? Or full development, for that matter. I’ve known stock brokers who turned their backs on careers to go carve wood and live in log cabins. I’ve known women who turned their backs on full-on corporate careers to be mothers. I’m sure the people who run this report wouldn’t consider that “appropriate deployment,” and one starts to get a really bad feeling that what they really want is to determine how everyone – particularly women – should live.
And then consider:
has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide.
Does it? Well, yes, how women live does have a vast bearing on the growth and economies worldwide. Also on societies. But not the way they mean. Keep that in mind with that 2006 date.
Then we go back to this:
Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment.
Since “gender gap” quite obviously from the context refers to women’s “inferior conditions,” the health and survival part is a bit startling. As far as I know, the only way women and men can be made equal in health and survival is for women to get shot when they reach the age at which most men die, or to have stress-diseases forced on them at the same rate most men acquire them.
I don’t care how much they want to close the gender gap on health and survival: I’m opposed, and I fight back.
Then there is the woe-and-horror of the ancillary reports. Take the one from the Telegraph:
The gender gap across the world widened for the first time in a decade in 2017, as the situation worsened for women in 60 countries. At the current rate, women are not likely to reach economic parity with men until 2234, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).
It sounds dire, doesn’t it?
First of all, note that Mark Twain mentioned lies, damn lies, and statistics. When someone tells you it will take “x number of years” or “until x and y” unless it’s some medicine undergoing testing, which will by law take x number of years to be available or something of that sort, these people are just writing science fiction. Not good science fiction, at that.
Extrapolating from current rates is a mug’s game because the only thing you can be sure of is that “if this goes on” won’t. There are too many factors in any trend to continue it ad infinitum. Take global communications. Someone in the seventies could have extrapolated that at the current rate of communication improvement, it would take x number of years for the whole world to be connected. Then we got the internet. Or take flight. Right after the Wright Brothers’ flight, what do you think the expectations would be for intercontinental flight?
When they say it will take 217 years for women to “catch up” to men they’re merely generating an appropriately scary number.
Then, of course, there’s what they expect women to catch up with men on:
From the Mumbai Times:
The proportion of “unpaid work” per day when it comes to women is far higher than for men. On average 66 percent of women’s work is unpaid, says the report.
Unpaid work measures the average minutes spent per day on routine housework, shopping, care for household members, care for non-household members, volunteering, travel related to household activities and other unpaid activities for men and women aged 15-64 years.
Hindering the distance between gender parity, India slipped 21 places on the Global Gender Gap index to a lowly 108, behind neighbors China and Bangladesh, primarily due to less participation by women in the economy and low wages.
Now, I’m not an expert on Indian economics. Perhaps there are vast hordes of women wishing to work call centers (“I can tell that there are many viruses coming off your computer”). When we had a landline, most of the auditory spam was indeed from males.
I do know if you go back to the Telegraph reporting and look at their graph of countries, you quickly realize that like all measures of “equality” this gender gap thing is… lies damn lies and statistics:
I don’t know about you, but I can tell you that as a woman I’d much rather live in the United Kingdom or Denmark than in Namibia; I’d much prefer Germany to Slovenia and Ireland to Nicaragua; and while I’m sure Rwanda is a lovely place, I’d rather live in France. In fact, to the extent there is immigration between those sets of countries, it would appear most women agree with me.
So, what does the gender gap report measure and how seriously should we take it?
Mostly it measures the extent to which women conform — or refuse to conform — to social engineers’ expectations. It measures to what extent women act like men in society/the marketplace. Their idea of perfect parity would be one in which men and women took the same jobs, at the same time, for the same pay, and worked the same hours, regardless of what men and women really wanted to do.
I’m not going to argue whether women’s desire to raise their own children is innate or societal conditioning. Yes, there have been human tribes in which raising your own children wasn’t normal. For most of them, it could be argued unusual, not to say bizarre circumstances.
What I’m going to argue is that there is absolutely no sane reason to break social conditioning in that case; that societies in which you break social conditioning at such a deep level usually tend to go extinct, or at least undergo mass killings; and that even were it possible it would take centuries to achieve. (And not just two.)
Which means for all the dreams of social engineers, or the 57 or however many genders that social media recognizes, most women want to raise their own children.
This is not always possible, and there have always been, and still are, a number of househusbands and fathers, temporary or permanently.
However, in most cases, most women want to raise their own children. And as soon as economic conditions permit it, most choose to do so. Hence the importance of 2006 – the year America’s legislature got taken over by the party that most favors social engineering and therefore creates most economic ruin – and the “losing ground” in 2017.
In the same way that it is a truism that when America’s economy catches a cold the rest of the world gets pneumonia, so is it a truism that more women end up working jobs outside-the-house when times are tight, and staying home to do that dreaded “unpaid work” when the economy recovers.
So, the true news of the gender gap report is that, despite the fact it’s very hard to get real numbers, the economy must be improving and raising the rest of the world with it.
As for their ideas of whether women staying at home or doing “uncompensated work” has an impact on the global economy: it does. We are now into the second century of people being educated by third parties who are not related to them, and we can certainly say that it’s not worth it. We can also say that though government education is excellent at indoctrination it is not very good at teaching children or giving them the abilities to succeed in life.
More mothers staying at home and teaching their children would seem to bode well for the future, even if it makes social engineers cry.
And as for their dream of indistinguishable economic units laboring side by side for the good of the state, for this woman at least. the answer is to invite them to gaze upon my middle fingers. I have a complete set.
My own experience of unpaid work is that my husband was willing to undertake a full-time job and put his dreams on hold, so that I could stay home, do a lot of unpaid work, yes, in raising our children and house remodeling and furniture refinishing. But I also do a lot of unpaid work towards learning my craft, so that I could eventually do paid work in my chosen (and not easy) field. In fact, in most fields like mine, where your apprenticeship is prolonged and the work unpaid, you find women and the very wealthy have an edge.
I don’t feel the slightest bit oppressed by my husband for my doing 20 years of unpaid work. I feel very grateful to get the chance to work towards doing what I want, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of getting to raise my own children and watch them grow up.
I look forward to a world in which everyone is wealthy enough that men and women can work at whatever they want. And if what they want is to stay at home and raise their kids, or try to develop a business in wool dying, painting or writing, I hope they get to do it, while telling the busybodies of the Gender Gap Report to take a long hike off a short pier.
If there’s one gap we liberty lovers should be concerned about, it’s the “faux-serious report” gap, in which the left has a commanding and intimidating lead.
Until we close up that gap, though, we can do our best in showing how silly their reports are, how shallow their notions of equality, and how pathetic their ability to reason.