we can do it

The fall season in gender-gap news has started early and with a bang. A study released yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that male doctors earn over 25% more than female doctors. Why am I not surprised? There is a constant stream of stories showing gender disparities like this: that Obama gave only 35% of Cabinet-level posts to women, that men still write 87% of Wikipedia entries, that they are approximately 80% of local news-television and radio managers, and over 75% of philosophers.

After decades of antidiscrimination laws, diversity initiatives and feminist advocacy, such data leads to an uncomfortable question: Do women actually want equality? The answer seems transparently, blindingly, obvious. Do women want to breathe fresh air? Do they want to avoid rattlesnakes and fatal heart attacks?

But from another perspective, the answer is anything but clear. In fact, there’s good reason to think that women don’t want the sort of equality envisioned by government bureaucrats, academics and many feminist advocates, one imagined strictly by the numbers with the goal of a 50-50 breakdown of men and women in C-suites, law-school dean offices, editorial boards and computer-science departments; equal earnings, equal work hours, equal assets, equal time changing diapers and doing the laundry. “A truly equal world,” Sheryl Sandberg wrote in Lean In, which is still on the best-seller lists months after its spring publication, “would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.” It’s a vision of progress that can only be calculated through the spreadsheets of labor economists, demographers and activist groups.

Read more at [TIME.com]

Do women really want equality, a “50-50 breakdown of men and women in C-suites, law school dean officers, editorial boards and computer-sciecene departments; equal earnings, equal work hours, equal assets,  equal time changing diapers and doing the laundry” or simply the opportunity to purse such ideals, if and only if they so choose? Is equal pay for equal work the equivalent of mandating equal interest in work, jobs, and hobbies pursued by men and women? If men and women are motivated by differing – perhaps even competing – factors, can true equality ever exist?