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Monday, January 09, 2006

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos and My Left Wing)

I realize that the comments Kate O'Beirne has been making have been diaried.  I'm going to address the issues and refute her absurd and insulting assertion that "those women" (from what I gather, notorious feminists) "make the world worse".

Make the jump (and if you're Kate O'Beirne, I hope it's off a cliff).

First disclaimer.  I haven't read her book.  I wouldn't read her book.  I've just seen her interviewed on Hardball.  Thusly inflamed, I did a little bit of googling on O'Beirne's comments and the facts about gender pay disparity.


A few select quotes, taken from an interview O'Beirne did in her own den of rats, National Review Online.

"They talk "freedom of choice," but feminists are too contemptuous of dissenting women to allow them to choose freely how to live their lives without ridicule and disdain," Kate O'Beirne writes in her new book, Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports.

-snip-

I have long thought that if high-school boys had invited homely girls to the prom we might have been spared the feminist movement. We live with the destructive feminist agenda because the fathers or husbands of so many of them, including Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Germaine Greer, and Jane Fonda, never failed to fail them. The views of these angry, abandoned women inform the modern women's movement.

-snip-

The persistent fable that women are denied equal pay for equal work has been a never-empty tank of gas that fuels feminism. A sympathetic public is largely unaware that the claim that women face widespread wage discrimination is a myth aggressively advanced by feminists. Disparities in wages exist between women with children and men and single women. This is not sex discrimination, but if that were better understood feminists would have to get real jobs.

-snip-

Oh boy. Hillary Clinton is a committed feminist. She's a true believer in the grievance agenda and promotes the myth of stunted progress for women's equality. She would reliably be one of the women who make the world worse by endorsing all of feminism's pet causes -- strict sex quotas for college sports, "girl power" in our schools, the "epidemic" of domestic violence, abortion on demand (despite her phony rhetoric), universal, federally funded day care, enforced "equal pay for equal work" and women in combat. I have to lie down now.

Pissed off yet?  I'm just getting started.

First.  I'm not sure what O'Beirne thinks of as a "feminist".  I am a feminist if for no other reason than the fact that my mother suffered through a misama of SHIT to ensure that I didn't have to.  I owe that to her.  My mother was a clerk typist for the Federal government with no college education - only a high school degree.  She was not ugly - she got asked to the prom (and who is Kate O'Beirne to go making judgments on attractiveness for crying out loud??!).  She did not and does not find marriage offensive.  She is not contemptuous of women who have made different choices, for whatever reason, in their lives.

Making crappy money, divorced and with a three-year old at home (me), my mother answered an advertisement in the employment section seeking applicants for sales positions.  At the end of the ad, women were strongly encouraged to apply.  This was in the early 1970s, during the rise of equal employment opportunities and the subsequent rush of employers to hire more women.  She responded to the ad, interviewed, and was hired.

She worked for 30 years in technology sales and sales management.  At that first job, in her nine-year tenure, she rose the level of Vice President reporting directly to the CEO.  She was a consistent top performer.  She did not have one job where she failed to exceed expectations.  She went on to be a founder of a Fortune 500 company.  As everyone was submitting their curriculum vitae for the incorporation documents, my mother simply listed her education as "degree from the school of hard knocks".  Truer words were never spoken.

She is and was a bad-ass.  And let's not be fooled - she succeeded in spite of the fact that she was a woman.  She didn't have the protections from harrassment that I enjoy today.  She suffered through many an improper comment, uncomfortable meeting and blatant propositions with her ethics and dignity fully engaged.  She couldn't get pissed off and file a lawsuit.  She had no recourse for losing business because she refused to take someone's shit.  She had to find diplomatic ways to handle situations that few people can imagine to simply do her job.

All so that I wouldn't have to go through the same things.  All so that no woman would have to go through the same things.

Kate O'Beirne is making the argument that there is no gender-based pay disparity.  I'm sure she's basing part of her argument on the fact that women leave the employment market to have children and that this affects their pay levels vis-a-vis a man of the same age and educational background.  For example, if you're a 25 year old woman making $40,000 a year and you leave the job market until you're 30 to have a child and stay home until that child is in Kindergarten, you can't expect to come back in at the same pay level as a man who remained in the industry and employed for those five years.  That woman is, effectively, less experienced than her male counterpart despite their similarity in education and their sameness of age.  That's a totally plausible argument and the research on gender pay disparity today factors out those types of disparity issues.  They compare men and women on experience.

A few representative figures, from WomenOf.com:  (Tables aren't working for me so sorry for the klunky representation)

Accountants - Female $85,375 - Male $119,314
Accountants (1-5 years experience) - Female $72,534 - Male $94,314
Advertising Account Executive - Female $49,000 - Male $56,000
Allergists or Immunologists - Female $190,983 - Male $254,289
CEO, Health Care - Female $152,673 - Male $195,783
Lawyer - Female $73,476 - Male $84,188
Government/Lobbying, Nonprofit - Female $73,907 - Male $96,655
Managing Editor - Female $55,983 - Male $62,574
Neurological Surgeons - Female $337,031 - Male $487,000
Reference Librarian, 0-5 years experience - Female $38,399 - Male $39,958
Retail Store Sales - Female $19,864 - Male $31,148
Teachers - Female $42,848 - Male $46,956
Web infrastructure - Female $69,850 - Male $87,750
Average Full Time Employee - Female $97,071 - Male $127,379

I wonder if Kate noticed the "managing editor" figures.  Seems to me stupid is as stupid does, and if she looked at her salary vice those of men of equal and lesser experience she'd change her tune.  But I'm just speculating.

There's more, in this article from SFGate.com:

Women, on average, earned 76 cents for every dollar that men brought home, down from a record-high 77 cents on the dollar in 2002, according to the latest annual report from the nonpartisan U.S. General Accounting Office.

Last year's penny shift marked the first increase in the gender wage gap this decade, government income figures show. Some observers blame the economy in part for the recent slippage among women, saying that a downturn tends to punish them disproportionately because they hold more of the nation's lower- rung jobs.

(Diarist's note: Gee... Who has been President for just about all of "this decade"?)

But the economy is just a piece of the picture. Some prominent researchers have been surprised to learn that even though women are attaining higher-than-ever levels of education -- and also reaching higher rungs on the corporate ladder -- that progress has not narrowed the wage gap as expected, according to the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), a New York-based women's professional organization.

But I'm sure all of those executives are raging man-hating, armpit-hair-growing baby-badmouthing marriage-loathing academics who can't get a "real" job.

Listen.  As with all things in life, there is a spectrum of opinion on the issue of womens rights and inequality ranging from far on one side to far on the other.  I don't know because I won't read her vomitous book, but judging by the cover, she isn't referring to the extreme end of feminism.  If the charictures on the front of her book are any judge, she's talking about Hillary Clinton, Jane Fonda (let it GO already), Ruth Bader Ginsberg and "Carrie" from HBO's Sex and the City.  

Although I'm no Hillary lover, I wouldn't characterize her as a radical feminist by any stretch.  In fact, the most "feminist" person on that book cover is Jane Fonda and tell me - what influence is she having today that is "making the world worse"?

It offends me beyond words to hear myself characterized as "making the world worse" because I feel that equal pay for equal experience is something upon which I should have to insist.  It just should be.  And when women like Kate O'Beirne come out and say that the gender pay gap is a "myth" she spits in the face of my mother and myself who have worked hard (you'd think being a Bush mouthpiece she could at least appreciate "hard work") for the advances we have made without ever reaching the finish line (in the aggregate) of equal pay for equal work.

Kate O'Beirne can drop dead as far as I'm concerned.  I have written MSNBC and have asked them to apologize for putting such dreck on the air.  I won't hold my breath for their reply or public apology, though.



10 Comments:

Blogger John West said...

I've been reading your stuff over at dKos. Good stuff. And a good looking site here as well.

5:12 AM  
Blogger KristieD said...

It seems to me that most people here the word "feminist" and start thinking of some butch-lesbian type of woman who constantly bash men. I know that this is not the true definition of a feminist, but unfortunately, people like Kate O'Breirne help to perpetuate that myth by making it seem like feminists are just out to ruin the world.

Why is it so crazy to want equal treatment and pay for the same work? And has she been living under a rock to not know that there IS a gap?

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Very good article.

3:04 PM  
Blogger kcterrilynn said...

I saw her on 'Meet the Press' last Sunday and was so enraged I had to change the channel. If you watched an entire show of her, you have a stronger stomach than I. (BTW, I thought the same thing when O'Breine mentioned homely and ugly girls.)

Great article...

5:34 PM  
Blogger dhonig said...

FYI- I just linked this to The Daily Pulse (thanks for the link)- thedailypulse.blogspot.com and Hypnocrites- hypnocrites.blogspot.com.

4:48 PM  
Blogger KathyinBlacksburg said...

If you ask people, "whould men and women be treated equally beore the law." Most of them say yes. But if you ask them if they are a feminist, they say no. Trouble is a feminist is nothing more than one who wants equal treatment for men and women before the law. And feminists come in all degrees (and aren't just women). So, to answer Katie's question how could there be anything wrong with that? But extremists have name-called, pushed hot-buttons, and gone so crazy on the subject. Then then try to project the crazy label feminists. The question to ask is what is Katie O'Byrne gaining from her position (answer a gasbag microphone, a generous allowance, and a loyal, angry following). If women were treated equally, some male-led ministers would find themselves replaced with more qualified women. ($$$). And the same ministers wouldnd't have the free services of the mostly women who give their lives to their churches. They won't blame themselves for any failings so look for the nearest scapegoats. And, yes, some are just inclined to hate and especially hate change.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Ms. Strega (Joan) said...

Right on!!!

So, Kate O'Beirn thinks a "homely girls" like Jane Fonda should have been asked to the prom, thus preventing the birth of the feminist agenda? Wow, she has an interesting definition of "homely."

6:25 AM  
Blogger Ms. Strega (Joan) said...

oops--I meant "homely girl." Sorry, I was seeing too much red after reading about O'Beirn.

6:27 AM  
Blogger kma815 said...

Kate O'beirne's husband is the guy who was handing out positions in Iraq to totally inexperienced people (a 24 year old was put in charge of the Iraqi st0ck exchange). The O'Beirnes are like lazy French Aristocrats before 1789. They don't really care. They are just tools to preserve the power vacuum which currently exists in DC

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity... Why wouldn't you read her book?

2:10 AM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Michael - because that would require I actually buy her book and while the means to do so is not an issue, the desire to fuel her hateful noise machine IS. I won't give her a dime of my money.

2:46 PM  

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