Sascha C., on 04 September 2012 - 02:10 PM, said:
Interestingly, this relates to something else you mentioned: the "intangible benefits of staying home to care for your children." One of the reasons female-dominated professions are not compensated as well as male-dominated ones has to do with the idea that things like child-care are inherently rewarding for women and thus do not need to be as financially rewarding. You do not find similar justifications for jobs that mostly men perform.
There is also the fact that men are more likely to put priority on making money, and gravitate towards jobs that pay well. They're also more likely to be competitive and push to get their own salaries higher.
It gets messy when you talk about differences between men and women beyond the physical. People have a tendency to see differences as absolute when really we're talking about a statistical
difference. For example, men are taller than women but we all know that it doesn't mean every man is taller than every woman. And yet when it comes to things like "women are better at housework and cooking than men" or "men are better at driving trucks than women," we just assume it means that all women should do housework, or all truck drivers should be male. But even if there are overall differences in abilities, you still have to judge everyone as an individual.
When it comes to things like, say, housework, I don't believe it should be about everything being 50-50 so much as about the people involved doing the amounts that makes them happy. It's okay if the woman is doing more housework, as long as the man is making sure that she doesn't feel like all the burden is being unfairly placed on her. Like maybe he works in other areas, or maybe it's just a matter of the woman saying, hey, I know you hate this a lot more than I do, so I don't mind doing most of the housework, but every once in awhile just do a little bit to give me a break? I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that, as long as it's a conclusion that two people, in an equal relationship, come to and are satisfied with.
And it may be that the ratio that works best for society overall is 55/45. or 60/40, or whatever, but in the end I don't think that's what's important. I think that shouldn't be important so much as that women and men should feel that in their household, both parties have equal say in how much of the housework is done, and both parties need to have it in their head that they want to make sure this is fair to everyone.
Same thing with jobs. Obviously a lot more men than women want to be truck drivers or steel workers, so we will probably always have more men in those jobs than women. To me the actual ratio is not important so much as, are women given the same chances as men based on their qualifications? Are the industries making an effort to make the environment friendly to female employees? These are the questions we need to really look at.
EDIT: I also am a fan of Gloria Steinem! I love that she is this really intelligent woman, but not afraid to say batshit insane stuff every once in awhile. Like, it shows that she isn't holding herself back. And yeah, she has said some things that go over the edge sometimes, but it does get people's attention and there usually is some truth behind it. I wish we had more women (and men) like her that were smart, but didn't sugarcoat the parts of their views that can be kind of messy or weird-seeming at times. I hope this doesn't come off as a back-handed putdown, either, because I really do love the woman.
EDIT #2 (I keep thinking of things!): On the topic of "sexual power," I had the thought that a lot of this supposed power is really men deciding to give their power to women they find sexually attractive. So while it can give women an advantage within the male-dominated power structure. I think it's very rare that women actually use their sexuality to make men do anything against their will. And of course, if we had more women and fewer men in power, this would be greatly diminished.