Women in America are the freest in the world, yet many feminists tell us women are oppressed. They advocate this falsehood through victim mentality propaganda and misleading statistics, such as the gender wage gap myth. In five minutes, American Enterprise Institute's Christina Hoff Sommers tells you the truth about feminism.
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Women in the United States and in Western Europe are the freest and most liberated in human history. In many ways they are not merely doing as well as men, they are doing better. Women's emancipation is one of the glories of Western civilization and one of the great chapters in the history of freedom.
So, why then are those in the women's movement, such as the leaders and members of activist groups like the National Organization for Women, the professors in Women's Studies departments at our colleges, and many women in the media, why are they still so dissatisfied?
These feminists hardly acknowledge women's progress.
Yes, they concede, that some advances have been made, but the fact that most women reject their activist brand of feminism and think of themselves as free is, for this crowd, proof of just how entrenched patriarchy and inequality truly are: women are so oppressed, they don't even know it.
Year after year these activists make claims about women and violence, women and depression, women and eating disorders, women and workplace injustice -- to support their views. Over the years, I have looked carefully at many of these claims. What I have found is that much of the supporting evidence, mostly victim statistics, is misleading and often flat out wrong.
Consider the issue of the so-called gender wage gap. How many times have you heard that, for the same work, women receive 77 cents for every dollar a man earns? This charge is constantly repeated by feminist activists and their supporters, yet it is so deeply misleading as to border on outright falsehood.
The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not take account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week.
Now, wage-gap activists in groups like the American Association of University Women or the National Women's Law Center they say, no, no -- even when you control for these factors, women still earn less. Well it always turns out that they have omitted one or two crucial data points.
Take the case of doctors. On the surface, it looks like female physicians are clearly victims of wage discrimination -- they appear to earn less for the same work. But dig a little deeper beneath the surface and you find that women are far more likely than men to enter lower paying specialties like pediatrics or family medicine than higher-paying cardiology or anesthesiology. They are also more likely to work part time. And even women who work full time put in about 7 percent fewer hours than men. Women physicians are also far more likely to take long leaves of absence -- usually to start a family. Now, there are exceptions, but most workplace pay gaps narrow to the point of vanishing when one accounts for all of these relevant factors.
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