Freedom + Human Beings = The Pursuit of Happiness
23 April 2018
When you live in a free society, the stats don’t always match up, because people don’t always match up. We are all individuals capable of choosing our own path in life, each of us differing wildly in interests, flaws, and strengths. Taken as large groups of people, however, there are clear and identifiable trends, especially along the line of our species’ most natural divider—sex.
For example, men vastly outnumber women in the career fields of engineering and computer science. Men also run almost all the Fortune 500 companies in the world except for 21 of them, which are helmed by female CEOs. And of course, on average, women earn 79* cents for every dollar a man makes.
The conclusions often drawn from this data are incorrect. These gaps are not the result of systemic oppression or discrimination. They are the result of a wide range of factors that are more complex yet more feasible than the idea that sexist men are rigging the game in their favour.
Does sexism still exist? Definitely. Can it be found in the workplace? Yes. Is that the reason why so few women make it to ‘the top?’ No.
But I’ll tell you this: there is something very wrong with our society if the yardstick of a gender’s success is how many CEOs it has. This is an issue that has less to do with discrimination and more to do with how we value people and life choices.
Let’s get one thing straight, men and women are different. Behavioural differences between the sexes are socially observable before boys and girls are even able to grasp what makes them boys and girls. This is important, as it dispels the myth that besides the obvious, men and women are completely the same and thus should perform similarly in society.
At a young age, boys tend to gravitate towards activities and toys that foretell an interest in mechanics and technology. On the other hand, young girls are drawn to the opposite; their interest lies in people rather than inanimate objects. Honestly, it’s as simple as boys like trucks and girls like dolls, and you can’t argue social engineering when even monkeys do it.
But that won’t stop some people from crying inequality over what toys children want to spend their time with.
Minecraft is one of the biggest pieces of entertainment for pre-teens nowadays, and for young children in general, an interest in video games is apparently one of the first indicators of an aptitude for STEM. Minecraft is also a good example of a game that doesn’t discriminate against typically feminine or masculine tastes. The character models are ambiguous, and violence, while bare to begin with, is a player decision rather than a forced gameplay mechanic.
So why do more boys play Minecraft than girls? The article, ‘Minecraft teaches kids about tech, but there’s a gender imbalance at play,’ states that it is providing a ‘reality check on claims of gender neutrality,’ as Minecraft’s demographics are not equal. But is this really due to ‘the broader marketing of digital games as “for boys?”’ No.
How about boys and girls are interested in different things? The article doesn’t argue this point yet still presents the finding that boys are more likely to play Minecraft’s survival mode, with girls favouring the game’s creative mode. Clearly, even boys and girls who engage in the same activity do so in dissimilar ways.
I never understood the argument that businesses are responsible for creating ‘gendered’ toys. All they do is follow the money and more often than not, it’s what the consumer wants, children dragging their parents down specific aisles of the toy store.
If boys liked playing with Barbies just as much, what purpose would Mattel have with marketing only to girls? They’d advertise to both and double their sales, operating on the basis that boys and girls equally like the same things—except they don’t.
This pattern is mirrored in the STEM subjects men and women most heavily occupy, as men are the majority in engineering (85.5%) and women are the majority in psychology (72.8%). Again, boys like things and girls like people. This isn’t an absolute rule, although it’s a trend that speaks volumes about the natural inclinations of men and women.
Making it a priority that women must change their interests in order to satisfy some abstract idea of gender parity is not only wrong but as far from actual feminism as you can get.
It implies that careers typically dominated by men are more valuable to society than the ones typically dominated by women, such as psychology and health-related occupations. What appeals to men is apparently more important than what appeals to women, so we have to compensate.
Here’s another idea: how about we just let people do what they want?
Everyone has the right to pursue their own interests in life, especially adults. When faced with the tedium of bureaucracy and corporate culture, men are more likely to persevere, while women are more likely to change careers, putting them at the bottom of another company’s hierarchy. The thing is, corporate culture must be endured if you want to reach a high-ranking position, and it’s those high-ranking positions that provide the most money and bonuses.
In their own careers, men prefer stability, while women prefer flexibility. Both have their merits, but only one can give you an insane amount of money (Jeff Bezos isn’t sitting on his arse), and only one can give you enough time for yourself and family.
Women have it more difficult in this regard, as they literally have a biological clock ticking down to when they need to get their life sorted. Women who want to settle down and have a family of their own must do so before 35, as babies gestated after that begin to run the risk of birth defects. On the other hand, a man can spend his entire life working up the corporate ladder and only once he has gotten to the top, settle down with a younger wife and a lot more wealth.
These differences between men and women in their behaviour, interests, and biology, are all amplified under a free and thriving society. We don’t need to push anyone into a particular career due to shortages. We don’t need to limit people’s families due to overpopulation. Freedom allows everyone to follow their desires—what fulfils them.
The pay gap is merely one of the many resulting outcomes of this freedom. Men and women are able to choose their careers and how many hours they work.
They have equal opportunity to pursue the same things, but they don’t have to.
When two people go down different paths, they’re not going to end up in the same place, and that’s the problem with the usual pay gap statistic. It is fundamentally based on the idea that all roads lead to back one, not taking into account the multitude of other factors.
The sexes will never act or be exactly the same. Some gaps close as life and education gets better but others will forever remain open. In our chase for equality, we have lost touch with this basic idea.
The only way we can eliminate all the gaps between men and women is to do away with self-determination altogether. Disparity is not the result of injustice but the result of freedom, and freedom allows women to do what they want.
Let’s not change that.