Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Men more devoted to work than women are

A post by OneSTDV awhile back challenged the assertion that the gender egalitarian movement is more damaging to society than the racial egalitarian movement is. I view them as two heads of the blank slatist hydra. The primary devotion of this place concerns the latter, but that need not be to the exclusion of the former.

Reasons for wage differential are multiple. As OneSTDV points out, female intelligence distributions are narrower than male distributions are. Consequently, there are more men than there are women floating around in the intelligence stratosphere. Further, men do a much better job keeping themselves up to snuff on current events than women do. Men's range of intellectual interests are wider than women's are and men do a better job than women do learning about subjects that increase their employment marketability, and companies are pressured into offering more generous benefits for those taking maternity leave than for those taking paternity leave. Women's interests are closer to home and to those living in it.

Additionally, in certain occupations--specifically those requiring a great deal of physical exertion--the bar is set higher for men than it is for women, even though members of both sexes are treated (and potentially compensated) as though they are of equal value to their organizations in these positions. Take the PT for military enlistees. To pass once graduated from basic training, men (aged 17-21) must be able to do the following:

- 42 push-ups
- 53 sit-ups
- Run the two-mile in under 15:54 or faster

Less is expected of female soldiers:

- 19 push-ups
- 53 sit-ups
- Run the two-mile in 18:54 or faster

Further, women tend to have less tenure in positions than men do because men are more likely to seek full-time employment than women are and because female participation in the labor force continued to climb through the seventies, eighties, and nineties. A 40 year old woman who started working for a company in 1998 is, ceteris paribus, not going to be making as much as a 40 year old man who started at the same company in 1988. Much of the celebrated reduction in the wage gap is a consequece of this trend. With the current recession hitting men harder than women, expect further attenuation of earnings variance in the coming years.

The GSS provides another source of evidence for this, in addition to shedding light on some other attitudinal and behavioral reasons men earn more than women do for doing putatively 'equal work'. The following table shows data for men and women on four questions concerning work behaviors and attitudes. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from 2002 onward:

Mean number of years on the job7.56.8
Working other than day shifts (nights, swing, etc)31%26%
Work overtime at least once a month69%57%
Main satisfaction in life comes from work30%25%
Want to work additional hours to earn more money36%28%

On all of these aspects of work life, men tend to be more occupationally devoted than women are. They've been with their companies longer, are more willing to work overtime and on oddball schedules, and receive more satisfaction from their jobs than women do.

The differences are modest. That's generally the case when it comes to measuring gender variances on social attributes. In contrast, when racial groups are compared, they are much larger.



MagicofEden said...

How silly! It's interesting that none of the reasons for willingness to work alternative hours are listed; I am confident that it has something to do with family obligations.

Poor men who've nothing better to do than work.

Audacious Epigone said...


Unfortunately, the GSS question doesn't probe into why respondents work the schedules they do.

The point is not that men are more virtuous by way of greater devotion to their occupations than women are--there's a lot more to life than work, and women own a good deal of it. But it shouldn't be interpreted as inherently unfair that men make more money, have more decision-making power vested in them, and hold more prestigious positions in corporations than women do. Obviously that's a very general statement that gets more mileage in some industries than it does in others, but it holds on balance.

Anonymous said...

MagicofEden sounds like a very serious thinker.

Christo said...

The article does not extensively address gender dimorphism in human beings. The average woman has a lower body strength of 68% that of a man. How many standard deviations is that? Average upper body strength is just 60%. Standard deviation? What do these hard statistics mean for hundreds of jobs, including most importantly those in the military.
Finally, women almost universally decline employment in the world's most dangerous jobs: coal mining, sky scraper work, piloting light aircraft, timber falling, and others that are more dangerous than that of a fireman, or policeman. These factors lock women out of many trades and professions, although strangely enough not in the US military.

Audacious Epigone said...


The article does not extensively address gender dimorphism in human beings.

I should probably make it more explicit, but that is always implied here.

The different PT requirements are not arbitrary. If they were standardized for all to current male requirements, though, the capabilities of the military would improve.

silly girl said...

"Finally, women almost universally decline employment in the world's most dangerous jobs: coal mining, sky scraper work, piloting light aircraft, timber falling, and others that are more dangerous than that of a fireman, or policeman."

Well, duh, women want to take the money, power and prestige positions away from men. They don't want to take on the real risks, dangers and work. No, no, no. Much of police work is paper pushing and not actually confronting bad guys. And there are very few female fire fighters.

Anonymous said...

anybody think those pt stats are inflated somehow. I can bench 80% of my bodyweight (140/175) but can only do about 20-25 pushups in proper form (back and neck str8, weight on shoulders and arms, slow control though the range of motion chest brushes ground and back up slow). They must allow a aweful lot of cheating on the exercise for women to make it through.

Audacious Epigone said...


Pushups are all about repetition. I am able to bench just a hair over my body weight (220/195), up from around 170 or so before I started lifting seriously a couple years ago. When I was in ROTC my freshman year of college, I came in during the summer doing 15-18 pushups in good form, and would be exhausted at that point. After a few months doing them almost every day, I was able to do over 40.

I'm not sure as to the anatomical explanation, but it's been my experience that max pushups are a lot more malleable than weight max outs are. Situps are the same way.