On October 22 the White House announced a “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality” to guide its new Gender Equity Policy Council. The document’s professed purpose is combating allegedly widespread discrimination against women. What does it really do? Disregard and misrepresent facts to fit ideology. Use alleged anti-female discrimination as “justification” for policies irrelevant to the issue.
Four examples from the White House document can demonstrate the first problem. The document suggests: 1) That women are marginalized in professional life. 2) That they have inferior access to education. 3) That women accused of crime are treated less fairly than accused men. 4) That gender based anti-female violence is “endemic” and “rooted in structural gender inequalities and power imbalances.” Compare this to the facts.
First: Women make up increasingly large proportions of those have the best paying and most prestigious careers. From 2007 to 2019 the proportion of female doctors increased from 28% to 36%. In 2019 a majority of medical school students were female for the first time in American history. A year earlier, females held a 52% majority among law students. By 2020 37% of lawyers were women. Half of college professors, 44% of tenure track professors and a majority of college department heads are female. Given this rate of increase, new government initiatives can do little or nothing to hasten the process. “Disproportions” are largely found among older generations and on track to disappear with time.
Second: A majority of college students are female. Females students, as just noted, are now in the majority in some of the most significant post-graduate disciplines. The absolute number (not percentage) of males attending college is in decline. Female college students have many more scholarship opportunities than their male counterparts.
What “evidence” backs claims that females are “margnalized” in professional and educational life? Irrelevantly narrow statistics. While a majority of college department heads are female, a majority of college presidents are male. Female college students have more scholarships but males have more athletic scholarships. Few women are interested in STEM professions. Some consider it a problem that female doctors are concentrated in particular specializations—constituting, for example, 54% of rheumatologists and 22% of gastroenterologists.
Third: According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 93% of current federal prisoners are male. That’s identical to the figure for all prisoners in the United States in 2018 and higher than the 2015 nationwide figure (90%). A study by Chicago Law School’s Sonja Starr (formerly of the University of Michigan) demonstrated that such disparities are impacted by gender bias. She found:
“Dramatic unexplained gender gaps in federal criminal cases. Conditional on arrest offense, criminal history, and other pre-charge observables, men receive 63% longer sentences on average than women do. Women are also significantly likelier to avoid charges and convictions, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.”
“Certain factors (such as childcare and offense roles) are partial but not complete explanations [for such disparities].”
“Significant new disparity favoring women is introduced at every stage of the justice process.”
Fourth: Males are the most common victims both of severe violence and of domestic violence. In 2019, 100,00 more men than women were violent crime victims in the United States. The CDC reports that 4.2 million men were subjected to domestic violence in 2015 compared to 3.5 million women. And objective evidence has not shown that “structural inequalities and power imbalances” (whether gender based or otherwise) are a cause of violence.
The other major flaw in the “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality” is the fact that it is largely a front for promoting the totality of a political party’s agenda. Specific proposals include:
“Pursuing an increase in the minimum wage and the elimination of the tipped minimum wage.”
“Address[ing] the rise in automation and insecure work arrangements—from the growth in independent contracting to the erosion of unions and workers’ rights.”
“Invest[ing] in making college affordable for low- and middle-income students...which will help close gender, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic opportunity gaps.”
“Work[ing] to support a fair and humane immigration system in the United States that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people...to more fully participate in our country.”
Such matters are irrelevant to the topic supposedly at issue. Their inclusion is “justified” on the grounds of alleged ripple effects and using the ideological presuppositions of “Critical Theory.” Their inclusion also indicates the real purpose of the “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.” That purpose is not addressing alleged mistreatment of women in, say, the accounting profession. It is a centrally planned “reorganization” of society.