Carolyn Mark is president of the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Organization for Women.

57 responses to “Equal Pay for Equal Work Still Elusive for Women”

  1. RightToWork

    I agree – gender equality is important.

    Since single, childless women under 30 earn significantly more than single, childless men under 30, when can I expect to receive my settlement/parity check in the mail?

    Women today are disproportionately accepted into and graduate from higher education programs, which have a significant impact on lifetime earnings. When is this “discriminatory” issue going to be addressed?

    More than 9 out of 10 workplace fatalities are men. Do we not care about the safety of men? When is this going to be addressed?

    According to Time Magazine and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women also now make up the majority of the workforce in highly paid managerial positions. When is this going to be addressed? Should men receive affirmative action preference for such positions until the roles equalize?

  2. turbo

    In case you were wondering, Right to Work got almost every argument and factoid he just presented from a single Time magazine article, the first paragraph of which reads:

     The fact that the average American working woman earns only about 8o% of what the average American working man earns has been something of a festering sore for at least half the population for several decades. And despite many programs and analyses and hand-wringing and badges and even some legislation, the figure hasn’t budged much in the past five years.

    All you have to do to find the article is pick just about any line in his post, copy it, paste it into a google search, and the article’ll come up.

    Of course, without the filter of disgruntled male bitterness and resentment, the piece comes across as just the sort of measured, mild assessment of gender divisions in the workplace you’d expect from a tepid, corporate rag like Time.

    I don’t know who reads this stuff. People who like to skim garbage for their rants, I guess.

    Anyway, Time points out that women have made some minor gains that don’t compensate for the continued inequeties present in their, well, compensation. Still grist for the hate mill, I suppose.

    P.s. I think you mean ‘elusive’.

    1. RightToWork

      I’m not sure what specific points you are trying to make besides that you don’t like Time and you don’t like me. You don’t dispute the accuracy or relevance of any of the “factoids” I listed, so what difference does it make whether they were discussed in a Time article or not? They were not “cut and pasted,” and I did reference the source, so it’s not like I was plagiarizing or trying to hide anything. In any case, the BLS data and underlying study on under-30 women are totally independent of Time, so how is Time even relevant to those sources? The 9 out of 10 workplace fatalities statistic was not mentioned in the Time article, and it has been widely reported outside of Time that women now disproportionately graduate from higher educational institutions. They included it in the article because it is relevant to the topic – not to stir up hate, unless you consider that the aim of this RIFUTURE blog article.

      1. turbo

        I’m pointing out that, aside from having no taste in journalism and aside from cribbing from whatever page happens to fall open in front of you, you’re trying to refute the position of the RIF post by regurgitating parts of a Time article that supports the position of the RIF post.

        In other words, we have here yet another fine example of the Right to Work style: a statement that directly and immediately undercuts itself.


        1. RightToWork

          So you’re affirming that have nothing of substance to say on the points I raised and that you do not dispute any of them. You just felt compelled to write a few comments saying that that you don’t like Time magazine and you don’t like my presentation style. Got it – thank you for clarifying. I’m sure the readers of this blog feel that it is a richer experience now.

          Most of the contradictions you accuse me of result only from your inability or unwillingness to make fine logical distinctions, but we all already knew that much.

          1. turbo

            First, you didn’t raise those points. Time magazine did.

            Second, the point of the Time article was that the gains you find so egregious, the advances you find so threatening and that so wound your poor little man-heart, remain minor compared with inequities in pay.

            Thus, the authority you turn to (and there’s nothing outside of  argumentum ad verecundium for you) says that equal pay is most important, which is what the article here says.

            In short, there you have no points to refute, because the very authority you yoink your points from has already rendered them unimportant.


            1. RightToWork

              No, the actual point of the article was that there is more going on in the data than “men earn more than women” and that it is highly dependent upon which specific demographics you are looking at, what their education level is, and where they are located. What you described is just your own narrative – it is not the point of the article, and anyone with basic reading comprehension skills can clearly see that for themselves by following the link below:

              “In short, there you have no points to refute, because the very authority you yoink your points from has already rendered them unimportant.”

              First of all, I didn’t appeal to Time magazine as an “authority.” I don’t even like Time magazine. I referenced it only because I knew you’re so eager to attack me that you would accuse me of plagiarism or concealment if I didn’t. The data referenced within the article can stand on its own regardless of whether you like Time or not, so attacking Time doesn’t affect its validity or lack thereof, a logical point which you consistently fail to understand in your ad hominem-style attacks. Second, it didn’t reference those points to say that they are “unimportant.” It doesn’t say that anywhere within the article. It brings them up because they are relevant to the issue of whether the “gender gap” is more nuanced than previously thought and whether the overall trend will reverse in the future (the article quotes researchers as saying it may).

              1. turbo

                “I referenced it only because I knew you’re”
                You were thinking of me in your initial response to this post? That is disturbing. If you have some kind of obsession with me, please keep it to yourself.

                I have also noticed that you brought me up in several other comments unconnected to me or any article I responded to. Please stop doing this.


                1. RightToWork

                  You’ve been trolling me incessantly and derailing most of the threads I’ve posted in with personal attacks and irrelevancies. I knew with close to 100% certainty that you would attack me in this thread based on your history here.

                  The only time I brought you up was by asking Bob why you are allowed to regularly engage in egregious trolling behavior and personal attacks when a relatively tame comment of mine was removed today on similar grounds.

                  1. turbo

                    I am not interested in your explanations for your inappropriate behavior. I am simply asking you to stop it.

                    That is my final word on the matter. 

  3. jgardner

    “have to pay significantly more than men because being a woman is treated as a pre-existing condition.”
    And when I was a male under 25, I had to pay significantly more than women for car insurance because my age was a pre-existing condition. When can I expect to get a refund check?

    1. turbo

      “And when I was a male under 25, I had to pay significantly more than women for car insurance because my age was a pre-existing condition. When can I expect to get a refund check?”

      When you live in a world where you are biologically compelled to drive. 

      1. RightToWork

        People aren’t biologically compelled to use birth control any more than they are biologically compelled to drive, unless someone can run 60 miles per hour on their own. Women can live without birth control.

        1. turbo

          Birth control? Who said anything about birth control?

          Are you trying to say that gender rating discrepancies arise entirely out of the health care costs of preventing pregnancy?

          I bet you are! 

          1. RightToWork

            Entirely? No. But they are a significant part of it.

            1. turbo

              How significant? Could you provide some data? I’m sure TV Guide has something to say on the subject.

              1. RightToWork

                Well, I would, but I wouldn’t want to “crib from” or “regurgitate” another source. You just spent a lot of time above telling us how much you hate when people do that.

                1. turbo

                  Oh. It’s my fault that you have no evidence to back up your claim.

                  How do you get through your day? 

      2. PinkHatLib

        So gender based underwriting is OK, so long as it is a voluntary activity? How about pension annuities or life insurance? jg raises a valid question, imho.

      3. jgardner

        “When you live in a world where you are biologically compelled to drive.”
        Irrelevant, as usual. This article talks about gender discrimination… it makes no distinction regarding the circumstances surrounding such discrimination.

        1. turbo

          I responded to your post, not to the article, and, however speciously, you analogized voluntary activity with biology. You did that.

          Furthermore, the article does not talk about gender discrimination in general. It talks about discrimination against women, which, through kindergarten reasoning, you want to say is a fine thing, because there is gender discrimination against men. 


          1. PinkHatLib

            So you have us believe that charging higher rates to the elderly is a form of age discrimination as well? Not really following this whole line of reasoning (and as a NOW supporter fwiw).

            1. turbo


              Would you like to elaborate on how any possible discrimination of anyone anywhere makes discrimination against women ok?

              I mean: where are you hoping to take this? What could your upshot be? 

              The point of the article is to outline a number of discriminations against women. Are you hoping to say that some or all of these discriminations are justified?

              Because that is exactly what RTW and jg are doing: they are literally arguing that it is okay to discriminate against women. Is this your stance as well? 

          2. jgardner

            “analogized voluntary activity with biology”
            But my age (biology) caused the gender discrimination, not that I was engaging in a voluntary activity (driving). That you focused only on the fact that driving is voluntary made your comment irrelevant.

            1. turbo

              No. Your age cannot cause you to drive, and the discrimination cannot occur unless you choose to drive.

              Gender rating of health insurance happens regardless of a woman’s behavior. The gender discrimination doesn’t suddenly kick in because a woman chooses to be a woman.

              In other words, there is no such voluntary behavior ‘being a woman’, while there is such voluntary behavior ‘driving’.


              1. RightToWork

                As usual, you’re not making the correct logical distinctions. The issue at hand isn’t whether behavior is “voluntary” or not, and making such a distinction would be next to impossible in the first place (many people “must” drive to work to pay the bills and buy food, etc.). The pertinent issue is what types of discrimination should be allowed or not allowed and on what basis.

                If you have a specific problem with the driving example, there are infinite hypotheticals that get to the same central issue. Should a construction company have to make up the difference in building a special-access home for a disabled person? Should an airline have to take a loss by providing extra seats to a 600-pound person? I guess if you think government should provide all these services at no cost to the consumer then the issue resolves itself, but otherwise you will have to make these kinds of distinctions if you want to be principled.

                1. turbo

                  “The pertinent issue is what types of discrimination should be allowed or not allowed and on what basis.”

                  Yes. We should discriminate against people for certain kinds of voluntary behavior, such as driving.

                  You might not like this kind of distiction, and you might have a hard time thinking it through, but your tastes and intellectual limitations do not logical distinctions make.


                  1. RightToWork

                    Working is at least as voluntary as driving, and certainly working within a given industry is voluntary. Should employment discrimination be permitted broadly? How about for a given industry?

                    You see now why the “voluntary” distinction you are making isn’t the correct one. An activity being voluntary has nothing to do with whether age discrimination or gender discrimination or any other type of discrimination is justified or not.

                    You have to make these kinds of fine logical distinctions if you want to make principled arguments, otherwise you are just taking things on a case by case basis and making judgments based on what “feels” right to you.

                    1. turbo

                      “Should employment discrimination be permitted broadly? ”

                      Yes. And it is. Insurers change rates based on their clients jobs all the time and rightly so.

                      How can you possibly be unaware of this? 

                    2. RightToWork

                      That’s not what “employment discrimination” means. Employment discrimination is when an employer discriminates against applicants or employees in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, compensation, retaliation, or various types of workplace harassment. It has nothing to do with insurance rates based on job classifications.

                      Should employment discrimination be allowed since working is just as voluntary as driving?

                    3. turbo

                      What are you even talking about? The whole conversation is about insurance.

                      There’s no reason at all to draw conclusions about hiring from conclusions about insuring.

                    4. RightToWork

                      You asserted that the important distinction between discrimination by gender in health insurance rates and discrimination by gender in automobile insurance rates was whether the insurance was “voluntary” or not (whatever that even means – both are voluntary purchases from a literal standpoint).

                      I am giving you the example of employment discrimination as something which, as a progressive, you are also likely to find morally offensive and support banning by law, such as the ADA, ADEA, Equal Pay Act, or Title VII, even though working is “voluntary” according to your own reasoning. It puts you in the uncomfortable position of logically either having to say that employment discrimination is ethically okay to you or having to admit that the disctinction you were making about “voluntary” behavior is not the correct one in this discussion.

                    5. turbo

                      “either having to say that employment discrimination is ethically okay to you or having to admit that the disctinction you were making about “voluntary” behavior is not the correct one in this discussion.”

                      Not at all.

                      For one thing, I can say that it’s ethically okay, and even morally imperative, to practice employment discrimination for certain kinds of voluntary behavior.

                      One has merely to define the kinds of behavior narrowly.

                      For another, it works both ways. The volition of the employer matters, too. If he wants, voluntarily, to hire people in this society, then he must abide by certain rules. If he doesn’t like those rules, then he can choose not to hire people.

                      The society gets to choose which voluntary behaviors to reward and which to punish. The idea that, because society has this power, there are simply no rules, is absurd.


                    6. RightToWork

                      “For one thing, I can say that it’s ethically okay, and even morally imperative, to practice employment discrimination for certain kinds of voluntary behavior.”

                      Stop playing word games to dodge the issue. We’re talking about discrimination based on biological characteristics like gender or age. I specifically told you that I was talking about employment discrimination as prohibited by Title VII, ADEA, ADA - not some kind of “voluntary behavior.” Refusing to answer the question of whether something like racial or gender-based employment discrimination is ethical in your opinion is intellectual dishonesty. It’s a simple question and it deserves a simple answer. Presumably it makes you uncomfortable so you are choosing to avoid it.
                      Nobody is claiming that there should be no rules – you’re still missing the point. In order to be principled, you need to have some sort of logical distinction that will determine what those rules should be for discriminatory behavior. You originally said that the distinction you were using was whether the underlying activity was “voluntary” or not. Our examples illustrate why that distinction is not the proper one, and your reluctance to acknowledge them at face value and respond to our questions implies that we have proven our point.

                    7. turbo

                      “We’re talking about discrimination based on biological characteristics like gender or age. ”

                      I don’t know why this is so hard for you.

                      There are two categories: voluntary and involuntary.

                      Being a woman is involuntary.

                      Driving is voluntary.

                      Working is voluntary.

                      Can you refuse to hire a woman for being a woman? No.

                      Can you choose to charge a man extra for insurance because he chooses to drive? Yes.

                      Now, here’s where you get confused. You want to say that it’s possible to pay a woman less than a man for equal work, because the woman is choosing to work.

                      This is not possible. That would be tantamount to saying that you want to punish the woman for the voluntary behavior of choosing to work for you, which is simply nonsense. 

                    8. RightToWork

                      As I suspected from the start – all of this stems from your underlying sloppy thought process and failure to make the correct logical distinctions.

                      There are not, as you state, two categories at issue in this discussion. There are four categories:

                      A – Voluntary transaction (e.g., automobile insurance); voluntary basis of discrimination (e.g., absenteeism, vandalism)
                      B – Voluntary transaction; involuntary basis of discrimination (e.g., gender, race)
                      C – Involuntary transaction (e.g., health insurance, by your logic anyway); voluntary basis of discrimination
                      D – Involuntary transaction; involuntary basis of discrimination

                      What you have done in your latest comment is conflated Category B with Category D, but they are in fact very different for the purposes of your argument.

                      What you previously stated was that the principled distinction you were making was between Category B (ethical in your opinion) and Category D (unethical in your opinion). I didn’t believe you, so I tested you with another example from Category B, which was employment discrimination based on race or gender. You then confirmed my suspicion by taking the opposite stance on my hypothetical, despite the fact that there is no principled difference between it and the automobile insurance discrimination hypothetical that jgardner posed earlier.

                      Your hard-line distinction between what types of transactions are voluntary and involuntary is similarly sloppy and ill-defined, but we’ll leave that alone for the moment. I don’t want you to get even more confused than you already are.

                      The lesson, folks, is that semantic and logical hygiene is important, otherwise you end up with an utter mess of an argument.

                    9. turbo

                      First, the lulz: “so I tested you”. You were just testing me?! Ha ha ha! Oh my! With playground rhetoric like that, it’s no wonder you want Bob to be your personal recess lady!

                      Second, no: “conflated Category B with Category D”. You’re mistaking your own intellectual sclerosis for my conflation. You’ve got the typology wrong: the car insurance example falls under Category A, because the young man can choose not to drive.

                      You still don’t understand where the choice comes into play, in other words. This is your basic error, and you’ve done nothing but re-phrase it over and over again.

                    10. RightToWork

                      No, the car insurance example clearly falls under Category B, same as employment discrimination example, because being a man is an INVOLUNTARY characteristic and basis for discrimination, even though the transaction itself is VOLUNTARY.

                      I don’t know how to make it any clearer to you. Anyone reading this can clearly see that you are wrong. 

                    11. turbo

                      I see your problem. You have no idea why insurance companies charge young men higher premia. You think it’s for no reason at all.

                      Fascinating. Again, I doff my hat to your cluelessness. But, also again, I must educate you.

                      Insurance companies charge young men more, because young men incur more costs, because they crash cars more often.

                      You can only crash cars by choosing to drive.

                      Insurance companies charge young women more, because young women incur more costs, because…young women incur more costs.

                      Young women incur higher costs by being women, not by doing anything (as your extensive research on birth control has proven).


                      Young men: higher costs due to the act of driving.

                      Young women: higher costs due to the state of being women.


                    12. RightToWork

                      More poor logic. I understand why perfectly, but it’s still based on an involuntary basis of discrimination because they discriminate against all men on the basis of gender, not just men who engage in the problematic behaviors. Think about it this way: would it be okay if a business refused to hire a black person because blacks have a higher than average incarceration rate? No, because it’s still discrimination based on an immutable characteristic. It is, however, permissible to discriminate against individuals who were incarcerated, which would be in the voluntary category.

                    13. turbo

                      “it’s still based on an involuntary basis of discrimination”

                      No; it isn’t. Men as a gender do not get in car crashes more frequently. Men who drive get in car çrashes more frequently.

                      That is: getting into more car accidents than average is not a quality of young men. Young men have to do something extra, besides just be young men, in order to create the problem.

                      Young women do not have to do anything extra in order to incur greater health care costs than young men. They simply have to be young women.

                      Similarly, a black man born in America is at higher risk of winding up in jail than a white man born in Americe, simply by being born black in America. The black man doesn’t have to do anything to incur that risk.
                      To put it another way, the risks for women and black men to incur high health care costs and go to jail, respectively, are there from birth.

                      The risk that a man will be in more car accidents than average does not exist from birth and may never be realized, because that risk never comes into play, unless the man chooses to drive.

                      You simply understand nothing of human agency. 

              2. jgardner

                “Your age cannot cause you to drive, and the discrimination cannot occur unless you choose to drive.”
                That applies to anyone who drives, not just males under 25, so why do males under 25 get charged more for their insurance?

                1. turbo

                  Because young men are more likely to get in accidents–a likelihood they can reduce by choosing not to drive.

                  Women are likely to require more health care than men (at least on the younger side of things), but women cannot choose not to be women.

                  1. RightToWork

                    Incredible – he still doesn’t realize that the distinctions he’s making aren’t logically parallel.

                    Let me help you, turbo. The correct philosophical parallel in the first instance is that “men cannot choose not to be men.” The fact that a person can choose to avoid driving (of course this itself is debatable for many) has nothing logically to do with whether the discrimination itself is justifiable.

                    1. turbo

                      “The correct philosophical parallel”

                      There’s no such thing as a philosophical parallel.

                      “The fact that a person can choose to avoid driving (of course this itself is debatable for many) has nothing logically to do with whether the discrimination itself is justifiable.”

                      Of course it does. You can ethically discriminate against people for all manner of voluntary behavior.

                       “men cannot choose not to be men.”

                      True. And they should not be discriminated against for simply being men.


                  2. PinkHatLib

                    So purchasing auto insurance, which is required to drive btw, is a voluntary activity, but purchasing health insurance, which is not required to receive health care, is involuntary. 

                    How about death? Presumably a voluntary activity or do you think your life insurance should cost the same as an 80 year-old’s?

                    1. turbo

                      Health insurance is essential for receiving health care in this country. There are huge health discrepancies between the insured and the uninsured. Health care is the kind of good that requires insurance to handle.

                      So, yes, to gender rate health insurance for women is to punish them, either financially or physically, for being women. 

                      “How about death? ”

                      How about it? Life insurance has no impact on a person’s death.

    2. sandsonik

      Ok, that’s the second response from a male about “waiting for your check” – are you somehow under the impression that the government reimburses women for being underpaid, or that this is being suggested???  Why bring it up then?

      You were charged more for your car insurance as a 20-something male because of the same statistics that allow medical insurers to charge smokers more for health insurance; you were a greater risk to them.  I fail to see the relevance of that in a discussion on women’s wages. Care to explain?

      1. jgardner

        “are you somehow under the impression that the government reimburses women for being underpaid”
        Hardly. A more relevant statement probably would have been to ask when I can expect gov’t intervention to ban such gender discrimination.
        “I fail to see the relevance of that in a discussion on women’s wages”
        My comment was specifically targeted at the idea of eliminating gender rating in the health insurance industry. For the same reason you note young males are charged more for auto insurance, women are charged more health insurance — insurers apparently face greater liability from those groups, and that alone is not reason to eliminate such discrimination.

        1. sandsonik

          Sorry, I re-read the piece and see I originally missed the bit about gender ratings in health insurance.  I couldn’t understand why an article about wage discrimination seems to have become entirely a discussion about insurance discrimination! 

          I admit I didn’t know that women were charged more for health insurance, but I’m not sure also applies to group insurance? My impression is that has to do with single policies.  (I have never been charged more for health insurance obtained from work, to my knowledge).   Is the argument being advanced that disparate costs to employers for health insurance is the reason for different wages paid to women?   

  4. Tom Sgouros

    Actually, just to add a comment to an interesting thread, actuaries routinely engage in a philosophically interesting — and less defensible than they might claim — exercise.  They have to decide which categories of people to divide the world into in order to get their ratings  There is nothing about the world that demands that auto insurance or health insurance or life insurance be rated separately for men and women.  Some actuaries decided that it should be the case, and so that’s what we do.  Other categorizations might be more salient from a mathematically sophisticated insurer’s point of view, but are either too hard to measure, or deemed socially unfair, so they aren’t used. 

    Auto insurance for young people is actually a pretty good example.  There is nothing about testicles that makes a driver unsafe.  You don’t use them to look at the road, step on the gas, or steer.  A responsible young person is generally a responsible driver, and safe, whatever shape their gonads.  But it’s hard for insurance companies to determine if a potential driver is responsible.  Much easier to determine the gonad shape, which is roughly correlated with responsibility and rate insurance based on that.  The resulting unfairness to responsible males and irresponsible females is assumed to be small enough to be justified, though I know of little real work to justify that assumption.

    The whole issue is related to the difficulty of real taxonomy and goes back at least to Plato and his suggestion that a good taxonomy “carves nature at its joints.”  Some classification schemes do a better job of finding the joints than others, but they’re all arbitrary, so it’s not at all out of bounds to appeal to fairness when establishing them, especially for something like insurance.  It’s even more appropriate for the bizarre case we have in this country where we use insurance, a scheme for sharing risk, to pay for things like checkups, vaccinations, and dental cleanings that 100% of the covered people will (or should) use, and use equally.

    1. PinkHatLib

      In that regard, health care underwriting is among the most defensible. Yes, there is nothing about testicles that makes a driver unsafe, but if your primary care physician doesn’t recognize that gender affects your specific health needs it’s time to switch to a new doc.

      That’s not an arbitrary division of the world as you suggest but rather a relevant a piece of you medical history.

      1. RightToWork

        Nobody could argue that biological factors like gender are irrelevant to medical care or the objective cost of providing that care. They are obviously relevant, which is why the price discrimination is occuring in the first place. It’s more properly discussed as an issue of “fairness.” Somebody arguing in favor such a ban should explain why they consider the price discrimination unfair in the first place and exactly what behavior they are trying to prevent. In other words, are they concerned about price discrimination based on factors outside of a individual’s control? Or do they want certain classes to come out equally in the end? Failure to make these kinds of fine distinctions results in a sloppy, incoherent mess of arbitrary distinctions that don’t resolve any particular issue or advance any coherent ideology, which is what we saw unravel in the conversation above.

        1. turbo

          “Failure to make these kinds of fine distinctions ”

          You mean like your failure to make fine distinctions between the kinds of health care that women receive?

          We’re still waiting with bated breath for your nice analysis of how birth control factors into things. Remember? You attributed the high costs of women’s health care to birth control and then ran away when pressed for evidence. Surely, you have all the links you need to Time magazine, Wikipedia, and TV Guide by now.

          Whenever you’re ready!  

          And as a pro-tip: just because you can’t undestand something doesn’t mean it isn’t true, logical, or fine. You often mistake your own incomprehension for other people’s failings. It’s okay if you’re not as fast as everyone else, but it’s not okay to say that the race is unfair, just because you’re losing.

          1. RightToWork

            I made clear and organized arguments that forced you to clarify your discombobulated thought process into principled distinctions for public policy applications. As a result of this confrontation, you realized that you had no principled argument in favor of or against any particular type or instance of discrimination, so you became enraged and resorted to personal attacks, distortions, and irrelevancies (like what portion of health care cost is due to birth control) instead, as you eventually do in every thread. In this way, every argument with you simply becomes a battle of patience, time, and attrition, since you would rather die a thousand deaths than concede even the smallest logical point to the opposition.

            No rational person could possibly read the above conversation and think that I “lost” to you. Or perhaps I should say “we,” since the other commenters are advancing the same lines of argument that I am on the price discrimination topic. In fact, I’ve never seen a single person express support for your arguments on this blog. Do you ever wonder why that is?

            1. turbo

              You shouldn’t be this angry. You know, there’s a phenomenon called frustration aggression that you could look into; I’m sure there’s a Wikipedia entry on it.

              It’s the sort of thing you see when a child is trying to learn long division and just can’t get the hang of it, and so he gets and angry and starts yelling at the teacher, ‘It’s not logical! You can’t divide a number! One is one!’–that sort of thing.

              Look: I’m making distinctions that you may just be constitutionally incapable of understanding, because of some fundamental problem you have with…well…understanding human agency. There are basic questions of free will that you’re just not getting, and so, when you try to plug your misperceptions into a logical framework, of course it seems to you that something’s wrong.

              And so you’re frustrated. And so you lash out. And so you try to play to the crowd. And so you try to enlist other people to your side.

              To put it another way, you’re trying to deny the reality of a complicated position, because you can’t understand anything above a certain level of simplicity. You can handle addition and subtraction, and maybe even multiplication, but division is just too much for you. In your mind, complexity is always the same thing as inconsistency or contradiction.

              I’m sorry, but it’s a complicated world out there. My position is perfectly coherent and consistent, and, really, to me, not even all that complicated. You’re just completely hung up on the idea that there is a difference between choosing to drive a car and being a woman. That fine distinction (!!!) is your long division. 

              So you’re frustrated and aggressive. This is why you continue to pretend that the question of the role of birth control in the high cost of health care for women is irrelevant. But you raised the issue–you! you raised the issue!–because you wanted to say that it is the choices women make that cause their health care to be high.

              That would be a valid point on your side, and you know it.

              However, you also know that TV Guide has nothing to say on the matter. You know that it would be actually quite difficult to show that women’s choice to use birth control plays a significant role inincreasing their health care costs. Remember: you asserted that birth control is a significant factor.

              So, you have before you a straightforward way to present evidence to strengthen your case, but you fear that you can’t find the evidence or that it would actually turn out to weaken your case. This is why you are now trying to pretend the question is irrelevant.

              And that’s irrational. Irrational and angry is no way to go through life. 

      2. Tom Sgouros

        As we learn more about genetics, gender will become relatively less important from the point of view of probability but it will remain no less salient as a moral and ethical issue.

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