The Suffering of the Sisters

Yesterday while doing some research I came across an article which contained this gem:

And though women hold 52% of management, professional and related jobs in the United States, that number masks considerable gender-based occupational segregation. Women represent 85% of meeting, convention and event planners and 72% of human resource managers, but just 19% of software developers and 9% of mechanical engineers. You can guess which roles come with more power, prestige and pay.

The way that’s written you’d think there was some sort of conspiracy to keep women out of the higher-paying roles, or to pay men more regardless of what value they added. And if mechanical engineers enjoy greater power than HR managers in large organisations, I’ve clearly chosen the wrong course. I’m not even sure we score better in prestige. They then go on to say:

We spend about a fifth of our waking lives at work. Those hours should be a source of satisfaction — not stress, boredom and frustration.

Research shows that women often report higher job satisfaction than men.

Well yes, because many choose to go into HR and event planning rather than get their heads around calculus and steam tables to become well-paid mechanical engineers. But there’s nothing stopping them, as many of my female engineer friends can attest (and they all went to university in the late ’90s, so this isn’t a recent development).

The article purports to give advice to women on what company they should work for, but seems mainly to consist of suggesting they find one where they get well paid for not doing very much. I think there might be a queue outside that outfit.

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9 thoughts on “The Suffering of the Sisters

  1. We spend about a fifth of our waking lives at work. Those hours should be a source of satisfaction — not stress, boredom and frustration.

    Poppycock! Satisfaction at work is a luxury which the majority of people (who are not included within the author’s all-embracing “we”) can’t ever hope to achieve.

  2. Just remember that feminism is fundamentally a middle class campaign for not very bright middle class women to get highly paid for not doing very much, if anything at all. Its basically them wanting to be a kept woman but without any commensurate obligations to whoever is keeping them, husbands or employers. And to be told constantly how wonderful they are for ‘achieving’ all this.

  3. I lost interest when it implied that somehow mechanical engineers were the dogs bollocks, when we all know fine well that it’s civil engineers.

  4. Meissen Bison:

    Exactly. I saw my dad go off to work in a factory to do a job he obviously found boring and unpleasant. He took me in with him once (I think he was returning paperwork to the foreman or something) and it was a very nasty place indeed. I grew up to expect something far better, and my parents encouraged me to “get a nice job in an office – at least indoors in the warm and dry.” Thanks to the new plate-glass university expansion, I did just that. But I quickly realised that this type of work was wearing and demeaning in a different way. Just like my dad, I spent years doing unpleasant thankless tasks with shitty people, just to feed my family.

    I wonder where this idea came from that work is essentially fulfilling and pleasant – part of a general lifestyle choice. My best guess is that the benefits needed to be ramped up in order to entice women away from their home and children. It takes some sophisticated lies to break those hormonal bonds.

  5. “that number masks considerable gender-based occupational segregation. ”

    Is there any attempt to unravel what might cause this segregation rather than hand waving “nasty men” arguments? Other than suggestions that men and women aren’t actually identical (which would also undermine the argument being promoted….)?

    Equally:
    “The larger the percentage of women in every quartile — especially the upper quartiles, where women are most often underrepresented — the more likely the company is to be a good employer for women.”

    But that also says nothing about the company itself, just about its gender balance.

  6. Its no coincidence that this push for all women to have careers started in the mid ’70s but really took off in the ’80s, just as office jobs for men were really taking off and tough manual jobs were shutting down.

    There was no push in the ’60s for women to get opportunities in the pits, steel mills or iron foundries where I lived. I remember some woman wanted to be a train driver and that caused a bit of a stir, she was really determined and the unions fought well, but eventually lost and she go her wish.

    It wasn’t like women weren’t working and having careers before then as plenty of female teachers, doctors and even judges can attest. Yes, they had to work hard and met lots of resistance, but if there’d been a big push to get women in to all jobs those women might have found life easier.

    As others have said, this idea of fulfilling careers is the reserve of a lucky 1% or even less.

  7. “Is there any attempt to unravel what might cause this segregation rather than hand waving “nasty men” arguments? Other than suggestions that men and women aren’t actually identical (which would also undermine the argument being promoted….)?”

    The strange thing is that the feminist argument for more women in the workplace (or rather the feminists argument for more women in nice warm, safe and well paid workplaces) manages to take both sides of the argument – that men and women are interchangeable so there’s no ‘mens jobs vs womens jobs’ issues, but also that adding women to a male workforce will improve it because diversity, thus implying that women bring something different to the table and are not interchangeable with men……….

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