Women don’t work hard enough

Gender issues can be difficult for men to talk about with women.  You could say it’s a minefield but only if you’re talking about a minefield that probably won’t kill you but stands a really good chance of setting off an explosion at the level of your balls that will almost certainly shred them.  As most men see some value in their balls, this is territory in which sensible men tread very carefully, if at all.
In Australia, studies have shown that on average, women earn about 15% less than men (which is to say, for every $1.00 a man earns, a woman will earn 85c).  There are a lot of things that contribute to this, not all of which involve an evil plot by men to steal from hard working women.  For a man to have a conversation with a woman about this is the equivalent of holding a grenade with the pin pulled.  Staying alive depends on being fast enough to get the pin back in before the inevitable explosion.
Of course, with some men the intention is to lob a whole bunch of hand grenades and then laugh at the carnage.  Somewhere between “You’re so right, I wish I was a woman so that I had more empathy for all that is good in the world – I am so ashamed at being part of the phallocentric patriarchy,” and “Shut up bitch and get me another beer,” there is some rational territory for discussion.  But it’s a brave man who enters there.
This week there was a panel discussion on the topic of gender-based pay inequity at the National Press Club in Australia.  Several prominent women including the federal Minister for the Status of Women were on the panel.  As was one man, a social researcher (whatever that is) from the University of Melbourne, Professor Mark Wooden.  I imagine the audience was heavily dominated by women as well.
(Side note: with a name like Wooden, do you think he’s a really boring speaker?)
So where would the professor sit?  Was he going to surrender his balls, focus on protecting them from shrapnel or swing them around in the breeze and see if there were any takers?  Judge for yourself.
The summary of Professor Wooden’s position is “women don’t work hard enough”.  He said high achievers in all walks of life put in long hours of work and many women simply weren’t willing to put in the same hours as men.  One report described the response as “gasps from the mostly female audience.”  I bet.  And there was probably the sound of sharpening knives as well.  Not to mention a bit of walnutting* from the Prof.
Another panellist, federal minister Tanya Plibersek, (unsurprisingly) disagreed.  She raised the extremely valid point that the notion of needing to work until all hours should be challenged.  I personally think it’s bullshit and refuse to do it.  Which probably explains the fact I’m not CEO of anything.  Along with the fact I never went to a private school.  And I refuse to suck the boss’ cock.  And the crack addiction.
For the record, I don’t think Professor Wooden is completely right.  But he isn’t completely wrong either.  Only a tiny minority of the overall workforce rise through the ranks of management.  If men are more prone to do stupid, life-destroying things to get there, is it any wonder they dominate the field?  I don’t think women (or any minority) are done any favours when they are given a benefit “just because they’re a woman”.  But anyone who says there aren’t situations where an equally or better qualified minority loses out to a white male whose sole advantage is being a white male is either deluding themselves or simply lying.
If he made his rather contentious statements just to stir up shit then he’s a bit of a dick.  But if his intention was to get people to face some unfortunate truths, then good on him.  Maybe the reason some women don’t get as far as some men is they just don’t want it enough.  I certainly know I don’t want to give up my free time just to get more money in the bank.
He did seem to get a bit silly in the discussion.  He was quoted as saying:
“The only way we can achieve this is if we have lots of role reversals, lots of men behaving like women and lots of women behaving like men.”
“I don’t think women in Australia want that, I don’t think that women anywhere in the world want that.”
I’ve never liked arguments that seem to be based on the idea that there’s only one way for men to act and one way for women to act.  And I’m not sure what qualifies Professor Wooden to say what women want.  Speaking from experience, if you have one woman in your life it’s hard enough to know what she’s thinking, no matter how much time you spend with her.  Speaking for all the women in the world is a little bit audacious.
But his “careful what you wish for” tone did remind me of my college days.  There was certainly a very strong feminist culture there, right down to a hardcore group who fit right in with the “all men are rapists” stereotype. 
A fellow alumnus, Sue Ann Post (self described as “Australia’s favourite six foot, lesbian, ex-Mormon, diabetic, comedian and writer”) described them in a recent performance as feminazis.  So there you go, Rush Limbaugh isn’t the only person who uses that term.
Mind you, at the other end of the spectrum was an appalling boofhead culture that dominated the social scene which was basically run by rugby players.  I enjoyed the company of most of the feminists but I fucking hated the rugby players.
Quite a few impressionable young women were cultivated into a reasonable approximation of man hating lesbians while they were there.  The trouble is, a lot of them realised after college that they actually wanted to be with a man and even have a family with a man.  And all that time spent man hating put them in a bad place.  Most men really don’t like being treated as if there’s something intrinsically wrong with them simply because they’re men.
And the ones who do knuckle under to this treatment are usually really bad in bed.
So ladies, when you look at inequality in pay rates and management positions, it’s well worth asking yourself: “Is that what I really want?”
*WALNUTTING: To understand this term, you need to know two things. (1) What men’s testicles look like and (2) The fact that, under certain circumstances, men’s testicles will retract and appear to shrink.  Men’s balls look a bit like walnuts.  Round and wrinkly.  When it is cold or when a man feels threatened his balls will retract.  Which makes them really look like walnuts.  Hence, I wouldn’t be surprised if Professor Wooden suffered some walnutting while making his speech to a group of women.


Filed under Politics

19 responses to “Women don’t work hard enough

  1. Rob Moir

    I guess that while business rewards people half killing themselves to get to the top and climbing over the dead bodies of people who stumble along the way, you’re not going to get too high up the corporate ladder as a man or a woman if you’re not prepared to behaving like a cross between a corporate drone and a giant asshole.

    I’m not sure I even see this as a gender thing especially. Getting to the top of the ladder is a game and certain people just don’t seem inclined to play (I call these people ‘not sociopaths’). It isn’t just about long hours but also about a certain level of ruthlessness and a will to mire yourself in the politics of a situation… we all have to deal with politics in the working world to some degree, but the people who climb to the top are usually those who are prepared to *wallow* in it.

    Are fewer women sociopathic enough to play the game well, or is it just that we have a smaller sample of women in business playing the game at all – will this be addressed over time as the number of women prepared to start playing the game increases?

    Not heard ‘walnutting’ before, I’ll remember that one.

  2. DOA

    Gotta love women. Want the same treatment… unless they can do better being treated as women.
    I’m all for equal treatment. But it has to be EQUAL. In this country that means retiring at the same age as men and not a decade earlier. It means getting drafted and wasting a year of their lives in the army. It means no more 1 year leaves when they have a kid.

  3. Wooden said:
    “The summary of Professor Wooden’s position is “women don’t work hard enough”. He said high achievers in all walks of life put in long hours of work and many women simply weren’t willing to put in the same hours as men.”

    Hmmm. That’s a very narrow argument. I would have thought that a skilled person working in the same field as a less skilled person might be able to do the same job in less time, and better, too, by dint of their greater experience. Let’s take the example of a lawyer, preparing a brief, or a contract, for example. The very experienced lawyer knows most of the angles to cover, and deals with them promptly – the less experienced lawyer has to seek advice.

    The point is that, even if a person only works a 20-hour week, they might be able to accomplish exactly the same as a person working the full 40. That’s not to say that they could, but it’s possible, and merely assessing a person’s productivity based on the number of hours that they’re at their desk is bollox, as far as I can see.

    However, if Prof Wooden, and others only perceive the world, and the value of the workers within it in terms of “I pay people to work 40 hours, I expect 40 hours, and the only people I’m going to notice are the ones working 50+,” then that is the reality that we are required to deal with. If an ability to work inefficiently for 50 hours, just in order to be promoted is what cranks your handle, then we should all strive for this, I think!


  4. custador

    I had this debate with my missus a while back. She was Women’s Officer at Oxford University at the time, so I think you know which way she was pushing! A question I asked was: If a woman can take a year out of her working life to have a child and then retire five years earlier than a man, is it that much of a shock that she’d earn less over her working life? Is it even wrong? I don’t think it is at all! Hell, women live longer than we do, but still retire younger! What’s that about? Fuck that! I wan’t equal treatment, bitches – get your asses back to work.

  5. Rob Moir

    Matt, I could be wrong but while the talk about people being able to accomplish things in less time than their peers is important, I think for the purposes of the discussion, you’d have to assume that all other things were equal, that the people being compared were as productive as each other.

    And besides, it might be bullshit, but we all know there are people out there in the business world who place far more importance on how long you’re at your desk over how productive you were while you were there.

  6. I once heard another argument for the pay gap: that when negotiating a salary, men were more likely to be aggressive when finalizing the deal, when many women wouldn’t press as hard for a higher salary. In essence, the proponent of the above theory tried to make the argument that if women were just as competent, but failed to make successful arguments for higher pay, simply “taken what they were given.”

    I don’t necessarily with that argument, but it would be interesting to see if it was valid.

  7. Rob Moir wrote:
    “…I think for the purposes of the discussion, you’d have to assume that all other things were equal, that the people being compared were as productive as each other…”

    Fair enough. The only distinguishing factor, then, if all are equally capable (and equally productive!), is the amount of time that they’re at work. Those who are at work for the most hours are going to shift more work than those doing just forty, and are thus entitled to be promoted. If one is not prepared to put in the extra hours, one shouldn’t be surprised if one is not (promoted).

    However, people do differ, both in terms of ability (and perceived ability), knowledge, diligence and application. Assuming that the best person is the person who does, say, 50+ hours, is a very limited outlook, as I suggested, before. But this begs another question. Suppose a person is exceptional at what they do, but chooses to avoid doing the things that are necessary to get noticed by management (including sucking management’s dick, AA!).

    Suppose that person gets escalated up the corporate ladder just so far based on their ability, and then stops, for wont of those “little extras”. How does one keep that person motivated, when they are evidently talented beyond the accomplishments of their peers? Does one give them more money, more perqs, or does one pretend that they aren’t as talented as they are, and have therefore reached the topmost position that their abilities merit?


  8. Rob

    You raise some good points. The fact is, typical management can only recognise the stuff that is easy to manage, so that’s what they reward. It’s easy to say “Sue spent 60 hours at work last week, and Tim and Jenny only spent 40”, much more difficult to quantify that Sue’s ability is average on a good day, Tim is slightly better than average and Jenny is a genius that can produce perfect results in her sleep.

    Fact is, climbing the career ladder is a game and if anyone, man or woman, isn’t prepared to recognise that and play along they’ll only get so far. Whether or not more women get held back because women are better at seeing these games for what they are and deciding not to play is another thing (to tie this back to the subject of the post!)

  9. Hel

    Feminism in general usually annoys me so I’ll try to curb my tongue a little. Frankly I agree with Prof. Wooden. At this point in our evolution I don’t see how men and women could possibly be exactly the same. Regardless of political correctness we’re just plain hardwired for different things. The workplace is still largely run in a way that men thrive in, which I don’t personally see as a problem. Women are generally not set up for the delicate balance of working in a team whilst still angling for the top job. You’d think they would be with the whole bitchy “be nice to your face, gossip about you to other friends” thing, but we don’t seem to be able to handle the “it wasn’t personal, it’s business” thing.

    To be honest I absolutely hate the “we must have x% of women in management positions” policy that seems to be popular now. It’s not equality if you just get the job because they needed to make a quota of women. And on a side note, if the feminists really want equality then they’re going to have to start gunning for women to play sport against men instead of the current practice of “women’s tennis” & “men’s tennis” etc. I doubt it’s the sort of equality they want though. Heaven forbid they have to admit that women are in fact different to men.

  10. Rob wrote:
    “…Fact is, climbing the career ladder is a game and if anyone, man or woman, isn’t prepared to recognise that and play along they’ll only get so far…”

    Yes, I think that’s true – at least to the extent that it has been made into a game, for which higher management must accept the lion’s share of the repsonsibility, seeing as they set the culture for an organization.

    That is, if one encourages blowjobs as a substitute for high quality work (or, at least, where two candidates are equally good employees, the one who gives the best blowjobs gets the promotion!), then one shouldn’t be terribly surprised to find that morale isn’t that good. Because, while everybody may be aware that the whole thing’s a sham, there will still be those who refuse to play, and see less able types getting promoted, simply because they’re willing to wave their twats (or, in the interests of equality, arses), around!


  11. Rob

    I hate that positive discrimination thing, meeting quotas and filling in ‘diversity surveys’ makes me sad.

    I’m actually slightly disabled. Blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. Not enough to give me a hard time in life or stop me doing the sort of jobs I want to do, but enough to get an employer in the UK some points with the political correctness brigade running the place these days.

    If I can get away with it, I don’t tell employers about those disabilities when I go for a job interview. The idea that I’d be barred from a job I could do *or* get given a job despite *not* being the best candidate based on a personal thing that has nothing to do with my ability fills me with horror.

    Of course this comes back to what I’ve been talking about with Matt about ‘playing the game’. If another candidate is willing to exploit their own disability, gender, ethnic minority status, friendship with the CEO’s wife to get ahead then do I take the moral high ground or do I play my own cards just to keep the field level?

  12. Rob: I agree with you. I think you see more men in top position because being a psychopathic prick seems acceptable and even encouraged for men while being more likely to be frowned upon in women. And the first person I heard describe walnutting was Billy Bragg. A very long time ago.

    DOA: For society to exist, people have to be encouraged to have babies. I think rather than punishing women by taking away leave, men should be entitled to the same leave.

    Matt: I think his view is too narrow as well. Not completely wrong, but too limited.

    Custador: I’m sure you went very well in that conversation 😉

    Qiranger: I’ve heard that analysis too, and I think it’s at least partly true.

    Hel: I think anyone who argues all groups/minorities are exactly the same is a moron. I don’t really go in for quotas but organisations where 98% of management are white males would seem to have an issue to me.

  13. custador

    I once worked in an office where there were 24 management posts (the easiest and highest paid jobs), of which 2 were held by men and 22 by women. The best candidates for management jobs would get knocked back time and again in favour of women who were less able (and in some cases, plain incompetant) just to fill my department’s need to get more women in management. Pathetic. There is NOTHING positive about positive discrimination where all parties have had access to the same education and experience. It’s not like the old system in the States that gave bright black kids bonus points for being black when applying to uni based on the idea that they probably didn’t go to as good a school as white applicants and so had less access to a decent education – that, to me, addressed a legitimate difference and was a good idea (btw, those “Affirmative Action” laws are now illegal in the USA). In the UK, laws like that are bullshit; there’s no racial or gender difference in the opportunities you’re given.

  14. mibsphil

    I’m a little curious why the conversation has veered toward a discussion of female vs male high level managers, executives, etc. In the original post, that didn’t seem to be the point. The premise was that women earn 15 cents less than men for all jobs, not just upper level jobs. Here in the US, I believe the gap is a bit wider: women earn about 79 cents for every dollar men earn. This pay gap has to do with a lot more than whether womean are willing to sacrifice in order to climb the corporate ladder. There are women in all kinds of jobs who consistently earn less than their male counterparts doing the same jobs. This is what we as a society ought to be focused on. In every field of endeavor there are women who are willing to sacrifice personal life, free time, having children or whatever it takes in order to succeed. These men and women are a small percentage of the work force, and are, overall, the exception. It’s the regular working women who are still bearing the burden of decades-old pay discrimination. Things have gotten better, to be sure, but there are lots of women who still earn less than their peers. I think this whole discussion got a bit sidetracked.

  15. mibsphil,

    You make some interesting points. Perhaps the issue, then, is that as a society we see “scaling the heights of the greasy pole” as the paradigm expression of our value as human beings? The very fact that it makes very few truly happy probably demonstrates what a hollow goal it is.

    Parochial attitudes to pay and gender aside, if one buys into the carrot and stick game, where one never quite reaches the former, but gets plenty of the latter, then one probably only has oneself to blame, because if one is being duped as to what the game is, then everything else is probably a sham, too.


  16. It’s all about work/life balance. And if that makes me lazy, so be it.

  17. Custador: I’ve been in female dominated offices that sucked big time so I can understand your frustration. My question to you would be, how do you know male applicants who would have done a better job were being knocked back in favour of less competent females unless you personally were responsible for the hiring process? I’ve heard that line way too much. I’ve also been forced to work under incompetent male managers many, many times.

    Mibsphil: you raise a good point, when women in lower level jobs earn less the Professor’s argument falls apart completely.

    Boobs: I’m lazy too!

  18. custador

    That’s a good question; my evidence is that the two (entry-level) male managers were both very, very good at their jobs, and were both repeatedly knocked-back when applying for middle-level management jobs in favour of female managers who weren’t as good. Of course, my perspective was that of somebody who was managed by them!

  19. Adam Sandler

    Sorry to be blunt, but in my experience, it’s true.Not just in business, but in everyday life.

    Men are just much more willing to “go the extra mile” to have success. They’re competitive nature, means, that they’ll do almost anything to succeed.

    What I’m saying is, when a man is presented with adversity, or hardship, in achieving goals, they’ll generally drive through it, and see it as an extra challenge.

    When you present women with the same, they generally get upset, and depressed about it.

    Here’s a challenge.

    Go to a gym. Any gym. Watch how hard the men are working, compared to the women?

    The men will be in visible pain. A lot of them shouting out in pain – that’s how hard they’re pushing it.

    Women, when they go to a gym – breaking sweat is the point in which they give up

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