• What's The Fuss at Wimbledon?

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    Let's
    say you are the owner of a Mom and Pop grocery store. You have two
    employees, Jane and Mary. Jane works 3 hours a day, while Mary clocks
    in 5 hours. Jane comes to you asking to be paid the same amount
    as Mary, since her paycheck isn't "equal" to Mary's. How
    do you respond?

    Despite
    the absurdity of this scenario, this is exactly what is playing
    out in the world of professional tennis.

    At
    Wimbledon, men must play up to 5 sets to win, while women only play
    3 sets. Obviously, you can show a lot more commercials for Pimm's
    beer during those 2 extra sets of tennis.

    But
    the female tennis players think they are entitled to equal prize
    money.

    This
    is how the
    CEO of the Women's Tennis Association explains it
    :
    "It's not about the money, but the women feel very strongly
    that as a matter of principle…they deserve equal prize money."

    Note
    the selective application of the word "equal." If the
    WTA believes in true equality, then why not pay the runner-up the
    same as the first place winner?

    And
    the comely Anna Kournikova garners $7–10 million from product
    endorsements, far more than any male tennis players do. Why not
    allow the men to benefit "equally" from parading around
    in their underwear?

    But
    the intellectual dishonesty that underlies the Wimbledon controversy
    is a mere skirmish in a much larger war.

    Common
    sense and anthropological research reveal these facts about women,
    men, and work:

    1. Women are
      the primary caregivers of infants and young children.

    2. In order
      to support women in their caregiver role, men become the primary
      breadwinners.

    3. Men predominate
      in occupations such as mining, construction, fishing, and lumbering.
      While these jobs may pay well, they are far more perilous.

    But
    these biological and social facts are ignored in a recent report
    from the International Labor Organization. The recent ILO document,
    "Time
    for Equality at Work
    " makes the case that sex-based wage
    discrimination is rampant around the world.

    Here's
    a glimpse into the ILO's logic: "Truck drivers, for instance,
    are usually men." This lamentable fact is explained by what
    the ILO calls "occupational segregation," which means
    that women are unwittingly being shunted into the low-paying jobs.
    Apparently, the ILO wants mothers to breastfeed their infants as
    their 18-wheel rig careens down a two-lane highway.

    The
    ILO report makes the claim that "Occupational segregation by
    sex has been more detrimental to women than to men." If this
    is true, then why is it that men are often forced to spend long
    periods away from home to support their families? And why are men,
    not women, the victims in 9 out of 10 occupational deaths?

    And
    if there is any lingering doubt, this statement on page 51 of the
    manifesto reveals the true intentions of the ILO: "The growing
    prevalence of wage-setting systems based on workers' productivity
    or performance instead of on the content of the job raises new challenges
    for achieving pay equity."

    In
    other words, the "content" of the job (as determined by
    some heavy-handed government agency) should count for more than
    how much a worker produces. Clearly, ILO does not understand that
    delinking salary from productivity undermines the entire economic
    engine of society.

    If
    the ILO's insidious theories continue to spread, the Law of Supply
    and Demand will become a quaint historical footnote. Instead, my
    Comrade, we will be singing the praises of "From each according
    to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

    July
    21, 2003

    Carey
    Roberts [send him mail]
    is a researcher and consultant who tracks gender bias in the mainstream
    media.


            
            

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